Five hundred years ago this year, Desiderius Erasmus
published the first edition of His Greek New Testament. Interest in returning ad fontes (“back to the sources”) had been growing. Greek and
Hebrew was becoming more accessible, the printing press was humming along, and translations
of the New Testament in German, English, Spanish, Russian and other languages
would soon be available to milkmaids and ministers alike. As God’s people had
direct access to the Word of God, the church was transformed. One of the cries
of the Reformation, After Darkness,
Light! Captured the joyful relief people experienced at having Scripture at
hand. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Ps. 119:105).
Because the Word transforms our lives, the leaders at the
Escola de Pastores da Primeira Igreja Batista de Atibaia (EPPIBA), near Sao
Paulo, Brazil, wanted to train shepherds who preached their way through the
Bible, text by text. They invited Trainings Leaders International to partner
with them in their church-based seminary.
It is for this reason that my colleague, Jim Jordan, and I
are here. We are teaching the final two modules (Psalms, and God-centered
Ethics, respectively) that the inaugural class at EPPIBA will take in their
four year Master of Divinity program. After they graduate, the men will scatter
across Brazil to take up their ministries.
These students show a deep love for the Word, remarkable
theological grounding, and a growing pastoral wisdom. I know how my own life
was transformed when I began to attend a church committed to expository
preaching. So I cannot quite communicate my joyful anticipation to see how God
will use these men to bless this nation for their joy, and His glory. What a
privilege to have a small part in it!