If you live in the United States or Europe, you’ve probably heard news about Colombia: drug dealers, rebel communist groups, killings. But it is unlikely that you’ve heard about the revival in Christian churches in Colombia and its social impact on the people of the country. The international media is not interested in those issues.
Colombia has been a Roman Catholic country, but things are changing. In 1981, for example, 96% of the population was Catholic and less than 1% were evangelicals. Today, an estimated 10–20% (3.5–7 million) of Colombians are evangelical Christians, and local churches are seeing hundreds of conversions each week. Certainly “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).
But while violence and financial problems are driving people to seek God, our educational institutions and mass media are teaching evolution as an established fact, carrying with it a rejection of the Bible and Christian ethics. Every day, Christian students find themselves in a dilemma between what their teachers say in class and what their pastors preach at church. For many years, there weren’t answers to the questions of the skeptics, and as a result a great majority of Christian leaders and pastors took compromising positions about the book of Genesis (e.g. the “gap” theory and the “day-age” theory). Until now.
Over a year ago, I volunteered (through email) to translate into Spanish some articles for AiG’s Spanish website. Back then I didn’t know what I was getting into: the starting point of a ministry that’s growing and impacting many people in my city (Medellín). Always interested in apologetics, I developed a project for an apologetics department in my local church, and we gave it a name, Young Planet. We bought 200 Creation magazines in Spanish and 400 booklets (e.g., Dinosaurs and the Bible) and started to offer them in Christian bookstores and churches. I built up a website and translated more articles, even the overheads that Ken Ham uses in his talks (and me too!).
The objective of Young Planet is to proclaim the biblical truths about creation and the age of our planet to assist the growth, edification, and defense of the body of Christ, using several different strategies.
One strategy is to tell young people (i.e., students) why they can trust the Genesis record about origins, instead of evolution. On April 7, 2001, Young Planet entered the University of Antioquia to do that. More than one hundred people met in the auditorium of the university museum to hear the seminar “Science, Creation and Evolution” and each participant received a copy of the book Piedras y Huesos (Stones and Bones) by Dr. Carl Wieland. We taught the relevance of the book of Genesis and the importance of starting all thinking with the Bible. Through videos, photographs, and easy-to-understand explanations, the attendants were confronted with the scientific evidence for creation and against evolution.
Another strategy is to offer seminars and apologetic workshops for churches. We had the opportunity, through the Pastors Association of Medellín, to present the ministry and the vision of Young Planet to nearly 200 pastors and leaders of the city. Thanks to a donation by AiG, we handed out free copies of Ken Ham’s book, Evangelismo para el Nuevo Milenio (Why Won’t They Listen) and Creación magazine. As a result of that meeting, we are constantly receiving invitations to teach and give talks on creation science.
We also led a study group for six months, and the ones who attended are now teaching others what they learned about science and the Bible. Very often I receive calls or emails from people who want to have creation resources or talks at their churches, schools, and universities. I also receive many testimonies, like this one:
I went to the seminar “Science, Creation and Evolution,” and I give it a 5.0. Through this seminar I could resolve many doubts I had about these issues that were confronting my faith. It has been like a rest time from questions, and I got very solid tools to defend my faith (by the way I already had the opportunity to do an exposition in the university about religion and its origins). What I learned in the seminar was very useful.
We are now engaged in the translation into Spanish of Answers in Genesis resources, and I am currently working on Dr. Russell Humphreys’ book Starlight and Time. We are looking forward to airing a radio program on several radio stations in the city, distributing Creation magazine across the country and creating creation clubs in several universities.
Creation evangelism works in Colombia, and soon we’ll see it in all Latin America!