Monday, January 26

A Ten Sleepy Virgins Story (part I)

The 30th of November 2008 was the first Sunday of Advent and I had the privilege to preach at my local church. I used a simple method of inductive deconstruction on my Bible analisys that I hope you may find useful…
I will post here a simplified version of my sermon in three parts but you have the complete French version at my Church site here

The word "Advent" comes from the Latin Adventus, "the comming". Today, and that is since the VI century, The Advent has become synonymous of preparations for Christmas celebrations “the coming of Jesus Child”. Yet the term "coming/advent” remains deliberately ambiguous.

This morning I will use the parable of the ten virgins, because I want to rediscover with you the spirit of Advent, the preparation for the coming of our Lord in the same spirit of our fathers of the early church.
I will use a simple Bible study methodologyto re-read this parable, I call it, in a very colourful way: "the three-dimensional approach" because it allows us to approach the Word of God from three different perspectives:

a). What I understand at my first reading? What is the message that I find, and what I do, and I do not understand?

b). What the people who heard these words understood at the time?

c). What God really wants me/us/you to understand today?

a) - What I understand ...
The parable of the Ten Virgins always has challenged me throughout my life. Why 5 foolish and 5 wises? Why? Where am I in this parable? What is the real difference between the wise and the foolish? After all, the 10 virgins were all in a waiting mode, aren’t they? Am I on a waiting mode? Am I Wise? Or foolish?
Even more, I always found hard the response of the bridegroom: "I do not know you." And I am stunned with the wise virgins response to the demand for oil of their fellow foolish virgins "rather go to those who sell and buy-in for you”’. It is hard not to feel a kind of sadness for the foolish virgins and even fear ... and if we were one of the foolish virgins?

The traditional interpretation of this parable is based on the spiritualisation of the oil and the lamp. The oil is associated to the "Holy Spirit", the wise virgins keep “extra oil”. When the groom arrives only those who still have oil, so "The Holy Spirit", and kept their lights on are accepted at the wedding.

Therefore: the moral of this story would be: “keep your lights on!, Be always filled with the Holy Spirit”

But the main problem of this “beautiful interpretation” is that even if it is very spiritual, and somehow reassuring, it leaves many questions unanswered, and even worst, it opens up new questions!

1. If the oil runs out of foolish virgins. Can we say that it is possible that the Holy Spirit once given it may run out later?Can the Holy Spiriy be used it up?

2. The wise virgins had brought an extra ration of oil ... so the parable not only opens the door to a concept of different levels of Holy Spirit. But also to the idea that some Christians may have a ration of the Holy Spirit, that is so low and insufficient to qualify them to the Kingdom of God .

3. If the oil is the Holy Spirit, why the response of the wise virgins is "rather go to those who sell and buy-in for you?” Why they do not say: "go and ask the Groom before He arrives!!”

4. If the 5 wise virgins had an extra ration of oil, therefore the Holy Spirit, why do they fall asleep too? Is falling asleep actually a fault?

5. If the groom had arrived some hours earlier, the foolish would still have had the Holy Spirit. Then they would be accepted at the wedding and they would no longer be considered foolish. So it is the delay of the groom who condemned them! (is this Biblical?)

And there are still many other question that the parable opens that remain unanswered:

1. Who are these ten virgins? Will they marry the groom? Is this an openness to polygamy?

2. Jesus begins the parable with the sentence: "Then the kingdom of heaven is like..." What or who is the Kingdom of God in this parable?, The wedding? The coming of the groom? The virgins? The wise and the foolish?

3. Why do they fall asleep? What difference makes that they are asleep or awake? After all, even awake, given the groom's delay, the follish will not be ready because they do not have enough oil.

4. Why are they called there foolish? Why this name? Why "Foolish"?
lets see the

b)What the people who heard these words understood at the time?

............ to be continue

Wednesday, January 21

A prayer was answerd!!!

As most of the world, I spent part of my day watching Obama on TV and reading news on him. I am cought on the emotion and going back and forward some christian blogs posts in him I crossed this article.
I loved it so I brough it for you. My best wishes to the people of America, may the Lord bless you and your new president.

Anthony SmithAnthony Smith forme Charlotte, N.C. wrotte this article on his blogs "musing of a postmodern negro"
He is part of the Charlotte Emergent cohort and a member of the Emergent Village Coordinating Group.

to Contact him:

Today we stumble upon a historical moment. The United States of America will swear into office the first black President, Barack Obama. I haven’t blogged much on this because I have been at a lost for words to describe how I’ve felt over the past several months. While there is still much work to be done in the area of racial justice in our country no one can deny that this is another major turning point in our history.

I’ve learned from prophetic theologians like Stanley Hauerwas that my love for this country should be a Christ-shaped love. Not an idolatrous pride in nation-state boundaries conjured up by the human political imagination. But I cannot help but feel a sense of pride today. Mainly for my oldest son Isaiah Smith. He is a trumpeter in the Harding University High School marching band. Their band will be marching for the incoming president during the inauguration ceremonies. Their journey to this point is a story in and of itself. The fundraising for the kids to go to D.C., the practices, the new music he had to learn, and the deep history lessons they have received from those in our community who lived through the Civil Rights era. I recall one conversation I had with his English teacher, Ms. Robertson. She tearfully described how proud she was of the youth headed up for this historical moment. For many Americans this will be a surreal moment. I never imagined I’d see this day. I can say today that I have a sense of joy of what is taking place before our eyes.

In prayer this morning I could almost hear the prayers and cries of African slaves:

How long O’Lord will you withhold justice from us!

I believe that today we will be witnessing God answering their prayers for justice. For sure it is one answer in a long stream of answers that have come and yet to come but it is an answer nonetheless. This answer is really big. Just the symbolic nature of this event alone will briefly interrupt deeply entrenched racial narratives that operate on an unconscious level.

I feel a change has and is taking place in our country. I sense a momentum of hope swelling up in the hearts of people. I pray that this bi-partisan spirit take hold of our political, religious, and economic leaders in a way that will be unprecedented. I feel a change a comin’. God’s grace and peace be with us all.
Published in:

on January 20, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Monday, January 19

An American Christian in France on "Emerging in France"

I enjoyed reading Matts experience on PostModernism. I will probably write some other time about my own experince as post modern Chrisitian in Paris.

Matt is an American that has a blog called "endirect"

"Married to a beautiful French woman, we have three children and I'm working in France trying to figure out how to be the church that God intends".He writes

I have not met Matt yet. He lives in Grenoble (around 400 km from Paris I think.. but he is only 30 km from Alpine sky stations.. lucky fellow) and I like his Blog , I hope he will keep writing and sharing his experiences.

Emerging in France part 2

About 8 years ago I started reading about the whole post-modern thing. A friend had given me a copy of Middleton and Walsh's, truth is stranger than it used to be. And I started down the rabbit hole... I also found on my shelves Thomas C. Oden's, two worlds, notes on the death of modernity in america and russia. It's a pretty good read though it looks like it's out of print...

Anyway I got all excited when I realized that I was living in the country that gave birth to a lot of postmodern thought... So I formulated a hypothesis: France would be a great place to test out the ideas of the post-modern, now emerging church, crowd's ideas. That was a faux piste as we say in French and ultimately a dead-end.

I got a first indication of this in the fall of 2001. I was invited to speak at a coupl of church weekends about the church in relation to the world today. I was planning on talking about the pre-modern/modern/post-modern transistions and the impact that has had on the way we do church. Then finishing up with what is postmodernity.

Once I got through my material my audience gave out a collective yawn. Now there was certainly a bit of my own inadequacies and inexperience that played into their boredom but it went much deeper.

Their "so-what" reaction is indicative of a lot what I've seen in France. They have a sort of intellectual detachment in relation to this kind of stuff. The understand it but aren't too bothered to go over the past and do sort of autopsy. They are general more concerned with what needs to happen today, not what happen in the past or what's going to happen in the future. They live in the moment. The "No" vote is a good indication of this. The no wasn't about what the European Union had done to this point or what it would do. It was about a lot of disatisfaction with the way things are today and the present government.

What I didn't know then is the truth that the American expression of post-modern/emerging church talk is dripping with the American cultural identity. And while France has a huge intellectual heritage in this matter what's happening on the ground is very different.

When you think about it this all very normal.

So if you come to France you looking for the "emerging church" thinking it'll look like something you've already seen you'll be looking for awhile.

Friday, January 16

Martin Buber; an Existentialist Jewish that had a dream

Theologian, philosopher, and political radical, Martin Buber (1878–1965) was actively committed to a fundamental economic and political reconstruction of society as well as the pursuit of international peace. In his voluminous writings on Arab-Jewish relations in Palestine, Buber united his religious and philosophical teachings with his politics, which he felt were essential to a life of public dialogue and service to God.

He became a member of the group Ichud, which aimed at a bi-national state for palestinians and Jews in Palestine. Such a binational confederation was viewed by Buber as a more proper fulfillment of Zionism than a solely Jewish state. In 1946 he published his work Paths in Utopia, in which he detailed his communitarian socialist views and his theory of the "dialogical community" founded upon interpersonal "dialogical relationships".

Following the war for independence in 1948, Buber told Ben Gurion that he believed that one of the most important priorities of the new state of Israel should be to solve the refugee problem. Ben Gurion refused to listen. Throughout the remainder of his life, Buber worked to defend the civil rights of Israeli Arabs, and he urged Jews and Palestinians to engage in genuine dialogue. He continued to try to influence public policy in this arena until his death in 1965.

We christians, how far we are from this dream. We not only do not keep this dream alive but instead we support violence and war in the name of our prophesies interpretations.
Sometimes it is like if God that Martin Buber belived would notbe the same some christians belive today. His God was a God who loved men. His God was a God of justice. So who is the God Christians believe in today ?

A Land of two people
Collected in A Land of Two Peoples are the private and open letters, addresses, and essays in which Buber advocated binationalism as a solution to the conflict in the Middle East. A committed Zionist, Buber steadfastly articulated the moral necessity for reconciliation and accommodation between the Arabs and Jews.

Tuesday, January 13

Studying for the Wrong Test

(My own thoughts are after the article)

Original artice| Link

By Don Heatley:

The Kingdom of God is like a student studying for an exam. Night after night, he studied Chapter Twelve of his history book. “Surely, I am prepared for my test,” he thought. The very next day he went to school and sat his desk. Behold! The test was on Chapter Thirteen. He had studied for the wrong test. He who has ears, let him hear!

Recently, I was having a conversation with a sincere fellow Jesus follower who demanded to know my beliefs. The questions they asked made it clear that this too was a test. The very first thing they wanted to know was my stand on homosexuality, my opinions about abortion, and my beliefs about the Bible.

I don’t think I passed.

Yet I wonder if, like the student in the parable, this person was studying for the wrong test. When we pass out the number two pencils and evaluate the orthodoxy of others, why are the criteria always issues that Jesus himself never addressed? Would it not be more appropriate to ask one another the questions Jesus asked, “Have you fed the hungry? Have you given water to the thirsty? Have you clothed the naked? Have you visited the imprisoned?”

the complete article here


I like this article and particularly its parabole and probably I will use it at church.

Reading it and reading the success it has had at its original blog (20 comments already on Tuesday the 13th.) Somehow, I am not that surprised by the reactions.

I think there are two main issues this article points very well to me:

1) The cultural interpretations of the Gospel that limits in itself the real message of the Gospel.

2) The useless division of the gospel in a so called Social Gospel and Spiritual Gospel that again limits the real power of the message.

I will not comment on the second. Social Gospel is a theology of the 70's that some unaware Christians think it still exists. It has evolved and mutated.

I proclaim the kingdom as present reality, yet that is coming soon. My belief on the Kingdom as an Integral Reality should resume my opinion on the second item.

But the first issue, it always makes me wonder. I am always amazed that three main central issues in American Christendom are "Abortion", "Homosexuality", and "Bible fundamentalism".

As I wrotte in a former comment "You need only one bad answer to qualify you as “a dangerous liberal” or even as a "non Christian". Once, an American visitor in my church in Paris told me that Obama was clearly not a Christian because he was not 100% against homosexuality"

These issues are not even themes of discussion in most of European churches. Yet we have other taboos that could make the same three type question test to qualify a true christian.

For example a christian should never mix their moral values with politics here. France is a secular country. French Catholic Church was for centuries in Power. So French protestant holds very close to their hearts " church and state division". A good Christian should never impose in politics his christian point of view.

If homosexuality is not a main issue of discussion (It is still but with lower priority), homosexual parenting is a big issue. Protestants stands here against it without need of thinking or developing their own opinions.

Money, I could write a complete essay on French culture regarding "making money", Christians here have a complex approach to this issue. In France it is no good to show off wealth and making money is usually regarded as obscene.

Back at home in Peru 17 years ago, being a christian was a matter of not smoking, not drinking and carrying a bible all the time an everywhere.

But where is the Kingdom on all these issues? Where is the love of God, the Grace? Where is our engagement to procalim and to give the world a foretaste of the Kingdom coming on these interpretations? Why some christians interpret littealy the Book of Revelations and other prophesies and interpret Mattew 5 on an spirtualized way?

Christianity is so busy and comfortable developing its faith around cultural interpretations and remaining in a "confort zone" of cultural traditional moral values. Indeed, it is more comfortable to hide ourselves behind old local cultural church values rather than having our own opinions, and to look and understand the dynamic changing force of the Gospel.

I do not recall Jesus standing for cultural moral values of his time. Actually, he was accused of challenging them. Am I wrong?
If we all agree that the word of God is alive, why we remain in our old ways of thinking? Should the church way of thinking be a static reality?

"Ecclesia semper reformanda" used to say our reformed fathers and Jean Calvin would complete. "Why do you start it, if you do not continue it?"

Faith is more than defending two or three moral values... if we do so, we will miss completly the real message So we would be studying for the wrong test.

Monday, January 12

Evangelical political "illuminated" presence in Latin America by Dario Lopez

When I was a young christian university student at the peruvian IVCF. Dario Lopez was our General Director ( I was 18 yeas old he was probably 30 years old). I had the chance to chat with him several times.. He was a brilliant fellow (He still is) I would annoyed him with my young silly Christian questions. He was always kind and patient and with good sense of humor.
I am not a penthecostal, I never was, but his thinking and his life has always inspired me .
He is not only an Integral Misson theologist, but he lives it daily as lifestyle.

Born and reared in ,Lima, Peru, like me,Darío López grew up, in difficult conditions. He worked as child to help his Mother to survive. Later, as a young man, he came to faith in Christ through the witness of university students and became a member and minister in the Church of God.

Since 1992, Dr. López has been the pastor of the Mt. Sinai Church of God, located in the marginal district in Lima, He has served on several governmental commissions dealing with issues of children’s rights and religious equality.

He Holds a Ph.D. from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies/Open University of England, where he completed a thesis on the topic of Evangelicals and Human Rights in Peru, Dario is the author of many books and numerous journal articles. His hard-hitting book is LA MISIÓN LIBERADORA DE JESÚS (The Liberating Mission of Jesus, translated by Rick Waldrop),


Criticism of "illuminated" Christians who affirm that Evangelical believers have been called to "be the head and not the tail" in public affairs

by Spero News See all articles by this author Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Article copied and Pasted from;

Pentecostal Pastor Dario Lopez Rodriguez affirmed that Evangelical Churches in Latin America have an increasingly visible presence in the public scenario and a notable numeric growth that will continue in the following decades.

This growth is modifying the religious map and today the Catholic Church, predominant on the continent, is not the only confession that regulates the religious dynamic, said Lopez, vice-president of the National Evangelical Council and pastor of the Church of God.

According to the Nationmaster 2003 Encyclopedia in Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have Evangelical faithful that oscillates between 15 and 25 percent of the total population.

Pastor Lopez said that Evangelicals in Latin America are no longer an imperceptible minority and their influence is now felt in the public sphere.

According to Lopez there are undeniable facts that confirm that Evangelical sectors have obtained their own voice and their opinion is taken into account by the political community, civil society and the State. He cited, among these, their defense of human rights and their growing participation in key spaces to defend democracy and affirm citizen values.

He recognized politics as a legitimate missionary field for Evangelicals but warned that Christians who enter politics must have a solid biblical foundation, a concrete experience of service to their neighbor, a political culture and coherence between what they preach and what they do each day in their work.

He criticized "illuminated" Christians who affirm that Evangelical believers have been called to "be the head and not the tail" in public affairs and ignore the fact that serious politicians do not emerge spontaneously.

He deplored that the public management of the majority of Evangelicals who have entered Congress and the municipalities, in particular in the 1990-2000 period under former President Alberto Fujimori, has not been different from that of questioned politicians, marked by the vices of opportunism, nepotism, ambition and others.

Many of them believed it was an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a short time in power and accepted temporary favors, as if they were divine gifts, he said.


Saturday, January 10

Israel, Christians and Gaza; where I stand

I wanted to take position regarding some Christian’s recent pro Israel statements in some Internet articles I read.

Eschatology and prophesies on Israel are not where I spend most of my time on my bible study time. I cannot say if agree or disagree with dispensationalist or Covenant’s positions. Althouhg I am a Calvinst (neo-calvinist), as a post modern fellow I will not take position until me, myself arrive to my own conclusions after challenging as much as I can all what I has been told before. Yet the reality of the kingdom coming and the Kingdom as a present reality stops me from remaining silent these days concerning the Gaza situation.

I have been always surprised with the blind support of some Christians to Israel and I am very shocked when despite the facts and the gravity of current situation this blind support remains and even more, gets stronger. I know that some Christian’s hearts beat strong for the chosen people and sympathise with Israel. How not to do that? We read the same book (at least the first part), our God is Jewish, we take example in Hebrews heroes (I preach the youth of Joseph next Sunday) and some of us even give our children Hebrews names.

Yet despite the fact of our attachement to Israel we should not loose objectivity. God was very hard with them in the past. He denounced its sin and its injustices. It did not mean that he did no love them. So why should we do differently? We support the people of God when they need and when it is justice, but we should also condemns its wrongdoing. The role of the church announcing the Kingdom of Peace and its justice is a prophetic task. We must not hesitate to denounce the injustices and crimes of the chosen people as well as we denounce a corrupted church. Evenmore if we think we love this people, we could not accept their sins.

I cannot see the Lord Jesus taking the side of the Israeli army attacking Gaza. Can you?
Instead, I easily picture Jesus besides the suffering of the poors in Gaza, heeling their wounds, and comforting their souls, probably even dying with them in the buildings and suffering tortures with them. I think the Lord must be very disappointed with Israel's arrogance and its confidence in the power of its new "chariots," "horsemen”, "arcs" and “shields” etc rather than relying on the Lord's justice and searching to follow God's commands.

Lets be honest they attack Gaza out of their pride and violence, and not for love towards Adonai!!.

We are disciples of the Prince of Peace, we cannot remain silent. How can we rationalise and justify the barbaric acts of Israel. Why , like the prophets , we should not rice and condemn Israel's sins?

I respect Christians that study very hard Israel prophesies and for this reason I wanted to give them another angle of reflection. Justifying this war and these acts is not one more prophesy interpration. It is to make ourselves complices of what prophets once denounced in the Bible. God will never be the Lord of arroganst, powerfuls and assassins militars. Our God is the God for the poor, the simple hearted. Our Lord is the Lord of Justice.

Do not take me wrong, I am not justifying Hamas or Hezbollah (radical muslims) I am condemning violence as "sin" against the Lord whether it comes from Israel or whether it comes from radical Muslims.

To be loyal to our Jewish Messiah and if we really love Israel we must condemn these acts and to be part of the solution. Do not ignore the Word of God only to fit your own interpretations. We have no other choice that fulfill our prophetic duty and we should denounce this war as an arrogant act of crime against humanity.

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God” Matt 5:9

The World Congress of Imams and Rabbis calls for the end of the hostilities between Israel and Gaza

Published on 2009-01-07 16:51:00

World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace
Call of 7 January 2009

(video of the collective manifestation of Imams and Rabbis at the Wall for Peace, Champ de Mars, Paris, 16 december 2008).

Imams and Rabbis, wherever they are, commit themselves to organising prayer sessions to call for peace and universal brotherhood.

We call for an immediate stop to rocket launches on the south of Israel and to bombings and combat in Gaza so as to protect thousands of innocent lives, allow victims to have access to humanitarian aid and to establish conditions needed for the resumption of the peace process.

We call upon all the Palestinian leaders and the Government of Israel to return to the path of dialogue immediately.

We call upon everybody inclined to act, to participate in one way or another in the organisation of a humanitarian convoy that will leave Amman to go to Gaza via Sderot on 18 January 2009.

Several representatives of the Congress, Imams and Rabbis together with Christian leaders, will join the convoy to express our unconditional support for the Israeli and Palestinian civilian populations.

Friday, January 9

U2 : Yahweh

It a beautifull song almost a Hymn. I like to listen to it when preparing my sermons.

the line
"Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean"

Moves all my guts and I feel so unworthy in front of our Lord.
Indeed all is possible only by His grace

I will preach next Sunday at Church and the French chapter of IFEES (IVCF) is invited to our church to present themselves (I'am a former Peruvian and Canadian IVCF) . So I will adress to young students. I will talk about "the path of Joshua" before he guided Israel (Young Jospeh in the Exodus.) and eI will end up before he was named by God as new leader. I will start my sermon with "I still haven't found what I'm looking " and close it up with "Yahweh"

"Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don't make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break"

Wednesday, January 7

History of protestantism in South America from 1492 to 1901

This article is an extract from an article written vu Mariel Deluca Voth
Library Director, Bethel Seminary San Diego :"Latin American Archives: A survey of historical protestant sources"

The first major incursion of Protestantism into South America took place under the umbrella of Spanish authority (this is the case of German Lutherans that arrived in Venezuela in 1529). But it is in Brazil where the first French Protestant colony is founded in 1555 and where the first Confession of the Christian Faith that included 17 articles was written in 1555. It is interesting to note that this took place two years before the Pilgrims came to Plymouth in the United States in 1620

Protestantism and Inquisition (1492-1655)

-1529 German Lutherans settlers arrive in Venezuela

-1555-1654 Hugonote colony in Isla Villegaigon (island across present Rio de Janeiro)

-1623-35 Anglicans entered the Caribbean western islands

-1630-1654 Reformed Church congregations are formed in the Dutch colony of Pernambuco

-1655 Anglican Church enters Jamaica

Protestantism and Enlightenment (1655-1808)

-1667 Reformed Church enters Surinam

-1701 Creation of the Anglican missionary society

-1735 Moravian missionaries in Dutch Guyana and Surinam

-1783 Baptist missionaries enter Jamaica

-1797 Anglicans enter Trinidad

Samuel Escobar writes that “pioneers of the Protestant movement came during the period of the war of independence from Spain (1810-1824)”

-1806 British Foreign Bible Society sends David Creighton to Uruguay

-1818-1821 James (Diego) Thomson, Scottish Baptist Pastor and British Foreign Bible Society representative, lands in Buenos Aires and begins Protestant worship services. His missionary activity took him throughout Latin America including the Caribbean.

-1822 Baptists enter Belize

-1824 Lutheran German settle in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

-1824 Anglican Church begins in Chile (L. Matthews)

-1824 Methodists enter Belize

-1825 Anglican Church begins activities in Buenos Aires (J. Armstrong)

-1825 Presbyterian Church begins activities in Argentina

-1834 Lutheran Church is organized in Argentina

-1836 Methodist Church arrives to Argentina and Uruguay with J.Dempster.

-1842 German Evangelical Congregation begins in Buenos Aires

-1853 Separation of Church and State and first proclamation of freedom of religion in Colombia

-1856 Waldensian group enters Uruguay

-1857-1917 Protestant beginnings in Mexico (Baptists in 1864, Friends in 1871, Congregationalist in 1872, Presbyterian in 1872, Methodist in 1873, Brethren 1891, Seven Day Adventist in 1891, Nazarene 1903)

-1859 Waldensian Church enters Argentina

-1859 Methodist Church enters Peru

-1864 American Bible Society appoint Andrew M Milne to work in Latin America

-1872 Presbyterian Church begins in Chile with D. Trumbull

-1873 First British YMCA in Buenos Aires

-1874 Anglicans enter Puerto Rico

-1877 Methodist Church begins in Chile with bishop W. Taylor

-1882 Plymouth Brethren begin their work in Argentina

-1883 Methodists enter Cuba

-1886 Organization of the Rio Grande do Sul Lutheran Synod

-1886 Methodist Church enters Paraguay

-1890 Salvation Army enters Argentina

-1890 Seventh Adventist enters Argentina

-1891 Salvation Army enters Montevideo, Uruguay

-1891 Seventh Adventist enters Honduras

-1893 German Lutheran Church starts in Asunción, Paraguay

-1893 Seventh Adventist enters Mexico

-1895 Creation of the South American Diocese of the Church of England

-1895 Christian and Missionary Alliance begins ministry in Venezuela

-1895 Seventh Adventist enters Chile, Uruguay

-1897 Christian and Missionary Alliance begins ministry in Argentina, Chile and Ecuador

1895-1914 Salvation Army, Church of God, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Church of the Nazarene and Pilgrim Holiness Church begin ministry in Latin America

-1898 Seventh-Day Adventist enters Peru

-1901-1915 Seventh-Day Adventist enters Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and El Salvador

South African Wine a French Protestant Heritage

Have you ever tasted South African wine? When you live in France, wine is part of what French call " l'art de vivre" (the art of life) Even m self a simple peruvian after 13 years in France I have learned a lot about wine culture. Saddly, now I have a hard time drinking wine from kits or even drinking my own country's wine (Peruvian wine).I guess France has spolied me in terms of taste for wine.

For French standards only very few countries have wines that can match French quality.

They know that Californian, Spanish and Chilinian wines are French descendants wine ( French inmigrants) but how South African wine have become that good?

Indded very few people know that South African wine is a French protestant heritage.

Here is an article of the Huguenot Society of South Africa... enjoy it

"The Huguenots who arrived at the Cape of Good Hope at the end of the 17th century, consisted
of only a fraction of the large-scale Protestant flight from France after the revocation of the Edict on Nantes in 1685. Nevertheless their numbers were large enough to have a considerable influence and leave a lasting impression on the young settlement at the Cape. As early as 1671 the first Huguenot refugee, Francois Villion (later Viljoen), arrived at the Cape. In 1686 the brothers Guillaume and Francois du Toit arrived. After the main stream of Huguenots arrived during 1688 – 1689, they comprised approximately one sixth of the free burgher population, after which individual arrivals continued sporadically until the termination of the state subsidised emigration in 1707.

A complete surnames list (original spellings) of Huguenots who emigrated to the Cape and have descendants in South Africa, appears in the column at left. Not all of these surnames exist in South Africa today, since a number of Huguenot stamouers only propagated in the female lines.

The potential emigrants from Europe were allowed to take only the minimum amount of necessary luggage along. After their arrival at the Cape, they were expected to make a living from agriculture, business or by practicing a trade. If they decided to farm, they were allotted free farms, and implements, seed and animal stock would be provided, the cost of which had to be later reimbursed to the Dutch East India Company in terms of produce or any other goods.

The Dutch East India Company encouraged the Huguenots to emigrate to the Cape because they shared the same religious beliefs, and also due to the fact that most of them were highly trained craftsmen or experienced farmers, specifically in viticulture and oenology (the growing of grapes and making of wine, brandy and vinegar). They, as well as their descendants, proved that they were hard working and industrious, and their efforts led to a marked increase in the improvement of quality Cape wines. A number of wine estates have French names to this day, as a reminder of their important contribution to this industry in the Western Cape. The number of vine plants increased from 100 in 1655 (three years after the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck at the Cape) to 1,5 million in 1700.

When John Ovington visited the Cape in 1693, he wrote:

“Their vineyards have been established over an area of more than seventy five English miles, yet they still have their eyes on large pieces of virgin soil before them. In this district they farm with livestock, plant maize, establish vineyards and improve everything conscientiously for the greatest benefit .... Their vineyards, which they have multiplied to a large variety of cultivars, can now also provide the passing ships…”
A number of Huguenots were listed as experienced "vineyard pruners". The De Villiers brothers in particular arrived at the Cape with a reputation for viticulture and oenology. Through the years the De Villiers brothers planted more than 40 000 vines at the Cape. They moved from the original farm allocated to them (which they named La Rochelle) to finally settle on individual allottments near Franschhoek with the names Bourgogne, Champagne and La Brie.

The legacy of the Huguenots was however far reaching. Today thousands of their proud descendants carry with dignity surnames of which the spelling is unchanged from the original, such as De Villiers, Malan, Du Toit, Du Plessis, Du Preez and Malherbe; the spelling of others were localised, such as Viljoen, Cronjé, Pienaar, Retief and Senekal. Certain first names which the Huguenots brought with them are poplular amongst their descendants, especially male christian names such as Francois, Pierre, Etienne, Jacques and Louis. Research has shown that the contribution of the Huguenot genes to the Afrikaner people amounts to some 24%. Their descendants are proud of ancestors who sacrificed a great deal - even their country of birth - and were willing to suffer personally for their religious convictions.

The Huguenots are characterised by their intrinsic pride, diligence and honesty. Although they strove to maintain their own identify at first, they soon intermarried with the other colonists to fully become just South Africans. Within two generations even their home language, French, largely disappeared"

more here:

all copyrights belongs to Huguenot Society of South Africa

this is only a partial copy and paste

Tuesday, January 6

What is your theological worldview? "The Test"

Fascinating exercice this Test !! And Honnestly I do like the result.

So I guess I am a Neo Ortodoxs Post Modern Evangelical. Cannot hide it any more, I have been cought!

I wonder what would happen if I present myself like this next time I preach at my local Church (lol)

Titles are nice, and the mind exercices are nice too. So I did enjoy this test. Yet let's do not loose sight that we are "Chrisitians" simple and basic Jesus followers. And if so, we are no better than the widow, the prostitute and the thief that have decided to follow him too. They may even be before us in the Kingdom coming.

Otherwise check this cool test here

and have fun...

Monday, January 5

What will the rise of the south mean for global Christianity?

Samuel Escobar is a leading Latin American theologian. He is a professor of missiology at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and is theological consultant for the Board of International Ministries in Valencia, Spain. He is also president of the United Bible Societies and past president of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students.

As a peruvian evangelical student I met briefly Samuel on some conferences.
He is peruvian too and he is a good example of those who tought my post modern generation.

National Catholic Reporter
Posted August 17, 2006

Extract of an Interview with Samuel Escobar

Conducted August 14, 2006


all copy rights belongs to National Catholic Reporter this is only a incomplete copy and paste

Some Catholic observers say there’s an additional factor in the attrition -- the impact of liberation theology, which they believe “politicized” the church and drove some percentage of the middle and upper classes into Protestantism. True?

There may be some truth in that, but I think it has to be qualified. Liberation theology had its high point in 1968, when the Latin American bishops in Medellín committed to the “preferential option for the poor.” In turn, Medellín stemmed from what happened in 1955, when the Catholic Church recognized that it was losing both to Protestantism and to Communism. The working class and the young both seemed more attracted to Marxism than to the church. The bishops asked for help from abroad. In Peru, for example, they went to the United States and asked for missionary priests to come to the country as a kind of “tithe.” The idea was to save these people from Communism. These foreign missionaries were sent to work with the poorest of the poor, and when they got there, they discovered that the problem was not Communism but rather that the church was part of the oppressive structures of society. Influenced by these foreign missionaries, the bishops decided to realign themselves with the poor. In some forms, this choice became highly politicized, and they forgot about the spiritual dimension -- that is, people need a spiritual experience from the church, not just political guidance. This produced the popular saying that the Catholic Church opted for the poor, and the poor opted for the Pentecostals!

At the same time, however, I’m very conscious that liberation theology responded to a reality in Latin America. We still have the pastoral question of poverty.

Are you saying that it’s unfair to blame liberation theology for the declines in the Catholic Church?
Yes, I think it’s unfair. For example, the small Christian communities that were one of the fruits of liberation theology are one of the areas in Catholicism in which there has been new life, and a new commitment to the basics of the faith, with an effort to turn that commitment into social awareness. Civil society in Latin America owes much to these small Christian communities, which have their parallels in Protestantism.

Will the growth in Protestantism in Latin American continue?
Two things need to be said.

First, there’s a new phenomenon in Latin American Protestantism, which is the emergence of new charismatic mega-churches, which is not typical of the Protestant churches of the past. They have some similarities with the mega-churches in the United States, though the strongly charismatic element makes them different.

These mega-churches in Latin America appeal to some deep-seated aspects of Catholic culture. For one thing, they rely on symbols such as blessed water, which classical Protestantism shunned. They also feature a more authoritarian pastoral style and a denial of the priesthood of all believers, which has historically been a key element of Protestant churches.

We might say, therefore, that Protestantism will continue to grow in Latin America, but what will grow is not classical Protestantism as we have known it.

Second, Latin American Protestantism faces a serious pastoral challenge. People are coming to the churches, so the numbers are increasing, but they have very basic pastoral needs. Like in Catholicism, some of these Protestant churches may fail if they don’t develop a pastoral strategy that comes out of a reflective theological approach.

What should be the top priority?
Education in the faith. In Peru, for example, a charismatic pastor recently got 500,000 votes in national elections. That’s real political clout, but it’s not coupled to any deep theological understanding of relations between church and state, between religion and public life, which could under gird this political action. It has to go deeper.


What will the rise of the south mean for global Christianity?
The real significance of what it means to be global, plural, and ‘catholic,’ will have to be understood in a new way. The Catholic Church in particular has had a way of existing in which elements of uniformity have had the upper hand. It has even had a single language, Latin. There’s a unity which comes from a center that defines things. But the church of the first century was not like that. The Protestant scholar Justo Gonzalez has written on why there are four gospels rather than one. He says the point was ‘catholicity,’ meaning the capacity to respond to different contexts. Today, there’s a need for Christians to have their own way of being Africans, Asians, Americans, and still be part of the church. In other words, this is testing catholicity. It will have to be understood in a new way. Protestantism faces the same challenge, and perhaps the mega-churches may be a new shape of Protestantism that eventually finds theological expression.

What are the characteristics of southern Christianity?
Expression in worship is very different. Feeling is more important than thinking, and the emotional is more important than the rational. There’s a stronger sense of the church as a body, that we belong to one another here in the church, that we are brothers and sisters. This is of course also said in North America, but it may be truer in theory than in practice.

We can get some glimpse of all this in the United States through the experience of African-American Christianity. If you go to these long services, often three hours or more, it’s totally different from white Christianity. I’ve spent a lot of time in Philadelphia, and there’s been a slow process of mutual discovery there. This will happen on a global scale.

For some, this change in perspective is difficult. Some believe that anyone who’s not like us is not really a Christian. But it’s futile, because there’s already a process of change underway. In Protestantism, for example, we see this in recent evolution in music and worship expressions, which reflect the encounter with the rest of the world.

How will the typical white Christian in, say, Kansas City feel the impact?
For one thing, they may find the global church in their own backyard. Given the realities of global migration, today we find African, Asian and Latin American Christians everywhere. The question becomes, how will the traditional congregations in Middle America have fellowship with that strange church down the street? They’re very different, but they still have something in common. Can we recognize that these people with a very different way of practicing their faith are still Christians, and we may have something to learn from them? It’s a humbling experience to realize that this other way of being Christian is also legitimate, also a valid expression of the faith.

It’s all there in Paul’s letter to the Romans -- the multiplicity of cultures, the oneness and richness of a new global reality.


read the complete interview here

Sunday, January 4

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

On April 26th 1518 Martin Luther, Master of Sacred Theology,
and Leonhard Beyer, Master of Arts and Philosophy, still members of the Augustinan order defended their "95 reformed theses" before their fellows Augustinians of the city of Heidelberg. A small city in the west of Germany around 50 km South of Frankfurt.

I spent my new year's holdays in this region and when I was at Heildelberg, lovely little medievel city, I was very impressed with their Castle.

Knowing that Luther spent some time in this city, I wondered if he probably was impressed with this Fortres-Castle as well as me. I thought that probably later writing this famous Hymn inspired in Psaulm 42, he thought too of this fortress-castle which in a mighty way protected the city of Heildelberg.

Just a thought and I wanted to share it with you.

I always loved this hymn, check the lyrics and the music of this beautiful Hymn here.


May Our Mighty Lord protect us and guide us on this new year and for ever and ever