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Geneva to Lima


Daniel Caballero is a UFM missionary working in partnership with GBM, based in his native Lima, Peru. In the past year the Lord has given him some remarkable opportunities to spread the influence of the Reformation in Peruvian life, and Daniel explains.

 

There an increasing hunger and thirst for reformed theology in Latin America. Names like Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Owen or John Calvin are becoming more and more popular among evangelicals in South America. Truly, I have found that in some circles among young people in Peru, the life and legacy of Martyn Lloyd-Jones is more valued than in some circles in Europe, or even Britain! There has been an incredible amount of solid, Bible-based literature translated into Spanish over the last ten years. It was almost unthinkable just a generation ago that I would be lecturing on English Puritanism in Peru. It is exciting to play a small part in what the Lord is doing on the pacific coast of Latin America.


There is an increasing involvement among evangelical in what we call ‘Public theology’. Although it is true that most evangelicals involved in politics come from a Pentecostal background, there is an increasing influence of reformed theology among them. More than once I have heard people referring to themselves as ‘Reformed Pentecostal’ (whatever that means!). A Pentecostal pastor said to me, ‘I love reading the Puritans. There is not a divorce between mind and soul in their writings. They study God’s word carefully, but at the same time put a great emphasis on the Christian life. When I read Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices, I thought that the author was a Pentecostal pastor, and not a Puritan!’ This is very exciting indeed, especially if you bear in mind that almost half of Christians in Peru identify themselves as Pentecostal.


It has been almost four years since I left the UK and went to Peru to work as a full-time missionary. I have been involved mainly in pastoral ministry and theological education in Lima. Praise the Lord for the many opportunities he has given me to serve him.


Luther and Public Theology

I have had the opportunity to speak in various conferences in Peru over the last year, including a Conference about Martin Luther in October 2015. Perhaps one of the most important lessons that we learn from the sixteenth century European Reformation is that when the Word of God is faithfully preached there is reform not only in people’s lives, but also eventually in society as well. Perhaps there is no greater example of this than the Geneva of Calvin.


Midia is a committed Christian, who happened to be at the Conference about Luther. She is also secretary to one of the main judges in Peru.  We celebrate Thanksgiving Day at the end of November every year in Peru. The Judicial authorities were organising their celebration event, and they were looking for a new preacher to speak in their event. Midia suggested my name to the organising committee. They asked for my CV, and a week later I received a formal invitation to preach at the Thanksgiving service. I could not believe it! The Lord opened the door for me to preach to maybe the most important people in the country.


At the time I was recovering from ‘Malta Fever’, a disease I picked up two months before while travelling in the Jungle, preaching and teaching. So, what should I speak on? I had preached a sermon to the young people in the shantytown I work in called ‘God the giver, judge and executer of the law.’ I preached the same sermon the best I could to the Peruvian magistrates on Thanksgiving Day. It was probably the only chance I would have in my life to do so, so I preached the gospel unashamedly.


The same sermon I had preached in one of the poorest areas to deprived people was what I preached to the main rulers of the country. How beautiful is the gospel, that the weak becomes strong and the strong weak; the poor is made rich and the rich poor! This is truly good news if you are poor and weak, but bad news if you consider yourself strong and rich. For me, a weak poor Peruvian, it was the best news ever. Praise the Lord!


The Presidential Inauguration

In July 2016, our new President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski assumed the Presidency of Peru. President Kuczynski’s parents were Polish, his father born in Poznań, and they moved to Peru in 1936. I was contacted by the chairman of a Christian organization called ‘Faith and Parliament’, which provides a platform for evangelicals to speak to politicians. The Lord granted me grace with them, and I was invited together with a group of evangelical leaders to attend the inauguration of President Kuczynski. It was such a huge privilege to be there. I even appeared on TV!


The Lord has opened a door for me for public speaking, in connection with ‘Faith and Parliament.’ I have spoken to Lima City Council on a couple of occasions, and hope to do more in the future. I have covered topics related to current ethical issues, such as corruption or women’s abuse. I pray the Lord may grant me more opportunities to speak, to preach the gospel to the authorities, and that through the preaching of the Word, the Lord may bring a reformation not only in our churches but also in the whole nation. I firmly believe that the preaching of the Word must come in the demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit.


I have been encouraged to open a blog. The blog is called Semper Reformanda, and covers contemporary issues for a Latin American public from an evangelical view, with a solid historical, biblical and theological basis. I try to write one or two articles a week. There is also a Facebook page called Teologia para vinir (‘Theology for living’).


The Lord is opening doors that I never expected before. Perhaps he is also calling you to the work of the gospel, whether in the UK or overseas. You never know what the Lord can do in you and through you. I may never meet Mr Kuczynski again, but how much greater will be the day when we meet the Kings of Kings and Lords of Lords, our Lord Jesus Christ. I long for that day. Yes, Lord Jesus, come soon. Amen.


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