The main purpose for this trip was to participate in the Doctrine of Man & Sin module, the fourth in the Marrow of Theology series which Reformed Baptist Seminary together with Facultad Teologica Bautista (a ministry of Iglesia Bautista Gracia Soberana, Bogota Colombia) organize and offer to Colombian pastors and ministerial candidates. The modules have been taking place in a country estate located in Chinauta, about 2 hrs SW of Bogotá.
For the first Lord’s day that we were there (Feb 26) we had the privilege of ministering in two churches in Bogotá. For the AM services I taught the Sunday school class and preached a sermon in Iglesia Cristiana Gracia y Amor, which is the oldest Reformed Baptist Congregation in Bogotá. The ministries there were well received, and we were glad to meet the church and their deacons, and establish bonds between us. This church is currently seeking for a pastor. For the PM services we visited Iglesia Bautista Reformada Vida Nueva, where Juan Pablo Cruz labors as a pastor. He is a graduate from the first Marrow of Theology school. We knew them from before but have never been at the church services. The ministry was also well received. In both churches we enjoyed fellowship and getting to know the brethren.
The trip to Chinauta was on Monday (Feb 27) and most of the students arrived that day. After settling down in our rooms and enjoying dinner, we all went to rest for the night and expected eagerly the beginning of the module the next morning.
The module took place from Tuesday to Friday of that week (Feb 28 – March 2), and in 21 hours the instruction on the Doctrine of Man was imparted. We followed the path set before by Robert Gonzales and Greg Nichols and covered Creation, Genesis 1 & 2, Man as the Image of God, Man’s Constitution, Bible Chronology, Providence, Common Grace, The Covenant of Works, Ordinances of Creation (Marriage, Work, Sabbath), Sin, the Fall, Its Consequences, and the Fourfold State of Man. There were also several hours of Q&A.
Each day there was plenty of opportunity to renew friendships with the students and interact with them. But time was lacking every day for all that our different ministries involved. There was no end to questions and doubts, to counseling and to simply speaking about our labors and of what Christ is accomplishing in Colombia.
There were also quizzes each day, and then a final exam on Friday. The students are given homework, which involves a textbook essay, preparation of a Sunday school class on the subject of the module, and the reading of the textbook, Created in God’s Image by Hoekema. These are to be done in the months between modules.
There was great reception of the teaching, and the spiritual attitude of the men was a great blessing. Although the number of students was down to 40, these pastors and ministerial candidates gave themselves each hour to carefully listen, take notes, ask good questions, and eagerly receive instruction. They were very grateful and their tokens of gratitude and love were humbling (see the picture below).
Pastors Guillermo Gomez and Jorge Castañeda (Iglesia Bautista Gracia Soberana, Bogotá Colombia) are doing an excellent job of organizing these modules, and they receive great help from church members from sister churches in Bogotá.
Each day the meals were graciously and gladly provided by three sisters and one brother who worked tirelessly in the kitchen. We were served great Colombian food.
The final day was bittersweet for we were all ready to go back to our homes and respective ministries, but were sad to say good-bye, yet, with the great expectation of meeting again in another module, or if not, in that Day when Christ returns. The men expressed their love and gratitude, and exchanging email addresses, taking pictures, and hugging each other. We entrusted ourselves to the Lord and renewed our vows to serve Him faithfully.
These times are refreshing and full of encouragement as we see what Christ is accomplishing in Colombia, and how the true biblical doctrine and practice is being taught and implemented in the churches.
On the second Lord’s day in Bogotá (March 4) we had the joy of ministering in Iglesia Bautista Gracia Soberana. I gave the Sunday school class, and preached for the AM and PM services. It is always a blessing to be with the brethren there, who receive the Word with such eagerness, and their love overflows. It is perhaps the largest and strongest Reformed Baptist church in Bogotá, and the Lord is blessing their diverse ministries. Please have Pastors Gomez and Castañeda, and their families, in your prayers, for they are doing a great work for Christ, and need the provision of His grace and protection.
During this trip I was accompanied by a man from our congregation in Cuauhtémoc Chihuahua, Obed Rodriguez, who enrolled in the Marrow of Theology. I believe he was greatly blessed to get to know the brethren and churches there in Colombia. We were hosted by the Gomez, and enjoyed their kind hospitality. Several families of the church there in Bogotá hosted us for meals, and their generosity was a token of Christ’s love to His Church. We left on Monday (March 5) eager to return to Mexico but sad to leave the brethren and friends.
Iglesia Betel, Una Congregacion Bautista Reformada.
Cd Cuauhtemoc Chihuahua Mexico