I recently had the privilege of delivering thirty lectures on the doctrine of Scripture at El Seminario Reformado de Latinoamerica (Reformed Seminary of Latin America), which is located in Medellín, Colombia. The seminary is under the oversight of La Iglesia Bautista Reformada "La Gracia de Dios" (The Reformed Baptist Church of God's Grace) in Medellín, as well as a board of directors that includes Dr Noé Acosta, the Executive Director of Gospel Through Colombia. The mission of SLR (the seminary) is to provide sound theological education to Spanish speaking pastors and ministeral aspirants as well as to promote revival and reformation among already existing evangelical churches throughout Latin America.
Brief Module Report
I gave six lectures per day from Monday through Friday, December 1st - 5th, to twenty-six students, including some local pastors. Using the 1689 Baptist Confession as a guide, I spoke on the necessity (1.1), canon (1.2-3), authority (1.4-5), adequacy (1.6-7), availability (1.8), and supremacy (1.9-10) of Scripture. I also addressed two additional topics, namely, the reliability (or inerrancy) of Scripture and the question of whether NT Prophecy and Tongues have ceased (in which I argued for the affirmative). The students were very receptive, and we enjoyed several lively Q&A sessions. In addition to engaging in fellowship with the students during some of the meals, I also enjoyed playing some fútbol (soccer) with them after the lectures on Friday. Lord willing, these students will graduate this month and will return to their home churches to put into practice what they have learned. Please pray for these students as they endeavor to serve in various capacities in their home church. A new group of students will begin a year of intensive training early in 2015.
On Sunday, December 7th, I was blessed with the opportunity to preach at the Reformed Baptist Church in Medellín. Due to limited space and a growing membership, the church has two morning services (8am and 11am) and a Sunday School class in between. So I preached twice. The members seemed hungry and responsive to the Word. Pastor Julio Benítez, who is also the Rector of the seminary, gave an excellent presentation of the doctrine of regeneration for the SS hour. Please pray for Pastors Benítez and Sergio Ruiz as they endeavor to shepherd their flock with diligence and faithfulness.
Future Plans for the Seminary
SRL owns property and facilities in the mountains just outside of the city of Medellin. Currently in the works are plans to construct a new chapel, dormitory, classrooms, and other facilities so that SRL can host more students and pastors from various parts of Latin America, whether for formal theological training or for occasional theological modules and seminars. During the week I was teaching, contractors and engineers from the U.S.A. and Colombia met to review and discuss the building plans and launch date. Lord willing, they hope to break ground sometime in 2015. Please pray that God would grant these brothers wisdom and the resources they need to accomplish the expansion of this kingdom endeavor.
I'm very excited about the work SRL is doing and the seminary's potential to have a positive and profound influence upon the evangelical churches of Latin America. SRL is committed to maintaining high academic standards. As a result, the seminary is utilizing qualified and well-trained instructors from both the U.S.A. and also Latin America, some of which include Dr. Samuel Waldron, Dr. Richard Pratt, Dr. Don Kistler, Dr. Richard Barcellos, Dr. Willem VanGemeren, Dr. Tom Ascol, Pst. Sugel Michelén, Pst. Juan José Pérez, Pst. Chris Hatton and others (for full list click here). If you'd like to learn more about SRL and their plans for the future, let me strongly urge you to watch the two brief video presentations below. I believe this is a work worthy of prayer and, for those who are desirous and able, financial support.
Gospel Through Colombia and SRL
Future Building Project for SRL
Bob Gonzales, Dean
Reformed Baptist Seminary