What is the Church in Cuba like? Well, in the last 30 years it has been growing fast – which we want to thank God for! However, government restrictions mean that it’s impossible to rent, buy or build any room for church services. Instead, small groups meet in believers’ homes and are led by pastors that have no formal training. Some church buildings do remain from before the 1959 Revolution, but their pastors are more ‘traditional’ in their thinking. All this means that each community in Cuba will have a combination of a few big churches alongside lots of small house churches.
In recent years there has been a hunger to go deeper into God’s word and some Christians have followed the movement towards reformed theology. However, these believers are not allowed to plant new churches, as all churches in Cuba must be affiliated to a traditional Christian denomination. Sadly, we are seeing a lot of persecution from traditional denominations against believers who sympathise with reformed theology. The Cuban mindset is that everybody has to think in the same way.
One Baptist pastor was expelled from his church two months ago because he embraced reformed theology. This meant that he no longer had any legal protection to serve as a church minister. Another pastor in a similar ‘traditional’ church is on the point of resigning because of his reformed beliefs. Four brothers who used to teach at bible seminaries in Cuba have had to leave their jobs for the same reason.
Despite this, right now I think the greatest need for the Church here is to delve deeper into the Bible and recover the gospel we have lost. Gospel believers need to learn to stand together, accepting small differences for the sake of making the true gospel known.
People ask me what the Church in Cuba can teach the Church in Europe. I think they could learn that a life of joy is possible even when the environment is so difficult. We face a very difficult economic, social and political environment in Cuba but, through this, God has supported us. Many Christians face very basic problems such as getting enough food or clothing to live on – much of society resorts to corruption in order to survive. But Christians here have seen that God is a great provider!
Please pray for the true gospel to continue spreading through the Church in Cuba. Pray for understanding and wisdom for those leading the different Christians denominations. Pray for unity within the Church so that we can all continue preaching the word of God together.
Your brother in Christ,
Alexis Pérez works for Prédica Fiel, travelling around Cuba delivering three-day courses to church pastors.
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