I arrived in Bogota on Friday July 8 and was picked up by Guillermo Gomez’s brother.
On Sunday 10, I was invited to minister in the Baptist church where the pastor Manuel Cendales ministers. Here I assumed the ministry of the word 3 times: Sunday school, preaching Sunday morning, and preaching Sunday afternoon. I addressed the fullness of the Spirit as presented by Paul in Ephesians 5 and its effects: fellowship, devotion, gratitude and submission. Then I took up the subject of submission, focusing on the parent-child relationship. In the evening service, I shared a meditation drawn from 1 Peter 3:15 and the importance of intellectual preparation to defend our faith, but above all the spiritual preparation, specifically, sanctifying Christ in our heart.
On Monday we went Chinauta 11, two hours from Bogota. This day there were no classes. We arrived, settled, and organized. The group consisted of about 70 brothers, including pastors and candidates for the ministry.
On Tuesday 12 classes started at 8:00am. On Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13, I gave 6 hours of classes each day, focusing on hermeneutics. The topics these days were: a general introduction to hermeneutics, historical introduction, use OT in the NT, general hermeneutics, with emphasis on the historical, grammatical, theological, special hermeneutics, with emphasis on certain special literary figures of speech and the different types of literary genres. We moved from interpretation to homiletics.
On Wednesday 13, at midday, we started biblical exegesis, with emphasis on the method of “arching” (a form of syntactical analysis). We spent 6 hours of Thursday and 3 hours of Friday on this topic. First, we investigated the framework of this method. Then we spent the rest of our time on exercises, analyzing and exegeting Romans 1 in the following sequence: Romans 1:16-17, Romans 1:18-23, Romans 1:24 – 25, Romans 1:26-27, Romans 1:28-32.
There were two main exams: one on Thursday morning, where we covered the entire contents of hermeneutics; another on Friday where the students completed several exegetical exercises.
On Sunday 17, I was invited to minister in the Sovereign Grace Church where Pastor Guillermo Gomez. In the Sunday School, I shared the essence of Christianity from Philippians: first, a relationship with Jesus as Savior, Lord, and Treasure; second, a passion or burning desire for Christ to be magnified in our life and death. In the evening service, I shared again the meditation drawn from 1 Peter 3:15 on defending the faith.
I returned to Santiago on Monday 18 at 4:00 pm.
My impression: I think this trip was a blessing from God. Sometimes one leaves with the plan to be teach, but the truth is that one ends up being taught. The love and hospitality of the brethren there was amazing. With respect to the module, the enthusiasm was obvious because sometimes they worked until midnight. In the classes, the students were attentive, and we had opportunity for plenty of discussion. It was gratifying to see pastors carefully analyzing a passage of Scripture. Though the method was challenging for some, they grasped the essence of the exegetical methodology and began to apply it.
May the Lord bless this training and the pastors and pastoral candidates who took part.
His servant in the gospel,
Juan José Pérez, Dean
La Academia Ministerial de la Gracia