Anthony DiLiberto VolunteerEngaged Coordinator, Perú Missionary, Perú Globally in Outreach 1 800 433 3954
El Cuy Times Anthony.DiLiberto@lcms.org
A Counterfeit Gospel According to a recent TIME article entitled, How Peru Became the World’s Counterfeit Capital, “In the past two years, Peru has become the No. 1 distributor of counterfeit currency internationally.”* Lutheran World Relief Visit (10/4)
“Team Luterano” We Run Lima 10 K (10/6)
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” Colossians 2:8
Counterfeit currency isn’t the only type of fraud I’ve encountered since I began my missionary service here two years ago. It’s not the most serious kind either. The closer I study the religious landscape in Latin America, and particulary here in Peru, the easier it has become to recognize a fake gospel when I see one. Approximately $33 million dollars of counterfeit cash has been seized since 2009, says Kenneth Jenkins of the Secret Service’s Criminal Investigative Division. I can’t help but wonder, however, the amount of Peruvians that are being ripped off by the “prosperity gospel” that too often characterizes the Pentecostal preaching so prevalent all throughout Latin America. I can’t help but wonder how many Peruvians have been dooped into believing that praying to the statues of the saints or the Virgin Mary somehow isn’t idolatry. I can’t help but wonder how many Peruvians have fallen into the traps of non-Christian sects like the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The cambista (the Peruvian Spanish term used for currency-changers that
Volume 1 ● Issue 1 ● Anthony.Diliberto@lcms.org
line the streets of the capital city) on the closest corner will gladly teach you how to spot a fraudulent bill. They’ll teach you where to rub you’re finger in search of a slight perforation that’s difficult to duplicate. They’ll show you the watermark that only appears when you hold the bill up to the light. In short, they’ll teach you all you need to know in order to tell a real from a fake. What the average cambista won’t teach you, however, is how to put religious teaching to the test. The information they share might help you save money (or avoid run-ins with the local policia), but they don’t typically offer any advice on “test[ing] the spirits, to see whether they are from God.” (1 John 4:1, NIV). Money counterfeiting is such a serious crime because of the far-reaching effects it has on a nation’s economy. The more fake cash there is floating around, the less valuable the true currency becomes. In the same way, any religious teaching that puts an emphasis on what man does to earn God’s favor automatically discounts what God has already done for us (namely, Jesus’ death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins). Paying tribute to the saints might seem like a pretty harmless activity, but these sorts of practices are the marks of a counterfeit. For if God’s favor could be won by parading statues of saints around town, why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
I may not stand on street corners changing currency, but I do consider myself a cambista. For as long as the sufficiency of Jesus’ death on the cross for the forgiveness of sins is being discounted by popular religious beliefs or the dogma of human institutions, I’ll be doing my best to teach those I serve about how to tell the difference between a real gospel and a fake one. You too, brothers and sisters have been called to proclaim Christ crucified and the free gift of grace only he can offer!
Mission Update November was a busy month of relationship building and strategic mission planning in Peru. It’s an exciting time for LCMS mission work here, as we begin to move from shortterm missions based ministry and towards gathering believers together around the Word and moving towards planting a church. My teammate Katie continues to build relationships while she teachs EFL courses at the Training Center in Uchupampa. We plan on extending the program sometime at the beginning of next year. Jamie has been busy making important contacts and preparing for the short-term mission teams we will be hosting throughout 2011. I finally began working towards fulfilling my DCE (Director of Christian Education) internship requirements, and hope to be finished sometime in August of 2011. I’ve also been busy leading the bi-weekly Bible study we’ve been hosting, and getting ready for my trip home in December.
Please Pray… for Pastor Mark Eisold and his family as they continue to raise support and prepare for their ministry in Peru. for wisdom and discernment for the Peru Mission team as we plan for short-term missions in 2011. for the Bible study group that is beginning to meet every other Wednesday. Pray that the Word of God would not come back void, that the Peru Mission Team would always clearly communicate Christ, and Him crucified for the forgiveness of our sins.
Support To support my work financially, you may send a tax-deductible gift to: LCMS World Mission, 1333 S. Kirkwood Rd., St. Louis, MO 63122-7295. Make checks payable to LCMS World Mission. Mark checks “Support of Anthony DiLiberto.” Gifts can also be given securely online through the LCMS World Mission web site on my project page: www.lcms.org?13583 or www.lcmsworldmission.org www.lcmsworldmission.org/prayercards
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According to a recent TIME article, Peru is the No. 1 distributor of counterfeit money, but money isn't the only fraudelent activity taking...