ADVERTISING
 
Monday, May 20   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
The future of Europe
Should Christians vote in the European Parliament election in May 2019?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Colombia-FARC
 

The difficult path to peace in Colombia

The agreement between the government and the FARC is celebrated by many, but also criticised. Evangelicals have divergent views but are willing to get involved in the reconciliation process and to work for lasting peace.

SOURCES Protestante Digital, Evangelical Focus AUTHOR Daniel Hofkamp TRANSLATOR Belén Díaz BOGOTÁ 31 AUGUST 2016 15:19 h GMT+1
Colombian society asks for peace.

The peace agreement signed in Havana by the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, and the main guerrilla group, the FARC, puts an end to an armed conflict that has lasted over 50 years and has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.



Therefore, it is not strange to see a diversity of reactions caused by the announcememt. Despite the joy of many, who understand this step as a way to end a conflict - which, however, would remain with other guerrilla groups like the ELN - there is also some disappointment with the terms of the agreement.



This sentimental and rational polarization can be seen in politics, in the positions of President Santos and his predecessor Alvaro Uribe, the most visible opponent of the process; and it is also present in society. Lawyer and expert on the conflict Almudena Bernabeu explained it in an article for newspaper El Mundo: "The closer we come to the final signing of the peace, the Colombian society will become more polarized."



Leading the opposition is Uribe´s party, the Democratic Front, which is asking for the "No" in the upcoming referendum to be held on October 3, where the people will express their views on the agreement signed by Juan Manuel Santos.



"We are not against peace, the question cannot be whether or not we want peace, or include the word peace, that is not in question. We disagree with the contents", said Uribe, knowing that they start from a difficult position, in a country where the latest polls show that 65-70% of Colombians would support the agreement at this point.



 



Santos and Timochenko after the signing of the agreement in Havana.



 



EVANGELICALS: HOPE AND PRUDENCE



In general, evangelical Christians have expressed their joy for the progress of the peace talks. But they have also highlighted aspects of the agreements they considered worrisome.



"I feel optimistic, but also see ambiguity and challenge", explains to Protestante Digital Jeferson Rodriguez, coordinator of the Latin American Theological Fraternity in Bogotá. "It's a new beginning for Colombia, hoping to have a new time without the weapons absolutely defining everything in our country", adds Rodriguez. He organised a university congress in October to address the theme of reconciliation from a Christian perspective.



The President of the Evangelical Confederation of Colombia, Edgar Castaño Diaz, is less enthusiastic. Castaño encourages Christians to "participate" in the referendum, "accompanying the decision with prayer, study, knowledge on the subject, always looking for information that enables us to vote consciously."



In the statement released last Friday, he made it clear that "peace is characteristic of the nature of the Christian church. This should lead us to differentiate between peace and endorsing the Havana agreements. We invite you to consider this difference and vote what the Spirit inspires you to be the best decision for the welfare of our nation."



According to Michael Gowen, an expert in international politics, "things in Colombia are generally not as clear as it seems", pointing out that the path to peace will be difficult: “There are a host of tantalisingly difficult issues to resolve. Where will the demobilised fighters live? Will they all be put together in one community, a strategy which has proved disastrous in the past?"



 



NOT JUST POLITICAL PROSELYTISM



Gowen continues, "Will ordinary people tolerate them coming to live in their communities, especially if they suspect that they have killed their friends or family members? (…) Who will receive an amnesty and who will be tried in court? How will families find out the truth about the disappearance of their loved ones?”



These are some of the questions that the Colombian society is asking these days. For Jeferson Rodriguez, evangelicals are not and cannot be oblivious to it and should take an active role, "not just with political proselytism, or being worried about having political leaders in power positions."



 



Peace demonstration in Bogota



 



CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE AGENTS OF RECONCILIATION



Traditionally, evangelicals have been less active in social or political issues than the Catholic Church, except for some minority denominations such as the Mennonites, Lutherans or the Reformed churches.



However, the development of the peace negotiations are opening new approaches. "I was pleasantly surprised to know that the Assemblies of God in Colombia will organize a commission for reconciliation and peace issues, which will be representative before the government and the insurgency in all matters relating to the peace talks. These are important steps", said Rodríguez.



But not only social distance is an obstacle: “We - Christians- are the ones who should be setting the agenda, through prayer and selfless service”, says Gowen, “but there are a number of factors which seriously limit the effectiveness of the church in Colombia. Probably the biggest is the lack of unity which is evident in many parts of the country. I meet many Colombian Christians who long for greater unity in the body of Christ in their country; but it must be the church leaders, the pastors, the priests, the bishops who take the lead in this. Thank God that some are; but there is a long way to go.”



It is in this uncertain and difficult path, where evangelicals can be peacemakers, Rodriguez stresses that "our experiences of reconciliation in churches are experiences we can use to assist in post-conflict areas."



Among the challenges listed by Jeferson Rodriguez, would be "contributing with our presence, our knowledge, our thoughts and our local initiatives seeking peace with the ELN", which would be necessary to finish the armed conflict definitely.



Gowen warns that in these processes is easy to fall "into cynicism or despair". “How easy it is to look at the ceasefire agreement and say, ‘We’ve seen it all before. Nothing will come of it.’ Maybe. But surely we, as Christians, are called to be bearers of hope.”


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - The difficult path to peace in Colombia
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals

After many years of labour, the Association of Evangelicals in Africa officially opened its new centre in Nairobi, Kenya. “Africa, your time has come!”, said the World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Efraim Tendero.

 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
VIDEO Video
 
What prevents us from making disciples who make disciples? What prevents us from making disciples who make disciples?

An answer by Josef Pavlinak, Director of Integrity Life.

 
A call to prayer from the streets of Venezuela A call to prayer from the streets of Venezuela

In the midst of the turmoil in Venezuela, Pastor Carlos Vielma, Vice President of the Union of Christian Churches of Venezuela, sent out an urgent plea for Christians everywhere to pray.

 
Romania: God’s Word among Roma people Romania: God’s Word among Roma people

Gypsies are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Romania. According to 2013 estimates, the Roma groups make up 10% of the country's population, accounting for about 1.5 million people.

 
 
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.