Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Centro Teologico de Cubulco

Written by Ken and Jackie Herfst
On January 3, 2000, the academic dean of the Evangelical Presbyterian Seminary officially opened the Centro Teologico de Cubulco. This Seminary is run by the National Presbyterian Church and maintains close ties with the Gereformeerde Zendings Bond (Reformed Alliance Mission Board) of the Netherlands.

Each month we meet for an entire week of classes and discussion. Professor Benjamin Yac Poz, a Quiche brother for Quetzaltenango is currently giving a class entitled "Panorama of the Old Testament" while I give a class on the Westminster Confession of Faith. The morning session runs from 8:00 to 12:00, while the afternoon runs from 1:00 to 5:00. After supper the men work together in groups to complete their homework assignments. The classes are demanding, but the brothers are responding well to the challenge. We especially rejoice to see how the brothers are working together so well.

During the past year we had been plagued by rivalry among evangelists. By the end of the first week there was a palpable sense of unity among the brothers. One brother publicly asked for forgiveness for a poor attitude displayed at the beginning of the week.

This opening marks a historic moment in the history of our churches here. Previously I had given all theological and education. However, I was unhappy with the result. We investigated a number of options and finally entered into formal discussion with the Presbyterian Church here. After meeting with various brothers, it became evident that they are indeed Reformed. This observation was confirmed time and again as I sat in the Old Testament class. Coffee break discussions were almost as profitable as the formal class setting. Our local brothers raised questions and concerns that face us as Reformed Christians in an increasingly Pentecostal environment. The visiting professor has had to deal with many of these same concerns in the area he lives and was able to argue convincingly from the Scriptures for the correctness of the Reformed understanding of gifts and worship practice.

Our brothers are further encouraged by the fact that Benjamin Yac is Quiche. As an indigenous man he has struggled to acquire a theological education and presents an excellent role model for our Achi brothers. Occasionally he switches to the Quiche language to explain some key concept.

The day before the classes began the brothers trickled in from the Aldeas. The studies are mandatory for all the lay pastors, but we have opened it up to anyone who wants to study. Currently 10 men are enrolled and we expect 2 or 3 more. I was a bit apprehensive when one brother came in and said that he had brought along the illustrated Children's Bible we handed out at Christmas saying, "I thought this might be helpful..." Thankfully, he picked up the material well! In one of the sessions I had to make use of a globe and give a science lesson. Some of the brothers previously believed that the world was flat. We trust that understanding more of the creation will also impress them with the greatness of our Creator. The Presbyterians work with many indigenous groups and understand the limited education that many have. They also take into account that there is a strong oral tradition.

It is hard to describe the emotions and sense of privilege I felt as we opened up the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith to teach about God. What goes on in the Centro Teologico will largely shape their understand of who God is and how He manifests Himself to us. It is an awesome responsibility and yet it is one that I rejoice in.

Please pray for the Achi brothers as they attend classes and study. The Centro Teologico is playing an important role in preparing nativeleadership. Please remember Professor Benjamin and myself as we teach these brothers from the Word of God.

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