ADVERTISING
 
Sunday, May 27   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
State and Religion
Should religious symbols be displayed in buildings of the public administration?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Fidel Castro
 

The night that the gospel was preached to Fidel Castro

The evangelical theologian Juan Stam relates an unusual encounter that happened in 2002, in Havana, between a group of Protestant pastors and Fidel Castro.

SOURCES Action Cuba, Protestante Digital AUTHOR Evangelical Focus Cuba 28 NOVEMBER 2016 17:40 h GMT+1
Fidel Castro has died this November 25, at age 90.

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has died this November 25, at age 90. Fidel Castro was the last survivor of the Cold War, and probably one of the most important political personalities of the 20th century.

He started his political career on January 1, 1959 after overthrowing the Batista regime. His influence on the Caribbean island never disappeared, not even when a disease removed him from the government in 2006.

With the title "The night I taught the Apocalypse to Fidel Castro," evangelical theologian Juan Stam recounts an unusual encounter that happened in 2002 in Cuba between a group of Protestant pastors and Fidel Castro.



 



The night John Stam taught Fidel Castro about the book of Revelation Juan Stam



It was October of 2002 and I found myself in Havana participating in a theological conference on the Protestant Reformation. One night, after the day's session had concluded, our leader asked us all to sit down because he had an announcement to make. Fidel Castro had invited us for an interview that same night, from eleven o´clock until two in the morning.



We entered the room, greeted Fidel, and took pictures. The room was quite long but very narrow and I ended up sitting at the far end.



At first, Fidel spoke quietly and I couldn´t hear very well.  But suddenly I realized that Fidel was asking about the Apocalypse: “You who are pastors”, he said, “How do you understand the book of Revelation”. 



It appeared that he had been reading it.  With a great amount of respect he asked us, “What about human rights, when so many people are killed that it seems like genocide? And how can the destruction of forests and oceans be explained ecologically?”  They were good questions, but difficult ones, and Fidel was waiting for an answer.



Since some of the group knew about my writings on Revelation, they told Fidel, “Well, Fidel, there is someone who can clear things up for you”.  I had never expected to be in that situation but suddenly I had the ball at my feet, so it was time to see if a “Holy Spirit goal” could be scored, as our dear friend Pablo Richard likes to say.



I sent off a prayer to the All Powerful One, tried to organize my thoughts, and started answering his questions.



As the word “apocalypse” has a bad reputation, I started by clarifying to Fidel that the word doesn´t mean catastrophe, disaster, or calamity, but rather “the manifestation (the meaning of “Apocalypse”) of hope in Christ Jesus”.  Fidel was surprised and remarked, “So there is a semantic problem with that term”.  Exactly!  I could see I had a good student.



Afterwards, I pointed out that most of Revelation is visions, and one must know how to interpret visions.  They can be literal and refer to the future, but not necessarily, and not always.  But they are always messages from God to the godless, calling them to conversion.  That is why the book says several times, after some very intense visions, “but they refused to repent”.



Many visions, like the ones where a third of the forests are burned, the water is converted to blood, or a third of all humanity is killed, are not predictions of things God will do in the future.  Instead, they are a wake up call.



I ended my answer by pointing out the strong criticism that John of Patmos makes against the Roman Empire, above all for its economic injustices, its bloody militarism, and its idolatry.



I had written a lot about that, and now I felt that God had been preparing me to tell it to one of the most important people of our time, through this unexpected opportunity.



When I finished the explanation, Fidel remarked, “You are quite right, I see that the Jesuits taught me incorrectly about the Apocalypse”. (This last comment was said jokingly, as he had studied with the Jesuits).



About halfway through the interview we shared with Fidel about our faith in the God of love, of life, and of justice.  Many atheists, we said, are rejecting a fake “god”, who is not the true God.



To which Fidel responded, “Of course faith is a personal matter that must be born in the conscience of every person.  But atheism shouldn´t be used as a rallying cry”.



Around two in the morning, Fidel apologized as he had another commitment, but he said he had one last question: “I see that you are evangelicals.  Explain what that means, who knows, I might be one without knowing it”.



Our leader, Israel Batista, didn´t waste such a timely invitation.  He was up to the challenge and presented the gospel in terms that Fidel would understand well.  At the end of his presentation he suggested that we stand to pray.  Fidel stood up as well, and Israel lead us in prayer.



Upon leaving the room, members of Fidel´s party asked me to send writings on the subject and assured me that Fidel would read them. The next day we had the traditional visit with the government´s director of religious relations, a Mr. Balaguer, who started the session by remarking, “I was told that you had a very interesting conversation last night on the Apocalypse, and I have a question as well”. I think that all of this is representative of the great interest in the Apocalypse, and in the word of God in general.



Translated into English by Action Cuba, read in original Spanish here.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - The night that the gospel was preached to Fidel Castro
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
What are the cultural roots of the transgender movement? What are the cultural roots of the transgender movement?

Peter Saunders, CEO of the Christian Medical Fellowship (UK) summarises>the philosophical framework that made the transgender movement so popular.

 
Pitfalls that Christian artists should avoid Pitfalls that Christian artists should avoid

Delta David Gier, Conductor and Music Director, on some of the dangers for artists.

 
Why are Christian leaders particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation? Why are Christian leaders particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation?

“The reasons why somebody might have sex with a prostitute are very different from the reasons why somebody might want to have an affair with a member of their congregation”. An analysis by John Stevens, National Director of FIEC (UK).

 
Be safe on social media Be safe on social media

A video about the way traffickers target teenage girls online, produced by anti-slavery gorup Abolishion.

 
In Mission In Mission

A 360º lyric video about how all followers of Jesus Christ are called to serve God. Duo in Spanish (Alex Sampedro) and Portuguese (Marcos Martins).

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.