In April 2000, we crossed the border into Mexico for the first time as missionaries. It was an intimidating experience. The border agents were known to be corrupt, sometimes criminally corrupt. Thirteen years later, things have gotten worse. We don't even think about driving to the border. It's too dangerous. During that same period of time, the evangelical Protestant church has grown. One estimate puts the number as high as 20 percent of the country's population. That is significant considering that we, and the Mexicans, think of Mexico as a Roman Catholic country.
The reasons for this are complex and inscrutable. I don't propose to offer any definitive interpretations or easy answers, but if you're going to be a missionary here you have to wonder what is going on. Are things getting worse as a prelude to a complete disaster (maybe the end of the world) or is all this the darkness before the dawn? What about the church? Is it failing as salt and light or is it slowly leavening the culture? What's a missionary to do?
I concluded that something was missing from my missionary efforts that needed changing. Mexico's problems are not the direct fault of missionaries, but I doubted that I was contributing anything towards their solution. I was busy saving souls but had no conception of sanctifying the culture, or if doing so was even a legitimate goal for a missionary. I certainly wanted to implement cultural solutions but didn't know how to go about it. You simply can't wait until someone writes up the history before taking action. Prayerfully, I set out to make a reasoned analysis of what was going on around me and then to make changes.
What I propose to do here is to outline my conclusions about Mexico's situation and what I'm doing about it. Consider this to be the first in a series of subsequent articles that I trust will further develop my case. My analyses are based on my observations, my experience in Latin America, and a Biblical view of history. Much is based on what Mexicans say about themselves and their country. Curiously, Mexicans have a lexicon of aphorisms about themselves that imply that all Mexicans are fundamentally of the same mind.
What I am about to say will provoke controversy. Therefore, try to receive this input with grace. I'm doing the best I can, so keep the following points in mind: (1) This is a snapshot, and a blurry one at that, not a historical documentary. (2) Nothing is ever as bleak or as rosy as we may perceive it. In spite of the considerable negatives, Mexico is a great place to live. For us, it's as good as it gets this side of heaven. (3) Friends don't let friends drive drunk. Marcy and I love Mexicans. God has used this wonderful, warm-hearted people to bless us profoundly. We have lived here longer than we have ever lived in one place in our forty-three-plus years of marriage, and we have no plans to leave. We are more optimistic about the future of Mexico than most Mexicans are. To fulfill that future sooner rather than later is the purpose of the following paragraphs, which may at times read like harsh judgments but which will heal the country if heeded.
Lest you get the wrong idea, we are not pioneer missionaries. We live in Puebla, Mexico. The state of Puebla has a population of over five million people, most of which live in and around the city of Puebla. Puebla is the home of the Volkswagen plant that employs around 12,000 people. We see all kinds of cars on the road here: all the major American models, lots of VW Jettas, and too many BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes. In Puebla, we can shop at supermarkets just like in the U.S., but we can patronize the local market as well. The city has five Walmart stores, Sam's, Costco, McDonald's, Burger King, Tony Roma's, Chili's (yes, the U.S. chain), Krispy Kreme, and five Starbucks. Papa John's, Pizza Hut, and Domino's all deliver. Medical care is excellent, with technology no more than three years behind the U.S., but costing a third or less of what comparable care costs in the U.S. Clearly, we are not suffering saints (at least we don't consider ourselves as such).
Not everyone has access to all these luxuries of the U.S. economy. McDonald's is where the middle and upper middle class take their kids. The poor can't afford it; they get around by bus, a quasi-free enterprise system subsidized by the government, but with routes all over the city marked by frequent stops. A ride across town can cost anywhere between fifty cents to one U.S. dollar. Corn for tortillas is government-subsidized as well. The government owns the power company and the oil company. There is no competition. Mexicans pay too much for gas and electricity. Socialism pretends to help the poor.
I owe it to you, the reader, to state my presuppositions. I assume the following: Christ reigns. He is controlling history for the glory of the Trinity and to His own ends. He doesn't seek our counsel. The whole Bible is the Word of God, Old and New Testaments, and it applies to all of life. All of life means in the time and space we live in right now. Humanity's relationship to God is mediated by a legal declaration called a covenant. When we partake of communion we repeat Jesus's words, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood" (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25), to remind us that we are under a covenant with the Sovereign of the universe. What He says goes. God is sovereign over the entire creation. Christ is reigning and must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. Christ exercises judgment throughout history through the sanctions of His covenant, the blessings and cursings outlined in our covenant document, the Bible.
Because I know Who my God is and what He says He is doing, I am full of exuberant hope for the future of Mexico in time and history (and not just in eternity). By "hope" I don't mean "maybe Mexico might blossom under God." My "hope" is a confident expectation. It will happen. The question is not if it will happen, but when. If not in this generation, then which generation shall see this? What should I be doing to hasten that process? Where do we start?
"To be Mexican is to be Catholic": Hard Truth or Dated Cliché?
Mexico is not so much Roman Catholic as it is secular humanist. There are beautiful colonial Catholic churches everywhere but they are not well-attended. The elites of Mexico are mostly practical atheists and are socialist Marxists in their thinking. The unwashed masses practice a syncretized religion that is a mixture of pre-Reformation Romanism and Aztec religion.
Mexico's culture is not monolithic. There is a rich variety of cultures here. The glue that holds all of them together is the worship of the Virgin of Guadalupe. "To be Mexican is to be Catholic and guadalupano (a worshipper of the Virgin of Guadalupe)," as the saying goes.
The syncretism that marks Mexico's religions is evidenced by the fact that the Virgin of Guadalupe is also known by her Aztec name Tonantzin (the goddess of mother earth). The cultural elites admit that they think the religion of the masses is a myth but they believe that "we need the myth to hold us together." They seem to fear that without the myth they will be unable to govern this people.
In a 2009 study of demographic and census data, anthropologist Elio Masferrer Kan pointed out that the statistics were being skewed to give the impression that Mexico is more Catholic and guadalupano than it actually is. The study was titled, "The Structural Invisibility of Evangelicals, Citizenship, Laity and Democracy."1 His thesis is that such data manipulation is deliberately designed to (1) preserve the political power and influence of the Catholic Church and (2) to marginalize the growing evangelical community. He assumes that religious education is a private family matter and that public education is neutral.
The ruling class in Mexico loves Rousseau and the French Revolution, "The voice of the people is the voice of God." Mexico prides itself on its laicismo, meaning its secular government. Having been "educated" about the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church, Mexicans are adamant about supporting the separation of church and state. Nobody questions this supposed "history of abuse by the Church" or that the solution for said "abuse" is the radical separation of church and state. Even evangelical Christians accept these notions without challenging them.
In practice the separation of church and state means the control of all religious expression outside of the state religion of secular humanism. The constitution of 1992 guarantees religious freedom. It created a bureaucracy in the federal government to control religious expression, the Department of Religious Affairs. Churches are required to form a religious association and register with the government. Whatever property they purchase belongs to the government. Pastors and priests are required to register as such with this governmental department. The legal term is ministro de culto. In 2009 there were more than twice as many registered evangelical ministers as there are Catholic priests (more than 40,000 evangelical pastors compared to just over 20,000 priests). All considered ministros de culto.2
There are important distinctions between a cult and a religion. A cult is "a system of religious worship especially as expressed in ritual" or "devotion or homage to a person or thing."3 What is a religion then?
The word religion comes from the Latin word religio, which means obligation, bond, reverence for the gods, from the verb religare, to bind. Inevitably, religion brings obligation, duty, i.e. life in accordance with an obligation that binds man. The root of religio is lig, to bind, and is cognate with the word lex, meaning law. Religion, therefore, structures life; it structures the life of the individual and of society.4
How is a cult then different from a religion? One can practice a cult, a system of ritual worship, without being bound by its obligations. Cults do not structure one's life or society.5 Roman Catholicism, worship of the Virgin of Guadalupe, worship of the Catholic saints, are cults, but the religion of Mexico is the State. Consequently, there are striking parallels between modern Mexico and the Roman Empire. Quoting Stephen Perks again,
In ancient Rome one could join and practice the rituals of just about any cult one wished to adopt. There were many different cults, and they were very popular. But they were essentially personal devotion hobbies, not religions. The religion of Rome was Rome itself as the supreme political power. As long as Roman citizens acknowledged the religion of Rome they were free to practice whatever cult they wished, the cult of Jesus Christ included.6
Mexican independence (September 16) with the grito at 11:00 p.m. on September 15, the revolution of 1910-20 (November 18 and 20), Constitution day (February 5), Benito Juarez's birthday (March 21), Labor Day (May 1), are the holy days that mark the rhythm of life in Mexico. The Christian holy days are observances. Christmas and Easter week are holidays, but are more an external custom than a genuine recognition of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.
The evangelical church scrupulously avoids pagan celebrations like Virgin worship, Ash Wednesday, and the worship of the saints. But Mexican evangelicals rigorously support the concept of the separation of church and state and celebrate the civil religion. I would argue that it is the civil religion that actually organizes the lives of most Christians in Mexico.
Like most modern evangelicals in our own country (the U.S.), Mexico's evangelicals do not realize that the Christian faith governs all of life. One significant piece of evidence for this is the fear that grips Christian parents about their children's future if they do not get an education accredited by the federal government's Secretary of Education, the SEP (Secretaria de Educación Pública). The SEP is a monstrous cancer, an abject failure at education but a complete success at intimidation and indoctrination in the religion of statism.
The Burden of Bureaucracy and Administrative Law
What has the civil religion of statism produced in Mexico? The dogma here is that (1) economics means central control, (2) politicians are elected to pass more and more laws promising more and more benefits, and (3) the economy does not produce enough jobs because of monopolistic international capitalism (especially U.S. monopolistic capitalism).
A young man who is a Christian and a doctoral student in economics once asked me about the Christian answer to the unequal distribution of wealth. He asked, "You give me 200 pesos. Now I have 200 pesos and you are 200 pesos poorer. What do we do about that?" I nearly yelled at him, "NO! That's not the way it works! I gave you 200 pesos because you had something I wanted. It's a free exchange, not a zero sum game." That was the first time he had heard a Christian say such a thing.
One of my high school students asked me for help with an economics class taught as mandated by the Secretary of Education. She did not even know the most basic elements of economics (such as the concept of supply and demand). What she was actually learning was a Marxist interpretation of Mexico's economic woes.
The public education system teaches this stuff and the graduates believe it ... including evangelical Christians.
The burden of taxes in Mexico is four times what the Bible characterizes as tyranny (1 Sam. 8:15). The federally mandated benefits and taxes amount to 40 percent of what it costs to legitimately employ someone. For every sixty pesos an employee takes home, the cost to the employer is one hundred pesos in cash. The cost of firing an unproductive employee can bankrupt a small company. The expense of keeping up with the paperwork demanded by the bureaucracy and administrative law is horrendous (though for most people it is largely hidden). It is nearly impossible to get a business started without being a scofflaw and flat-out ignoring most of burdensome labor laws.
In the name of preserving the resources of the nation for the people, the nationalized oil company, Pemex, is corrupt, lines the pockets of the politicians, and sells gasoline at constantly inflating prices. Regular gas at the only gas stations that exist (which are ostensibly owned by the people) costs about $3.50 U.S. a gallon.
The neutral lay public education system teaches thirteen-year-olds that they are free to begin their sexual life whenever and with whomever they please. The pressure is on to approve of homosexual marriage. Morality is defined by tolerance for what is to God an abomination. The teachers and the teachers' union are the delinquents. And evangelical Christians send their kids to these schools. The Secretary of Education (SEP) is a monstrosity of a bureaucracy. It does nothing productive. SEP-registered schools commonly employ a person just to fill out paperwork for the SEP and stand in line at their offices. People are fed up with the system but are afraid to risk an education outside the system. The system has a psychological if not real stranglehold on what people believe are their prospects for the future.
What do Mexicans Say About Themselves?
Mexicans talk about themselves as if all Mexicans were the same. Like most of us I think they are talking about the rest of Mexico, not so much about themselves. Mexican idioms include hundreds of dichos and aphorisms about themselves. They mimic the pessimism of the Cretan philosopher who said of his fellow countrymen, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons" (Titus 1:12). The most common examples I hear are these:
Mexicans are undisciplined. They don't know how to save so we have to have social security to take care of them. I asked a friend from the upper class, who repeated this, if it might not be the other way round. Could it be that Mexicans don't save because the government promise of social security is an incentive not to save? It's an empty promise. Social Security retirement is less than peanuts. Mexicans don't read. Mexicans take advantage of you. "Give them your hand and they'll take your foot" is the Mexican equivalent of give them an inch and they'll take a mile. Mexicans are too informal so they always arrive late and pay late. (This one does seem to be true.)
Mexicans steal ideas from others and pretend they are their own. Knowledge is power so it's best to hold on to it and use it rather than share it. We are consumers rather than producers of theology.
Mexicans never say no, they consider it impolite. "We'll be there if God permits" is a pretty good sign they aren't coming. You get used to it. They hate to let people down. They'll spend ten minutes giving you directions to a place they've never been to. You'll get lost following their directions but at least the encounter was pleasant. Sometimes it's because they never drive a car and direct you the only way they know, by the bus routes.
Mexicans tend to be fatalistic and fixated on the past. They talk about "the 500 years" (meaning the weight of 500 years of history since the conquest). Porfirio Diaz, president of the Republic for nearly thirty years, is famous for observing, "Poor Mexico, so close to the United States and so far from God."
Much of what Mexicans believe about themselves is myth and self-fulfilling prophecy. I suspect the ruling class consciously or unconsciously perpetuates these myths. People who read and are not dependent on the government are not so easily manipulated by myths. Those who are encouraged or pressured to do so do read. They are industrious, resourceful, and hard-working. A family in need will throw up a business on the street overnight without a license, to make ends meet. They are a gregarious and warm people. You have to work hard to be friendless here. And the food is really good.
Are There Any Signs of Hope?
Tons! People are fed up with the school system. They are fed up with their corrupt government. They are looking for answers. When I teach how the Bible applies to all of life and what is possible for a people whose God is the Lord, the response is almost always positive.
Mexico is not a third world country. The signs of economic progress and wealth are amazing considering the insane government controls and regulations that throttle business and punish initiative. There is a Christian Military Fellowship here. An Army lieutenant who was one of my students at the seminary told me, "Roger, you'd be surprised at how many Christians are in the military." And as I mentioned earlier, the evangelical church is growing. The question is, Will the evangelicals make a difference?
Is the Evangelical Church Ready to Make a Difference?
The Christians I know in Mexico are good folks. They attend church, read their Bibles, and pray. They evangelize their families and neighbors and they do good works. Their beliefs about Christianity are a reflection of what they have received from missionaries. As a result, the church in Mexico is much like its counterpart in the U.S., the source of most missionaries sent there. Many of my observations apply with equal force to the church in America. Mine is a critique of the Christianity I have practiced most of my life. In so doing, I do not question my fellow Christians' sincerity or devotion.
As with its counterpart to the north, the church in Mexico has largely been marginalized and thus ineffective in changing the culture. I offer three primary reasons for this.
First, the evangelical church is largely otherworldly (so heavenly-minded as to be little earthly good). The evangelicals' outlook on the future in time and history is pessimistic because their accepted eschatology is pessimistic.
Second, the church has not been taught how to apply all of Scripture to all of life. Everyday life is organized around the civil religion of the state. The church's political efforts have been aimed at getting Christians elected in the hope that will sanctify the system. Evangelicals fear and envy the power and influence of the Roman Catholic Church. They react strongly against any suggestion that their doctrine of the separation of church and state amounts to an endorsement of the church of the civil religion (the state) controlling religious expression.
Third, the church is largely antinomian.7 They have been taught that law and grace are antithetical. They believe that one's relationship to God is either mystical, intellectual, or experiential. Few understand the concept of the covenant, a relationship structured around a legal declaration of a covenantal relationship between God and man. If you want to provoke a fight in Mexico, mention the law of Moses as the standard of morality for our times.
A fourth factor is the fragmented nature of the evangelical church. Mexicans form their groups and are zealous to protect their turf. In the federal government's offices of religious affairs, evangelicals are known as the most combative religious sector in the country, usually fighting battles over church property. Divorce and out-of-wedlock pregnancy are about the same within the evangelical church as in the society at large. Mexican evangelicals are often difficult to deal with and take advantage of one another. A lawyer friend said of his Christian clients that they resist reconciliation efforts and often want something for nothing.
The family in Mexico is under assault. The Christian family is nearly as dysfunctional as the rest of society. Marriage is a covenant. A covenant is a solemn bond sovereignly administered with an oath that includes blessings and cursings. In a covenant marriage the husband is the titular representative. He is not commanded to be such, he is-and that means he is responsible for everything that happens in his family and for the condition of his marriage. Because we have forgotten or have never been taught what a covenant is, we don't know what the covenant of marriage means. Douglas Wilson makes an interesting distinction between classical Protestant theology and modern evangelical thinking:
Modern evangelicalism doesn't think and doesn't have a backbone. Because contemporary evangelical theology doesn't have a backbone, modern Christian men who are taught in terms of it find themselves without backbone also. Without this knowledge of the covenant the husband does not know how to love his wife as Christ loved the church. If our theology does not teach the covenant, and a husband's covenant responsibility for his wife, then his wife will be loved sentimentally, not for very long, or in fits and starts.8
The social insecurity, violence on the borders, kidnappings, the corruption, the plague of abortion and homosexuality, the disintegration of the family, are all the judgment of God on a disobedient people. It hurts and the people of God are crying out for deliverance.
Not If, But When: If Not This Generation of Christians, Then the Next
So is there anything good about the church, anything positive to report? Yes. First, the church is the church. It is Christ's project, not ours. There is an awakening, a remnant looking for a better way. The school system is so bad that people are overcoming their fear of the SEP and taking their children out of the schools. There is a growing homeschool movement in Mexico. The opportunities to study on-line at home are growing. The government even recognizes the sorry state of the education system, but the reforms are wrongheaded and make things worse.
My tired refrain to my audiences when I teach is that Mexico is our promised land. The future is ours and I believe Christ will lift Mexico up from the ashes of 500 years of tired history in such a way that millions around the world will bow the knee and proclaim Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. Then I ask them, "Are we going to be another generation that dies in the desert or are we going to cross the Jordan River and take this place for Christ our King?"
Many tell me that they have never heard anyone speak so positively about Mexico and Mexicans and their future. You can almost measure the reaction in the change of posture and direct eye contact with the audience. Mexico is a wonderful nation with a marvelous future. I know that because I know that Christ is putting all His enemies under His feet. He is conquering kingdoms and advancing His reign through His representatives on earth. That includes Mexico.
There is a growing remnant in Mexico looking for answers. They want what I am telling them is possible, even inevitable. They want to know how? Where to start? Now that we have their attention, what are we going to say? Borrowing from my friend Bojidar Marinov and what he did for his native Bulgaria, we have to lay the intellectual foundations for the future Christian civilization of Mexico. The vision has grown from a series of divine coincidences, God's providence, to an answer to "seek and ye shall find."
What's a missionary to do?
I read a statistic cited in an article on www.buildingchurchleaders.com that 30 percent of all short-term mission teams from the U.S. go to Mexico. The interviewee concluded, "If short-term missions guaranteed long-term results, then Mexico would be the most Christian nation on earth, and Tijuana would be the Holy Land."9
It isn't as simple as sending more long-term missionaries. We need to reevaluate everything we are doing, including the theology we are exporting, how we evangelize a nation, what we invest in ... in short, how we disciple the nation. Speaking for myself, I have failed to teach the people to obey everything that Christ has commanded us. Until recently, I didn't know what that even meant. I thought I did, but I didn't. It means teaching the whole counsel of God and that includes the law.10
To fix this, we are working in three areas: (1) educating the next generation; (2) translating and distributing books and articles and (3) a web page, www.vision-mexico.com.
Teaching the Next Generation-The Learning Center
When I was the director of Puebla Bible Seminary, one of my goals was to make the seminary financially independent. A common solution in this part of the world is to start a school within the seminary. While that idea was percolating, I began to read everything I could get my hands on about the philosophy of Christian education and why one should homeschool. I learned that education is not neutral, that it is a religious activity and that God assigned that task to parents, not to the state (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
The idea of a school to support the seminary economically morphed into the heart of a strategy to build a Christian civilization in Mexico.
We started three years ago with a kind of homeschool co-op comprised of six junior high kids using an on-line homeschool program conducted in Spanish. Parents have hitherto been intimidated by fears that their kids will have no future without a SEP-accredited education. But things have gotten so bad in Mexico's state schools that parents are willing to consider other options, not because they understand their responsibility as parents to educate their children, but because it is downright dangerous to send their kids to public school. Bullying and violence are out of control, while Christian children are taught a morality in total opposition to what the Bible teaches.
Although our homeschool co-op isn't SEP-approved, the results in behavior and academic progress were beyond our expectations. We did not actively promote the project but word spread quickly and the second year we had forty-seven students from primary to high school. This year, our third year, we added preschool and had reached ninety-six students being homeschooled.
The homeschool co-op is not a school. Someone started calling it the Learning Center and the name stuck. All subjects are related to the Creator who sustains the world,, so math and science and language and all the subjects are possible. Each student spends thirty minutes every day copying from the Bible in cursive handwriting, starting with the book of Deuteronomy. They can recite the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer by heart. They are learning the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which we call the basic principles of the Christian faith. (The word "catechism" sounds too Roman Catholic.) The results have been impressive. Two examples:
One of the preschoolers, a tiny four-year-old girl, was out shopping with her mom around the time of the Day of the Dead (Mexican Halloween). Some kids in costumes approached them as is the custom here. They were dressed as witches, monsters, and skeletons. Christians don't celebrate this holiday here and well they shouldn't. It has its roots in Aztec pagan worship of dead ancestors just as the Greeks did in ancient times. So, Dana says to her mom, "Mommy, we don't have to be afraid of them, right?" "That's right," says the mom. Dana then proceeds to tell the kids, "God doesn't like death, He likes life," immediately followed by quoting the first, second, and sixth commandments.
Last year a family approached me about a problem they were having with their daughter in the public school. They are a Christian family and "in ministry," as the saying goes. He is a doctor and she is a nurse as well as a graduate of the Baptist seminary in Mexico City, Lomas Verdes. They were beside themselves about what to do about their daughter. She was fourteen or fifteen at the time and was being recruited into the lesbian lifestyle by a companion at the public school. We didn't really have room for her but when her dad asked me if he should pull her out now or wait until next year I asked him what he would do with a patient who had cancer. That settled it. They pulled her out the next day and brought her to us. A month later the she said to her mom, "I don't know how I could have turned my back on God."
These are just two of many stories that encourage us to believe we are on the right track. Not all the stories are success stories. The Learning Center is a spiritual battlefield. The kids come to us loaded with humanistic baggage.
The Learning Center is a mustard seed project to build the future Christian civilization in Mexico from the bottom up. It's exhausting but rewarding work. Never did we expect to be working with children, especially since we are at retirement age.
The vision keeps growing. We hope to offer an apprenticeship program to some of the high school graduates from the Learning Center. The students will work as apprentices in the Learning Center while they study to earn a bachelor's degree in education and child development. The Learning Center will be a place for covenant families to educate their children from preschool through college.
The plan is to help the graduates of the apprenticeship program to start Learning Centers all over the state and eventually throughout Mexico.
We are also investing all we get in donations into translating Reformed literature into Spanish. Our ministry strategy is to go after the remnant. I'm uncompromising about that in the Learning Center as well. The importance of a translation program is an idea that we learned from Bojidar Marinov. We live on my military pension. This permits us to invest everything that we receive in donations into the very things we came here to accomplish.
We have two other activities/ministries we are working on: the web page mentioned above, www.vision-mexico.com, and a home church that is developing into a Christian family synagogue rather than a traditional church. Pray that both grow into vehicles to extend the Lord's work ever deeper into the nation of Mexico, and that we who name the name of Christ don't squander this opportunity among the fields white unto harvest. The door is wide open and effectual, and the prospects have continued to improve since we've learned to apply the whole counsel of God to the nations that are in such desperate need of His covenant Word to them.
The Future Is Ours in the Lord
Be encouraged. The future belongs to us and we belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God. (1 Cor. 3:22-23)
I'm writing this during the Advent season. I must admit that I love to hear Handel's Hallelujah chorus at this time of year. It is the heart of the story of Christmas, the birth of our Savior King: "For the Lord God almighty reigneth, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah."
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." ~ Revelation 11:15 quoted in Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus.
1. Elio Mansferrer Kan, Ciudadanía laicismo y democracia, La Invisibilidad estructural de los evangélicos, Centro de Estudios de las Religiones Contemporáneas, México D.F., 2009.
3. Stephen Perks, "Christianity as a Cult," in Common Law Wives and Concubines, Essays on Covenantal Christianity and Contemporary Western Culture (Taunton, Somerset: The Kuyper Foundation, 2003), 9.
4. Ibid., 10.
7. Antinomian - against the law. "One who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation" Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 2003.
8. Douglas Wilson, Federal Husband (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 1999), Kindle version
9. http://www.buildingchurchleaders.com/articles/2006/futureshortterm.html "The Future of Short-Term Missions," An interview with Paul Borthwick by George Halitzka.
10. Yes, I do mean the law of Moses less the ceremonial laws that pointed to Christ. The moral and civil codes still apply. I was an antinomian like most modern Christians.
- Roger Oliver
Roger Oliver serves as a missionary in Puebla, Mexico. He and his wife, Marcy spend most of their time at the Pierre Viret Learning Center, a Christian academy, preschool through high school. Their local church meets in the Learning Center. They sponsor a web page www.visionamericalatina.com to promote Christian reconstruction in Latin America. Roger is a partner in a furniture manufacturing company. The business exists to provide employment to the families in the community, to help the community become independent, to generate capital for other family businesses and as a venue for vocational discipleship. He retired from the US Army in 1992. He earned his MBA at Syracuse University for the Army and completed a ThM in Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary.