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Submitted by Reverend Linda Hanson, Global Ministries missionary serving at the Theological Community of Honduras, where she is a professor.
Rosa Lillian is a member of a conservative Pentecostal church in the capital city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. She lives only three blocks from the Theological Community of Honduras and began studying this year. As she tells it, she was anxious to study God’s word at a greater depth, and was studying at a local theological institute in her church. But, after a year, the church decided to repeat the first year of studies instead of allowing those already in the program to advance. Frustrated, she was walking home and saw the sign that said, Universidad in front of the Theological Community. When she discovered that through the Latin American Bible University of Costa Rica we were an accredited university she began studying immediately.
Rosa Lillian teaches school at a small bilingual Christian elementary school. She has been offered advanced positions already because of having taken courses at university level in theology. She is studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Bible and wants to someday teach Bible to adults in a seminary.
But Rosa Lillian has faced opposition for her studies. Her church believes that the ideas she is learning at the Theological Community are “too radical.” They have placed her “under discipline” for studying with us. This requires her to sit in the back pew at church, and disallows her from participating as a Sunday school teacher, member of the choir, or worship leader, all roles she previously held. She is also not allowed to participate in communion. But, she persists in her studies. One of her homework assignments required her to discuss Christian education in the church with her pastor. We were prepared to exempt her from the assignment, but undeterred she bravely went to talk to her pastor.
Rosa Lillian tells us that the theology we teach is unlike any she has heard before. She says she understands why it is called liberation theology. She talks about how important it was for her to hear alternative interpretations of the Bible that value women and the gifts they can give to the church. She discusses how she often hears theology in her church, especially prosperity theology, that no longer sits well with her. She is unsure what she will do about her church membership, the church where she was raised and baptized. But, she says, she is sure that she will continue studying at the CTEH where she has encountered a life-giving, liberating word of God.
More about this project: Theological Community of Honduras