“Aren’t they Catholic in Colombia? Doesn’t that make them Christians? Why send missionaries?”
Those are three major, major questions that are well worth considering. The answer to the first one is simple: yes, most Colombians claim to be Catholic. The government does not actively keep statistics on the religion followed by Colombians, but surveys show that a large majority (between 70% and 90%, depending on whom you ask) are indeed Catholics, at least in name.
The core question is this: does a person who claims to be Catholic still need the Gospel? No matter what religion you belong to, what church you go to, who you are, who your parents are, everyone needs to repent of their sin and trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior. Simply attending church and claiming Christianity won’t save you–indeed, no amount of good works possibly could! You need to recognize your need for Jesus and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you are saved by grace through faith. And unfortunately, the Catholic belief system, their doctrines, their traditions and a pervasive lack of focus on the Scripture have led many, many Colombians to have no understanding of the Gospel at all. Yes, they have heard the name of Jesus. Yes, they have heard about God, and a God who created them and loves them. But critical, basic questions, such as “Do you know how to get to heaven?”, often are unanswerable to your everyday Colombian Catholic. They are no better off than a Hindu on the streets of India; they may know the name of God’s only Son, but have no idea what it means that He came to die for sinners.
We are not satisfied with a country where people have Jesús on their lips but not in their hearts. We are not satisfied that people might prefer the created (Mary) to the creator (God). We are not satisfied that people are familiar with the idea of a Bible but never take it upon themselves to read and see for themselves what it says. And we are surely not satisfied with a “church” that values their own traditions, their own priests’ interpretations, and the word of a fallible man… and puts all that as equal in value to the holy, inspired Word of God.
Most Colombians who are Catholics never get a chance to “get” the Gospel in a way that they understand. Please help us pray that God calls more laborers so that they will go to Colombia or countries like it and show people, that have grown up in darkness their whole lives following tradition, the Truth, what the Bible says.