We, pastors and leaders from different countries and denominations, send this letter to the new Latin American evangelical leaders. We take the initiative to write it not because someone has forced us, but as something that springs freely from our hearts, because we love Christ, we love his Church and we love our younger servants in the Gospel.
The intention of the letter is to express how we feel for you, because we are older and have many years of experience in Christian work, which we wish to be of benefit to the present and next generation of servant leaders. It has no theological, ecclesiological, prophetic, missiological or institutional purposes.
We write to you at a time in history that will remember as a landmark around the world. This has brought to our memory that the Church is much more than a temple and challenges us to seek new ways of communicating the message of God’s Word.
We honor those who have preceded us
For more than 100 years, and before we rose up as local leaders, foreign missionaries, preachers, colportores, and evangelists came to our countries. They were sent first by historical churches and missionary entities and later also by independent churches, who wanted the Gospel of salvation to spread throughout these lands. In times of persecution and scarcity, they sowed the Word in time and out of time and, in many cases, did not see the result of their efforts.
Several of them buried their children and spouses in our fields, and did so because they were obedient to the call of Jesus Christ.
These brothers founded churches, built chapels and temples, taught domestic Bible classes, trained new believers, opened theological schools, and published books and millions of pamphlets that they distributed free of charge. We honor them and look forward to the day when we can thank them in the presence of Christ (Rom 13:7; Hb 11.32-40).
We also honor the churches that sent them, and we are debtors to those generations who have obeyed the mandate to go to the ends of the earth. They risked their health and their lives in the ministry.
We deeply esteem those who, in almost all of our nations, have been martyred by the cause of Christ and his love for us, while others were starving or suffering harsh persecution.
Likewise, the first evangelical believers of our nations showed decisive boldness in trusting in Jesus Christ and incredible value in extending the Gospel, even at the cost of their lives. Each nation and denomination has its “proceres of faith” to which we do well to remember and transmit to the new generations the exploits of their lives as examples for every believer.
We honor organizations and servants
Many recognized organizations and servants have significantly blessed our continent. It would be impossible to prepare a complete list of specialized organizations that have invested resources and committed themselves to our countries. We honor those who have brought to the reach of the population millions of copies of the Holy Scriptures in different versions and languages, to the translators of the Bible, to the different means that transmit the message, to organizations that serve children, young people, women and men, to publishers and distributors of Christian books, to teachers and theologians, to the preparation schools for various ministries and to many more who have been and are used by the Holy Spirit to become who we are.
The contribution of these organizations and dedicated servants – both historical, free and Pentecostal churches – has left a strong legacy for generations to come.
We recognize errors and unfinished business
We want to ask forgiveness from the generations who follow us for things we have not done and for those we have done wrong. We have not always been agents of respect and unity, and we do not always reflect The Character of Christ in our lives. The grace of our Heavenly Father has caught up with us, but it does not free us from humbly asking them to forgive us for our failures.
During our ministry, there was a necessary transition of leadership in churches and institutional authorities from foreign hands to national hands. In some cases the transition was peaceful and in others there were conflicts and tensions, which wounded leaders and believers on both sides.
We are grateful to God who, over the years, has gradually reestablished relationships of mutual respect and in some cases intensified the interdependence that must work in the grebe of Christ. On the other hand, even though we have included indigenous Christian movements in the formal structures of the churches a little more than the leaders who preceded us, we recognize that we have not done so much to the extent that it should have been done. We ask you, leaders of today and tomorrow, to include with respect and trust all brothers and sisters in the faith of the different native peoples.
Many churches have recognized the importance of women’s ministry in the lives of congregations and in others it is something that is still in process. We recommend you to continue on this path.
Looking back, we also see that in some cases we allow ourselves to be openly carried away by political positions and personalities, both left and right. Today, we realize that the Church must maintain a posture above time policies, preaching the eternal values and ethics that are based on the Bible.
Steps we took with the help of the Holy Ghost
In all our years of service, we are not ashamed of the Gospel.
Thus our country lived in faith and we also follow them in their footsteps. While recognized evangelists preached the Gospel in massive public gatherings, thousands of anonymous and working believers in all our nations day after day lived and shared the Gospel with their families, neighbors, and colleagues.
A special mention to Latin American women who were from the beginning the main force used by God for the expansion of the good news. God used them all to extend his Church.
The Gospel is the heart of who we are!
We therefore ask you not to forget that the churches and institutions you inherit were founded thanks to the Gospel and evangelization (Rom 1:16; 2 Thesm 1:8).
Our pride has been and remains the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him we believe, in his life, his teachings, his passion, his death and his resurrection, his current heavenly ministry for all of us and we believe in his second coming. Let it be soon!
We confess that we have repeatedly failed him, just as his disciples have also failed; however, in Him we find forgiveness, restoration, consolation, and strength to rise up and serve us again with all that we are (1 Cor 1:32; 15:3-5).
We try to be bibliocentric. The Bible has been our text, our consolation, the Holy Book that instructs and corrects us. We confess that we do not understand it as we would like, and so we read it and study it every day. We implore them to build and continue to live their lives, with their families and their ministries subject to the irreplaceable Word of God (2 Thesm 2:15).
The Church in Latin America was founded on the basis of bible distribution. International and indigenous translators have fulfilled enormous work in such a way that today the biblical translation has become a responsibility of the whole Church.
Since a few decades Latin America has become a missionary power, sending to the world more than 8,000 missionaries and thousands preparing to be sent, with the support of the Church in prayer and resources. In contrast to the sharp denominationalism of the past, we decided to expand the tent of companionship (koinonia) to strengthen spiritual and fraternal relations between historical, free and Pentecostal churches. This spirit has encouraged the formation of different entities in addition to the creation of national evangelical councils that bring together leaders of the wide range of denominations.
Since then, the transdenominational respect that has blessed our continent (Is 54:1-3) has grown. Given that there are several theological attitudes among latin american evangelicals, we have adopted the Lausanne Pact as the doctrinal platform for our joint efforts.This pact has been extremely helpful to us. It declares the cardinal points of the Evangelical Christian faith and leaves for dialogue other important points according to each denomination.
We recommend that you consider the Lausanne Pact for similar functions. We have attached a link so that they can access the document at the end of this letter.
Latin American representatives were an integral part of the major world congresses, such as Berlin (1966), Lausanne (1974), Manila (1989), Cape Town (2010) and the three meetings in Amsterdam (1983, 1986, 2000) and many others. Each of these congresses issued a document that we recommend to them to study.
A word of encouragement and blessing to new leaders
It was your responsibility to guide the Church in a time of strong ideological opposition, growing inequality, overwhelming corruption, and idolatry of the profane. This is no time to waver or be overwhelmed by fear.
As God says in scripture: “No one despises you for the fact that you are young… Be strong and brave… Be holy you also in all that you do… Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your understanding… Love your neighbor as yourself… But may they grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (1 Thesm 4:12; Js 1.6; 1 Pe 1.15; Mt 2 2.37,39, 2 Pe 3.18 VI).
Learn from the history of past generations and avoid making the same mistakes. Stand firm in the cardinal truths of the Christian and Biblical faith. Love God more. Preach and practice the Gospel, but good news of salvation in Christ Jesus for every person.
Do not allow the changes of culture or society to change you. On the contrary, allow God to transform them and use them to redeem the harmful elements of culture and, above all, to develop the culture of discipleship, following the teachings and example of the great Master Jesus.
Trust in God’s sovereignty, because despite and even through contingencies, He fulfills his eternal and sovereign purpose for the Church at all times.
Jesus’ disciples gave everything, even their lives, for the sake of the Gospel and filled the world with their time with the words and works of the Gospel. Now it’s your responsibility. Not just on our continent. The whole world expects you to show him the message of true hope in Jesus.
We remember them and bear witness that “God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power.” It is time to preach the Word and fight “for faith once and for all entrusted to the saints.” It is time to be willing to “preserve the unity of the Spirit by the bond of peace.”
It is the time to run “with perseverance the race that is proposed to us, having our eyes fixed on Jesus, author and consummate of our faith”, because “we are more than winners, through him who loved us” (2 Tm 1:7; Jd 1.3; Ef 4.3; Hb 1 2.1.2; Rm 8.37).
We’re sure you’ll be better than us. A biblical, visionary generation, a generation of prayer, evangelistic and committed to the social responsibility of the Church and to all that means and implies the process of “going and making disciples of all nations”.
In the power of the Holy Ghost, the present and the future are ours!
We want to tell you that this is not a farewell letter. Unlike. Our generation will continue to serve the Lord with all its might until He calls us or comes for us. It motivates us to be able to say one day as the Apostle Paul with humility, but convinced that we have “fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith” (2 Thesm 4:7). We wish you could say the same someday in the future.
Finally, we commit ourselves to pray for you, in the sure that, as you have always done, you will also pray for us.
Together serving the King.
- Juan Pablo Bongarrá ( Argentina: [email protected]
- Samuel Olson Venezuela: [email protected]
- Héctor Pardo | Colombia: [email protected]
- Galo Vásquez | Missionary: [email protected]
- Geremias Couto | Brazil: [email protected]
- Edwin Martinez ( Guatemala: [email protected]
- Oswaldo Prado | Brazil: [email protected]
- Jorge Taberna | Uruguay: [email protected]
- Andrés Castile | Mexico: [email protected]
- Luis Magín Álvarez | Venezuela: [email protected]
- Sixto Porras | Costa Rica: [email protected]
- Peter Lapadjian | Uruguay: [email protected]
- Guillermo Villanueva ( Mexico: email@example.com
- Aarón Cortés | Mexico: [email protected]
- Ilya Carrera Panama: [email protected]
- Gregory Venables ( Argentina: [email protected]
- Raul Justiniano Aíiez | Bolivia: [email protected]
- Guillermo Conard (2009) Peru: [email protected]
- David Ruiz Guatemala: [email protected]
- Estuardo López | Ecuador: [email protected]
- Cesar Parra ( Ecuador: [email protected]
- Braulio Portes R. | Dominican Republic: [email protected]
- Timoteo Ost | Missionary: [email protected]
- Cyril Cruz Mexico | Missionary: [email protected]
- Norman Mydske Missionary: n[email protected]
- Benjamin Orozco | Guatema: [email protected]