Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Faith of Puerto Rico


Although the LCMS has branched out in a variety of international ways, there is only one of our congregations in Puerto Rico, on the west side in Mayagüez. We have had volunteer missionaries from Iowa, Michigan, and Indiana sent there in the 90's. And, we supplied them with funds for relief when the hurricane in 98. But, since then they have been mainly on their own. It's a place I've always hoped to visit.
Although, the LCMS may not have a strong presence through-out the territory, there is a strong amount of Roman Catholic and Baptist residence.


Further east from Mayagüez (about 2hrs away), on the north side of the Island, William Lane Craig has recently visited the city of San Juan:

"Dear Friends of Reasonable Faith,

The month of February began with my big debate with Alex Rosenberg at Purdue University and ended with my flying off to Vancouver, British Columbia... In between Jan [his wife] and I traveled to Puerto Rico, where I was the plenary speaker at an apologetics conference in San Juan.

We had never visited Puerto Rico before, and what we discovered was an island paradise with a rich Spanish cultural heritage. After 400 years of Spanish rule, the United States acquired Puerto Rico in 1898 as a result of the Spanish-American War. So Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and most would like to see Puerto Rico become the 51st state in the union. The Christian faith is strong on the island, not only traditional Roman Catholicism but a surging evangelical Protestantism. At the urging of Pastor Israel Santos, who has attended a number of the apologetics conferences of the Evangelical Philosophical Society in United States, the Southern Baptists invited us to Puerto Rico to serve as the plenary speaker at an apologetics conference aimed at equipping Christians there in the defense of the faith.


Several hundred people from all over the island came to this weekend conference. Especially striking was the number of conferees in their 20s or younger. Pastor Santos delighted in telling us that although most of the pastors had not heard of us, their own teenagers, who had been following the videos of my debates and conferences on YouTube, were incredibly excited about our coming to Puerto Rico. We heard wonderful testimonies from them about how God has used the ministry of Reasonable Faith to help preserve their Christian faith in the face of the onslaught of today's secular culture.

I spoke three times to the conference on “The Absurdity of Life without God,” “Evidence for the Existence of God,” and “Evidence for the Historicity of Jesus' Resurrection.” The three plenary talks thus provided attendees with the framework of a positive apologetic for the truth of the Christian faith. Workshops from other speakers rounded out the conference. Then on the Sunday morning after the conference I spoke in Pastor Santos' church, Iglesia Bautista Nazaret, on “The Evidence for Christianity.” We had a wonderful time and greatly enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of these enthusiastic Christian brethren. All my lectures were translated simultaneously into Spanish, and so we hope that the videos of these talks, once they are placed on YouTube, will be especially helpful to Spanish speakers throughout Latin America and elsewhere...

Thank you to all of you for your prayers that sustain us in this ministry!

For Christ and His Kingdom,

Bill & Jan"

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