Friday, March 31, 2006

Here is the second article which I wrote, entitled "Spain: The Seeds Of Revival." Again, this was written about 5 months ago, shortly after entering into Jerez De La Frontera.

“…Phillip considered himself as ordained by God as “His Catholic Majesty,” and also as special paladin to defend the faith in the way that he, God-inspired, considered most appropriate.… Philip in his own words, ‘would rather not rule at all if he had to rule over a nation of heretics.’ …Gone were the days when Erasmus, once the friend of Charles V could be admired in Spain. Gone was the right to use freely man’s God given and inquiring mind. Spain was sunken now in an ossified dogmatism from which the nation has not even yet recovered.”
Excerpt from “Spain: The Root And The Flower, by John A. Crow

When I read the preceding comments, my heart was burdened under the weight of heaviness. This person, King Philip II lived over 500 years ago, and yet the seeds of his intolerance of protestantism is still felt to this day! In our first month, we have come to a realization that this nation has been under an incredible spell for the last 500 years. Today it is alive in the form of antiquated catholic buildings, which look more like shrines than cathedrals, dotting the city landscape. Everywhere one drives, images of the virgin Mary and of a suffering Jesus are the predominant thematic elements.

One can also see this manifested in the faces of skepticism and mistrust that are worn on the faces of many Spaniards. It takes only a few conversations to come to the surface, that basic instinct that has been bred in the Spanish heart, to believe that anything non-catholic is intrinsicly wrong. This has happened several times, especially after being seen in the company of Pastor Carlos, protestant extraordinaire!

This has been an uphill fight in our minds. Everyday we look around at the culture and the city which has been conquered by Catholicism and we wonder: Where is the hope? And then I read the following excerpt from the same book:

“Spain was not a unique case when it came to religious intolerance during the Golden Age. However, Spain is a unique case when it comes to how long this intolerance lasted. The inquisition itself was not abolished until 1820, and at the time the first edition of this book came out, in 1963, there was no religious freedom for non-Catholics in Spain.” Ibid, pg.182

This got me thinking: When was freedom declared for expression of religion here in Spain? When General Franco died in 1975, freedom of religion was granted, though this was obviously not necessarily encouraged. What this means is that 30 years have passed in indifference and mistrust of the Protestant Church. This is the first generation of freedom. Much like the first generation of the church of Acts, there is much more that has to be undone than done!

What makes me think that this is the time for spiritual breakthrough and renewal in Spain? Consider these facts:

• This church in Jerez and her leadership have gone through an incredible time of testing over the last 2 years. The bigger the testing, the greater the blessing!

• There are more than 12 missionaries moving into Spain as I write that I know of, which means there are several others that I must not know of! God is getting His pieces in place!

Couple that with a generation of people who have grown up in a vaccum of spiritual reality and you have a recipe for a time of great renewal.

I am hopeful, especially in the Youth who are lost in their disillusionment of the religious establishment and have turned more toward Atheism. This could be the time that the Lord, who with His love and grace, finally begins to conquer Spain. May it happen in our time and may we be useful tools in His hands.

Blessings To The Friends Of Spain,
Frank Sanchez

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