BENYOLA: I saw the video of Dr. Don Galardi sharing his experience of teaching at USRL. Who are some of the professors who teach at the seminary?
ACOSTA: Some of those professors are Dr. Richard Pratt, the president of Third Millennium Ministries; Dr. Chris Bass, of Redeemer Fellowship of Boston Massachusetts; Dr. Samuel Waldron, the dean of Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky; Dr. Robert Gonzalez, the dean of Reformed Baptist Seminary in South Carolina; Dr. Bruce McDowell, a professor at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia; Dr. Joel Beeke, president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Michigan; and many others.
These are very sophisticated men. When they go to USRL they teach 30 intensive hours per week. After classes each day, the students meet for two hours in table-talk groups and discuss what the professor taught during the day. At the end of the first week, the professor leaves and the students continue for another week with table-talk discussion groups, reading and analyzing everything the professor taught. Afterward, they take the test, and present a term paper on what they learned. Upon finishing 24 courses they earn a Theology Certificate of Completion and they return to their home.
To obtain a degree, they must continue to fulfill the number of required credits and readings, exams and research papers. As you can see, the academic standards are high. By the mercy of God, things are going very well!
BENYOLA: Will you summarize the current need for Gospel Through Colombia? What are the top one to three needs? How do you invite people to partner with the seminary?
ACOSTA: I don’t want people to think “GTC,” I want them to think about the Kingdom of God, the gospel of grace being presented to all Latin America. In North America, there are more than 100 Reformed seminaries. In Latin America, this is the only seminary of its kind. We offer the education for free. Students currently contribute toward a year of their food with a small fee of $1,000.00, but it costs GTCaround $5,000.00 per student per year.
In 2016, we expect almost 100 students. So the first need is to find people who will sponsor a student with a one-year scholarship. Another need is to pay off the $500,000 loan incurred when we purchased the two seminary buildings last year.
The third need is for contributions to support the expansion of GTC into other Latin American countries. Bolivia, Peru and Venezuela are open doors for us to teach and equip Christian leaders. GTC provides textbooks and study guides for students being trained t be pastors throughout South America.