Seminarian Raul is a student-pastor in Quibdó, Colombia. He serves Our Redeemer Confessional Lutheran Church. Currently, he receives his seminary training by visiting LATTE Professors along with online education while continuing to serve his congregation members.
How did you become a member of the Lutheran Church?
I became a Christian when I was 14 years old as a Baptist. Later we [my fellow Pastor and I] met a Presbyterian pastor with whom we studied and found that we had many doctrinal errors, the main one being that we were teaching salvation by works. Having become aware of this delicate situation, we broke ties with the Baptist church and became Presbyterians. Finally -- thanks to the love, grace and mercy of God for us -- our Pastor, Elkin met two confessional Lutheran pastors of Most Holy Trinity Church in the city of Medellín. God used them to teach us true Biblical doctrine, and thus we realized that even as Presbyterians, we still had subtle doctrinal errors, for example: the belief that salvation can not be lost, that once a person is saved, he is always saved, that God has to save even if someone lives in impenitence.
The truth is that it was very hard for us. We were worried. We had already been the objects of false doctrines on many occasions, and at first we were afraid that the confessional Lutherans would also teach false doctrine. But God, in his Word, through a long process, taught us that they were really teaching the true doctrine, which we checked and confirmed with the Bible open. We were convinced, since the truth prevails and the lie is defeated. From that moment we identified ourselves with Lutheran teachings, confirming that they were Biblical, and of course we identified ourselves with confessional Lutherans. We began to study with Pastor Henry, and were later confirmed "en masse". We have been confessional Lutherans for about three years now. Our congregation in Quibdó, Chocó, Colombia is called Christ Our Redeemer Confessional Lutheran Church. We have more than 40 members including adults and children, plus regular visitors.
How does your training in the seminary influence your ministry?
My training in the seminary does not affect my ministry negatively at all. To the contrary, it affects me positively, since currently I am a co-pastor in my church, teacher for an adult Bible study, and an evangelist. The training is a great blessing for me and very useful because it enriches my knowledge of God's Word, providing me with new knowledge, and reinforcing what I have already learned so that I can offer better service to God. Even though the instruction is very demanding, I thank God because he has strengthened me and kept me balanced. It is my desire that he continue to help me in this way.