I couldn't believe the witch- hunters brought torches to church.
Efforts were currently underway in Spain to criminally prosecute Catholic Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Plà of the diocese of Alcalá de Henares.
It seems he had the audacity to deliver a homily from the Bible during a Good Friday mass extolling the virtues of the sinless life.
And as bad as this was—reading aloud from the Bible on Good Friday and all— everything he did was acceptable until he included “homosexual behavior” as one of the sins to be avoided.
This brought out the ever-predictable torches-in-hand witch-hunters promoting, above all else, the notion that any and all of criticism of homosexual behavior must be harshly stamped out, and those uttering such blasphemies must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Here we see how “Christian” Spain is coming along! The country boasts of being the third country in the world to legalize gay marriage. Ironically, the bishop under fire comes from the Barcelona region, the number one gay city for the whole of Western Europe!
People say, “But I thought Spain was Catholic!” It was. Today it is under the stranglehold of secularism.
And yet — God is doing a wonderful thing in Spain!
(You’re probably thinking “this better be good.” Yes! Is it fantastic!)
In the early 1980s, we had the greatest number of missionaries that Spain had ever seen — as many as 2,000 of them. We didn’t know it at the time, but our ministry was part of that push to “get missionaries into Spain.” But Spain became “the cemetery for missionaries.” Today, the number of North American missionaries has decreased considerably.
But God has not given up on Spain. In fact, He has used the Spanish government to import an impressive “missionary task force”!
Here’s how it happened:
• Spain’s government discovered that the country has a severe decrease in biological growth of the population — one major byproduct of same-sex marriages.
• Spain’s leaders calculated that their population would lose 10 million people, and the rest of the population would be around 68 years old.
• The highly taxed working class pays for the socialist country’s programs. The country needs a working class to pay for so many retirees on the pension plan.
• The solution was to “import” millions of Latin Americans. These people already speak the language and obviously have ties to Spain. They needed about 10 million such people.
• The genius of the whole ordeal is that 20% of those millions are born again Evangelicals — who are also, characteristically very evangelistic!
I was with the pastor of the largest church in Barcelona, Julio Perez, and he concurred: The reason for the explosive growth in all the Evangelical churches of the country, he said, was due to the influx of Latin American believers looking for churches!
“They are acting as a large missionary force,” he said, “inside the very homes of very influential people in the country.”
I can’t help but think of a brave little girl in the Scriptures in the house of a very influential general....
Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy” (II Kings 5:1-3).
The rest is a beautiful story of redemption for Naaman. The opportune words of an innocent “nobody” brought salvation to Aram!
God is still using every tactic in the book. He is still using every person who will speak and act on the strategic information they have. You and I are part of God’s strategy!
The commission was and is “make disciples by teaching them to obey.” A disciple is not a disciple until he or she is walking in obedience, following the captain.
You and I are to bloom and bear fruit from our position wherever we are: from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, to the ends of the Earth. This is the Great Commission, and orders remain unchanged.