Baptist World Alliance
Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
July 30, 2010
For Immediate Release
good news, proclaim freedom, seminary president urges Baptists
|Honolulu (BWA) --
Christ's good news and proclaim freedom, seminary president Pablo Deiros
challenged participants at the 20th Baptist World Congress in Honolulu July 29. |
Baptists, we need to realize the proclamation of the good news is the central
task of the church," stressed Deiros, president of International Baptist
Theological Seminary in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "There is no church without
this proclamation. And there is no other mission for the church than to
proclaim Jesus as Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit."
Christians take their mandate from the
testimony of Jesus recorded in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Deiros
said, quoting, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to
preach good news, ... he has sent me to proclaim freedom."
news is the most sublime of all ministries," he asserted. "It was the highest
priority of the apostles, as it was in our Lord's own ministry.
of reconciliation [to God] should be the fundamental task in the ministry of
every Christian who wants to serve with integrity. We are called to be
'preachers of good news.'"
supremely important for the church and the measure by which it is tested,
Deiros said. "This task is not just one of many other religious activities of
the church, but it is the criterion for all its activities."
The authority for
preaching comes directly from God, he added. For example, the apostles
considered their preaching to have come directly from Jesus.
today around the world, we need to recover this confidence," he insisted. "We
need to grow in the conviction that we are not representing ourselves before
the world, but we are facing the world in the name of Christ the Lord and with
his authority and power."
That power is
doubled, because "it comes from the Holy Spirit, and it manifests itself
through the Word of God."
The source of
that power is not mechanical repetition of the Bible, but the Holy Spirit, who
inspired the Bible and inspires proclamation today, he said.
unbelieving, agnostic and relativistic world, we need to cling not to the power
of our eloquence or rhetorical resources, but to the power of the Word we
proclaim," he explained. "It is time for us to take this truth seriously and to
stand firm before the world and the church with a message that is not the
expression of our invectiveness or ingenuity, but 'is the power of God for the
salvation of everyone who believes.'"
follow Jesus, they must not only preach, but also proclaim freedom, Deiros
"In a world sunk
in dungeons of darkness, with chains binding minds, hearts and hands, we are
given the unique task of proclaiming freedom," he said. "We are the announcers
of a gospel that is light to quench any dark thoughts, it is love to heal any
broken heart, and it is power to release any bondage of sin."
In order to
proclaim freedom, however, Christians themselves must be free, he noted. That
extends beyond basic salvation to embrace sanctification-committing their lives
to become more and more like Christ.
that was not always true for him. "I used to serve the Lord in the power of the
flesh and with increasing bindings entangling my life and ministry," he
acknowledged, noting he considered leaving the ministry. "I knew I was saved,
but my sins did not allow me to grow in Christ and to be filled with the Holy
Spirit to serve him with power and authority."
But on an Easter
afternoon, with his sins parading before his eyes, Deiros repented and pleaded
with God for forgiveness. That experience freed him to announce God's plan for
freedom to others, he said.
proclaiming freedom, Christians must be agents of freedom, he added. That means
seeking justice and freedom for others.
"In the name of
Jesus and with the power of his Holy Spirit, we have to go to the world and
proclaim and work out freedom in the midst of social injustice, political
oppression, economic corruption, religious confusion and cultural relativism,"
he said. "Our proclamation of freedom should target both the liberation of
individual sinners from sin and the liberation of human society from injustice
Christians who proclaim freedom will point people back to Jesus Christ, he
"There is no true
freedom outside Jesus Christ," he said. "He is the Liberator, the Redeemer of
all humankind. The only hope of freedom to our world is in him."
Knox is editor of Texas'