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Doing my theology degree program’s practices at my IFB church

Hey there!,

Since I’m studying theology at a liberal Protestant university here in Colombia, I dare myself to explode all of my misadventures in the college I am enrolled.

I got fascination about a course in my theology degree which is called “Practice I”, and the best of is that I made my practices at my IFB church! If you ask, why my Independent Baptist (IFB) church is partnering with a Presbyterian university that is liberal in nature? Well, probably somebody with a bible will give me a verse that is against ecumenism (e.g.: Amos 3:3). But, my cause is anything else than interdenominational (that is different from the ecumenical movement), clearly that this proposal is evangelical meanwhile ecumenism is just like interfaith dialogues thereof. So, there is no any explanation.

As you don’t know, there are many para church organizations, that is, Christian businesses working for the Local church, in other words. Para church organizations tend to attend the local church in a specific situation. We can see lots of examples, that vary a lot depending on the issue a church is being faced.

Back to the theme again, I began to upload some videos to the Rumble platform (those videos are, in fact, subtitled in English!), And they are my practicing sermons that I were teaching at my church during the fifth semester of my degree. I linked also my website (maybe you are here for the YouTube or Rumble links). But I must assert that I am pleased that you are visiting on my website and navigating through the website. In the same way, you can see I am offering to you English-to-Spanish translation services that vary depending on your budget and the kind of work you offer. I also give all Christian advice you wouldn’t every get anywhere, any less in a “professional” counseling scheme. But that’s not at all, ’cause I’m not a professional yet, but an in-formation professional. I don’t know what your situation will be, but I will make sure that you will get all the satisfaction you’ll need!

In other words, I study two things: I am majoring in Theology in a Presbyterian university, and minoring in English at an informal languages institute. That’s it!

Back to the theme, it was amazing to make my college practices at my Independent Baptist church! Feeling so encouraged, my local pastor (who is originally from Cartagena (Colombia) and an alumnus of a Puerto Rican bible institute) felt so joyful that he was willing to step forward my college degree practices with him.

Even though there were several difficulties to make my practices, the Lord did His will and put on the specific time to do my college practices: On Saturdays and Wednesdays. What happens is that every single Saturday, my local church congregants lead by the pastor go to preach the Gospel on the streets, and behold, attach some pictures from it:

People here in Barranquilla (Colombia), have their hearts endured, but not only here in Barranquilla, but also in Bogotá (Colombia’s capital), where they also deliver witchcraft brochures (and imagine, the culture of the Andean region of Colombia is associated with witchcraft (I say this because on the bridge from the locality I lived in there, witchcraft-associated men delivered brochures and people were willing to that!)). Fortunately, here in Barranquilla, there are not those people that indeed deliver that; but I am convinced that I’m doing the correct thing that is indeed associated with my religious beliefs. I want also to share with you some Bible verses that I used during my college practices: I mostly used verses from the Book of Proverbs, mostly used a book from prominent pastor Kevin Swanson, the volume 1 of the Book of Proverbs study series. Believe it or not, it was a blessing for me to learn a lot inside these practices! You can see some of my sermons here in this link

As you don’t know, it was something beautiful but hard at the time, because I needed to pay for transport, food, between other expenses. So if you think pastors gave luxury homes, cars and everything else? Well, I must assert you that’s NOT OK. Being a pastor, a minister or even a missionary is not how it’s painted by the media or the internet, pastors deserve more than that my beloved siblings in Christ. One lesson that was taught to me in the movie “Hector El Father: Conocerás la verdad” (which is available on Netflix), when the ex-singer of reggaeton donate an exaggerated amount of money to a church, the pastor says to him that he doesn’t need that but for him to convert into Christ! Unexplainable, that’s the truth. While many pastors demand for tithe, some pastors (included those of my denomination) do not demand for money, they demand for the Personal Salvation of the person. All of it depends on the culture in which a church is involved, a country, a society, etcetera. While societies and governments attack the church, the church is the bride of the Lord.

Afterwards, doing my college practices within my church grants a strong agreement between my university and my church was something very available. In the beginning, I just imagined that the RUC were reformed by the coming of some U.S. based Christian non-profits (particularly, these Christian non-profits were predominantly conservative and didn’t accord with my university’s theological ideology). So, trying to reach out to my university’s international affairs office many times, I got frustration because there were times the in-charge person was unavailable since last year wasn’t something discouraged, because I understood that every university’s international affairs offices’ in-charge-persons change varying and depending on the policies of the university here in Colombia, so it was hard. Apart from my university being a “Christian” university, it was not the supposed to be a biblical Christian university. However, and when the Constitutional Court of Colombia legalized abortion until the 24th week, I got impact when the university’s directives stood for life, and even more, my university’s chaplain. The summary? The Presbyterian Church of Colombia (a mainline Protestant denomination in Colombia), even though it had strong ties with the progressive Presbyterian Church (USA), and with even ties to the World Council of Churches (WCC), it had a strong stance against abortion and euthanasia. So, I was in a good path to reform my university’s theological ideology (even though my paternal cousin (who declares as agnostic) wasn’t interested in that). So, giving pulse and going forward with my project, I had the braveness that my IFB church got involved with my Practice I program. Even more, I had finally made an appointment with the coordinator of the International Affairs Relations’ office, and he told me that this year (2022), the Reformed University of Colombia was not focused in doing more agreements with other universities neither of the organizations related to the program of theology due to its 20 years anniversary. That was so sad in a side, but on the positive side, It was very enriching for me. In what way? In the sense that I could reform my university’s ideology with my IFB church participation in my theology program’s Practice I subject. You can see the BTh degree program’s full curriculum here.

It was also enriching in the sense of studying the Word of God more deeply, and even though I lack of reading, and I am lack of literature, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have any knowledge above the readings, the classwork, etcetera. Every single preaching service, in fact, was enriching me with the Bible reading! For the most parts of evangelism down the streets, I used Hebrews 1; and some Bible verses that were useful for the soul-winning ministry among my Independent Baptist church.

Now, talking about Soul-Winning ministry, I dedicated most of my part to the Soul winning ministry of my church (as you know, every Protestant church has a Soul Winning ministry, and not only Protestants, but also Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses) every Saturday beginning at 1:40 PM (BGT), because it was the only ministry I was very interested in, because I was involved in a youth camp, in a youth ministry in Bogotá (Colombia’s capital city), and even in Sunday School. But, honestly, I was in my teenage years, and one of my restrained interests was with a cartoon or animated series which I must annoy it because it prejudiced me the most during my schooling years (In fact, both in Bogotá and here in Barranquilla, school was not my favorite place to be). So, don’t demand more from what I give…

Otherwise, I offer pastoral counseling to you as a service on the “Services” tab. However, I cannot guarantee I am an expert in this area, because I am in the middle of the theology degree, but I can give you some advice based on Holy Scriptures. I can also help you in the Soul-Winning ministry if you wish.

Furthermore, my desire that my IFB church partnered with a liberal Presbyterian university has its traces from a long time. When I lived in Bogotá, some Christian archeologists came to Barranquilla in order to make a presentation based on Creation v. Evolution theory. Sadly, and even though it was a success for the schools, several universities here in Barranquilla disapproved presentations of the aforementioned Christian archeologists and between those universities was included the Reformed University of Colombia (my university). In fact, I could witness the theological liberalism boarding inside my university, and mostly, in the 2020 United States presidential elections. In February 2020, there came a delegation from the liberal Presbyterian Church (USA), to give a conference, and even though they became friends of mine, during the 2020 elections, and when the Mr. Trump lost the election, I realized about the progressive theology among them, and I got most frustration above. So, I witnessed theological liberalism inside my university, realizing that the university had ties with the anti-archeological theology (that witness with the theological ideology), and progressive ideas (the Liberation Theology). So, in the fourth semester, I decided to test them in order to open their eyes and realize my idealism from what I wanted for them. The results?, I was losing academically my university, my mother cried a lot and I suffered on my mind, not only because of the professors’ strong behavior but also for my high school philosophy teacher who told me “You are wasting time writing a letter to the Pope, and I see you so serious” “You have a strong obsession with religion, and that will not get you to work”. Yeah, as told before, school was not my favorite place to be, instead, it was the worst place to be for me as an autistic and as a person! I am convinced that in the U.S. public school system, public school teachers are indeed the same as my high school philosophy teacher is if I’m wrong, right? Fortunately, I passed along the fourth semester.

Initially, I was going to major in English at the same university I am enrolled at. But, when I revised the semester curriculum, I disappointed because it was an all-school-college-degree, it was to get a license as a teacher. So, having experience both in Bogotá and here in Barranquilla, I decided to choose theology, because I was with that idea since 2017 when I picked up my eyes for the first time to the Reformed University of Colombia while on vacation in Barranquilla. I was in the good path in order to reform my university’s theological ideology.

In the meantime, my pastor and I used to visit older adherents of my church’s houses, and one Sunday, those brethren came to the church!. So, it wasn’t a waste of time at all. In the contrary, we reached back those people to the church. So, this is not a matter of religion, but a matter of humanity that people attend church. In the same way, I learned a lot through this experience. In fact, listening to other brothers teaching the Holy Scriptures made me learn much more indeed. We visited a brother called Jeremías, who was indeed an older brother who sought to attend my IFB church during my living in Bogotá, whose wife died unfortunately, but suddenly after, he came back to the church thanks to the visit I made with my pastor. One must listen to the people who suffer and needs counseling, and one of the subject within my Practice I subject was “Visit to sick people”, and I was so impacted about Bro. Jeremías who was in need of Christian counseling. This day was specifically on Saturday, April 02, 2022, and though I don’t have any photos on my phone, I am explaining this with my own words.

One of the other Practices I had been doing with my church pastor was looking for information about the Autism population here in Colombia. Although we didn’t reach out enough information, we interviewed a lawyer whose daughter is on the spectrum too. She was presented to me virtually from a college classmate (which is helping me out with my investigative project on autism and faith communities), then we got at least two encounters: The first one was casually at her worksite, when I got the impression to see her along with my church pastor (that was indeed something casual among myself, my pastor and that attorney), she gave us all the information about the spectrum and the population. The second meeting, was at a very famous bakery herein my city, we interviewed that lawyer and with all her politeness, we caught the information.

But, what was the plan for all of this: We were looking for the autism population in order to evangelize them and give them the Salvation Plan! That was the intention I had been having when I saw that the subject I was enrolling at was Practice I! The goal is simple, and was to evangelize the autism community beginning from my local city in Colombia.

Unfortunately, I have been cringed by the rejection and exclusion of autistic people from the church (Talking about my Protestant perspective, because here in Colombia, people on the spectrum tend to attend Roman Catholic Churches in an exaggerated amount); however, my Baptist church pastor wanted his Sheppard church to be an “inclusive church”. He said to me: “The Lord will use you from a unique way”. The sad fact, that is, evangelicalism and Protestantism in general, here in Colombia, is stereotyped as a “Faith Bank”. The issue?, Romans 2:24 explains it, letting you in blank!:

For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
Romans 2:24 KJV

In the coming days, weeks, and months, I will still publish here about the experience I had because this website is like my worksite. Such is to say that I earn my own salary from my own website. Even though I am looking for an English job here in Colombia (bilingualism is gaining much demand here), I want to earn my own money without any commissions, and even though my parents are able to afford my studies, I want also to pay them.

My name is Angello Forero, and I am at your service here in Colombia.

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