Gidon and Pastor Latta – January 22, 2024
Latta’s Missionary Journey in Zimbabwe and Texas
Alan Latta shared his family’s story about their move from Illinois to Zimbabwe, where his parents became missionaries. He and his siblings moved with their parents before he went to Bible college. After a decade, they returned to the States, with his sister and her husband replacing them in Africa. Alan moved to Texas with his wife, where he started a church. Alan’s parents remained in Africa for 10 years while his siblings and he were in Texas.
Family’s Missionary Work in Liberia and Rhodesia
Alan Latta shared his family’s missionary work in Liberia and Rhodesia. He explained that his father, a pastor, had built a church in Liberia in the early 1900s and later felt called to establish a church in the capital city, Monrovia. In the 1960s, Alan’s father raised $40,000 for this project. Earlier, Alan and his family had moved to Liberia for four years. The churches Alan’s father established in both countries are still operational today.
Liberia’s History and Alan’s Connection
Alan Latta shared the history of Liberia, which was founded in the 1800s by freed slaves from America who moved there to fight slavery. However, they ended up enslaving people themselves due to the harsh living conditions, leading to a cultural divide between the freed slaves, known as the Congo people, and the native population, known as the country people. In the 70s, a revolution led by Sergeant John Doe resulted in the slaughter of tens of thousands of the Congo people. A 14-year-long civil war followed in the late 80s and 90s. Despite the heartbreaking history, Liberia has now started over, with a democratic government that respects the laws of elections. The country’s currency is American currency and English is their primary language. Alan also shared his personal connection to Liberia, having lived there from fourth to seventh grade.
Denominations and Bible Interpretations
Alan Latta and Gidon Ariel discussed their experiences with different denominations. Alan explained that he had left his denomination because it diminished parts of the Bible and overemphasized others. Gidon noted the many different Christian denominations and asked Alan for his perspective. Alan expressed that he believed the many denominations were due to differing interpretations of the Bible.
Christianity’s Historical Journey
Alan Latta and Gidon Ariel engaged in a historical discussion about Christianity. Alan explained that Christianity originated in Jerusalem, spread across the Roman Empire, and experienced severe persecution and subsequent underground operations for the first 300 years. He also highlighted the attempts by Constantine to make Christianity the official religion, the split into eastern and western parts, and the persecution of non-denominational Christians and Jews under subsequent rulers. Alan also emphasized the split from Roman Catholicism and the formation of hundreds of denominations, as well as the issue of ‘Biblical orthodoxy’ versus modernization.
Judaism, Ethnicity and Denominations
Gidon Ariel from Root Source and Alan Latta had a discussion about the nature of denominations, focusing on Judaism. Gidon explained that Judaism is primarily an ethnic family, not a race, and their schisms are about adherence to lifestyle and life instructions from rabbinic leaders. He emphasized that Judaism is more about action and belonging than faith. Gidon also touched upon the concept of charismatic leaders creating their own denominations for financial gain. They also discussed the beliefs and practices of the ultra-orthodox community, with Gidon expressing gratitude for maintaining synagogues and afternoon services. They also discussed the shared experiences of persecution that bind the community together.
Faith, Leadership, and Networking in Generations Church
Alan Latta discussed the differences in denominational and local approaches to faith, emphasizing his personal belief in inclusivity and freedom. He shared his experience leading worship and preaching at other congregations in Granberry and his independent pastorate overseen by elders. He highlighted the procedures in place should he leave the faith, including a system to help find a replacement. Alan discussed the history and growth of his church, Generations Church, formerly known as Shady Grove Church, which changed its name to avoid confusion. He mentioned their website was contacted by a church in California asking for their domain name back and that they discovered dozens of other Generations Churches across the country. Lastly, he mentioned that their church is part of two apostolic networks led by spiritual fathers and that they have over 300 affiliated members, with approximately 150 attending services on a typical Sunday.
Orthodox Community Support Networks
Alan Latta described the various networks that provide encouragement and support, including weekly zoom calls and annual conferences. He also mentioned a youth camp that takes place during the summer, which is usually a non-denominational event. Alan highlighted the role of the ministerial alliance, which he has been part of, and its role in bringing together liberal and conservative pastors.