There are various reasons for expecting that a meeting in Argentina dealing with the doctrines of grace would turn out a complete failure. Firstly, there is much ignorance on this subject, among churches and church leaders; and even a lack of interest in historic Christianity.
Secondly, the speaker chosen for this meeting was an unknown pastor from Peru. Thirdly, the place it was held in was a rather run-down mission hall on the outskirts of a Buenos Aires suburb, a considerable distance from the nearest main railway station (a last-minute change forced on the organisers by the original hosts).
But there we were, between 20 and 30 people, all Argentines except for myself and mostly young men; meeting from Thursday through to Sunday evening, including all day Saturday, to deal with the doctrines of grace.
The sessions were not short. Our speaker, Martín Zacarías of Heartcry Mission, who pastors a church in Peru, spoke with clarity on such subjects as the ‘invitation system’ in evangelism, the carnal Christian, the heart of the gospel (which he pointed out is not to make us happy, but establish the justice of God), and the ministry of women.
He answered questions at length. Despite the length of the sessions, the enthusiasm during the weekend did not wane.
Pray for these young men (there were hardly any single girls present). Most of them are single, some from Brethren assemblies, others from Charismatic or Baptist churches.
A few had come quite some distance to the meetings. Many have encountered opposition when they began to share their new-found enthusiasm in their churches.
Some are meeting together for prayer and Bible study on these matters. It is encouraging to see their enthusiasm for evangelism (who said Calvinism isn’t evangelistic?). All have been given a questioning and questing spirit through the ministry of Heartcry.
One of Heartcry’s aims is to nurture an indigenous church leadership and indigenous church planters. It is an ‘enabler’ based on local churches. Its founder, Paul Washer produces videos and audio in Spanish; by some mysterious process known only to God’s Spirit this ministry is bringing young people in Argentina to re-evaluate their faith, question unbiblical practices in their churches, and desire the glory of God above their own happiness. But it is also bypassing those leaders of the churches who are self-satisfied and see no need of reform.
One great strength of the Heartcry movement is that it is indigenous. Most involved here live in the southern suburbs of Buenos Aires, so they are relatively near each other and can maintain contact.
They need wisdom as some of them have even been disciplined by their churches. We cannot say how God will work in the future, but we long to see God raising up Argentine church planters who love the doctrines of grace to form gospel churches. Is this the beginning?