Cesar occasionally returns to the U.S. and is available to visit congregations. Email him to extend an invitation to visit your congregation or organization.
About César’s ministry
César G. Carhuachín teaches at the Reformed University of Colombia, the country’s first Protestant university. He has been called to teach biblical studies and theology in the university’s School of Theology, which has its roots in the Seminario Teologico Presbiteriano y Reformado de la Gran Colombia. Founded in the early 1980s to train clergy for the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, the seminary became part of the university when the university was formed in 2002. The School of Theology stresses the study of the Bible in the original languages and seeks to integrate all theological study into the context of Colombian society. Today students from various Protestant traditions study at the school.
Though Colombia is rich in natural resources, Colombian society is highly stratified. The families with Spanish origins hold a much greater share of the country’s wealth than the majority, multi-racial and Indigenous families. Colombia has endured almost a half-century of civil war. The conflict includes clashes between left-wing guerilla groups and military forces. Right-wing paramilitary groups backed by some elements in the army and the police are also active. Both the guerilla groups and the paramilitary have been accused of involvement in drug trafficking. Human rights advocates and religious workers who speak on behalf of the millions of poor people displaced by the conflict are often the targets of violence.
The Presbyterian Church of Colombia, which has spoken out against the violence, traces its beginning to the work of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) missionaries. The first Presbyterian congregation in Colombia was founded in Bogotá in 1856. About 90 percent of Colombia’s 44 million people are Roman Catholic.
Although the Colombian government signed a historical Peace agreement with FARC (Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces) in 2016, the violence done by unknown groups and some guerrilla people continues. Work for a peaceful society by politicians, social leaders and faith community leaders is necessary.
César has invested his life in crossing boundaries to share the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ. “I received the call of the Lord to the Christian ministry when I was 15 years old,” César says. His young life was shaped by mission trips that took him to places beyond his native city of Lima, Peru. “Those experiences gave me a new vision and understanding of ministry,” he says. “I realized that I could serve God, not just in my home church and city, but out of them as well.”
César’s preparation for ministry took him beyond the borders of Peru. After beginning theological studies in Lima, he moved to Argentina, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in theology from the International Baptist Theological Seminary of Buenos Aires. He also received a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina. After serving congregations in Argentina, he was invited in 1998 to come to Charlotte, N.C., to begin a Hispanic ministry at Hickory Grove Baptist Church.
The Hispanic ministry flourished, and after seven and a half years, the congregation numbered 350 members. César sensed a call to cross a denominational boundary. He was ordained as a PC(USA) teaching elder in 2006 and named coordinator of Hispanic/Latino ministries of the Presbytery of Charlotte, supporting Hispanic/Latino outreach.
In 2012, César sensed God’s hand leading him back to South America to serve the people of Colombia. Immersing himself in the complex social reality of this country and its long process of working toward a Peace agreement has led him to understand the Colombian people better. This is a place where many are searching for meaning in their lives, but people are faced with many obstacles, unequal educational opportunities, unfair salaries, oppressive structures, and a lack of hope for the future.
César is responding with optimism to the teaching ministry at the Reformed University of Colombia in the middle of a context of violence, the post-pandemic world and political changes. The implementation of the 2016 Peace agreement is still a challenge for the government. Other challenges to implementing justice and peace are the murder of the hundreds of community and human rights leaders and the staggering poverty rate of about 40% of the Colombian population. In this context, César teaches about Jesus Christ’s calling for Christians to be peacemakers and the challenge of being a prophetic church with a holistic mission.
In addition to his duties as a professor, César is Editor of the online Theological Journal Palabra y Vida, a member of the Theological research group Oidhpaz, writer of articles and chapters for Theological sources, and preacher. César usually attends “Comunidad Del Camino” Presbyterian Church that meets at the school´s chapel. As a professor of theology, César hopes to accompany students as they accomplish their academic goals, inspire and encourage them to follow Jesus Christ every day, and share the gospel with the poor and victims of violence, working together with other sisters and brothers of other faith communities in the region.
César says he has been inspired by Mark 10:45: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
“Jesus tells us in this passage that he was, and he is in the world to serve people and to give his life in sacrificial service,” César says. For César, that Scripture is a call to “give my time, gifts, creativity, and whatever I can to enrich, to affirm, and to empower the life and ministry of others.”