This past week I had the opportunity along with Anthony Mathenia, a member of the HeartCry board, to visit and meet with the leaders of the Martin Bucer Seminary in Brazil, with which HeartCry began a partnership earlier this year. The seminary is located in one of the country’s most prosperous and industrially advanced cities, Sao Jose dos Campos, which is about an hour northwest of the city of Sao Paulo. Our time there was not only helpful in considering how we can further help our Brazilian brothers who are leading the seminary, but was also a great encouragement to us as we were able to meet and spend time with the students and staff.
Present in the classroom were 40 students from all over the country, some having traveled over 1,000 miles to be there for the intensive week of studies. During our week there, the first year students were at the seminary, though there is another class of second year students consisting of around 40 more people. The three-year seminary functions under a modular structure, in which the students are able to study and carry out the majority of course work from their home, allowing them to continue participating in their ministries and jobs at the same time. While most of the course load is done through research and assignments completed away from the seminary campus, there are also two weeks each year of intensive study at the seminary location in Sao Jose dos Campos. During this week, the students are in class almost the entire day, and also spend time daily praying together and reading the Bible. On top of the intensive one-week courses twice a year, the students are also required to attend the “polls” that are conducted one weekend a month in different parts of the country. These are courses that are open not only to the students, but also any other church leaders who would like to attend, with the hope that people from all different denominations will hear and be helped by biblical teaching.
The evangelical situation in Brazil is increasingly encouraging, in that there are people from all different denominations who are hungry for the Word of God and are acknowledging the error of much of the heretical teaching that permeates church buildings throughout the country. Between the idolatrous practices of the Catholic Church in Brazil and the deceitful prosperity Gospel preached in many professing evangelical churches, the true preaching of the Gospel is hard to find in the local church context. However, this seminary serves to show that there is an awakening in the country to sound teaching and a desire to understand the Scriptures. Many of the students have come out of heretical denominations, many of them coming to understand the biblical Gospel through internet preaching, and now desire to plant God-honoring local churches in their hometowns.
The leaders of the seminary have a heart to reach people from all different denominations in Brazil, trusting that through this seminary the Lord will place them in a position to instruct and help people who are coming from many different evangelical backgrounds. Pray that the Lord would bless the efforts of the Martin Bucer Seminary in Sao Jose dos Campos, and that He would grant HeartCry wisdom as we partner with our Brazilian brothers in theological training and the preparation of church leaders.
Luke began working for HeartCry in 2012 after graduating from Virginia Tech. He was raised in Harrisonburg, Virginia and now resides a few hours south in Radford, Virginia with his wife Meghan and their three children. He is the coordinator for the work that HeartCry is involved in throughout Latin America.More By Luke Nash