The Monk Who Lived Again      

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Leader’s Edge: Missionary Biographies

The Monk Who Lived Again*

By B. H. Pearson  

Cowman Publications, Inc., 1952 

(No indication of pages) 

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Biography Summary  

This book went through thirteen printings in English and was translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Finish. 

Who is this person?

Walter Manuel Montano, born in 1903 to a prestigious family, son of the Regent of Cochabamba University and nephew of a former president of Bolivia, was raised in an aristocratic home. He lost his mother as a child and felt unloved. His father, called “the Kaiser” by irreverent university students, remarried a woman who rejected the little boy’s pleas for affection. Eventually, he lived with his uncle, a Roman Catholic priest. In time, Walter decided to become a Dominican monk, and entered the College of St. Thomas Aquinas in Lima, Peru at age 17.  

Following three years as a novitiate, “Fray Luis”  became an ordained friar and went on to earn a doctorate in philosophy from San Marcos University in Lima.  For seven years, he studied Roman Catholic theology, the lives of the saints, and the duties of a servant of the church. During that time, he witnessed the corruption and immorality that lay behind the “purple curtain.” His disillusionment led to unbelief. Still, he hungered to know God and to be forgiven of his sins but knew no other way than the Church. He transferred to the Dominican Monastery in Cuzco, hoping to find a more spiritual atmosphere but soon discovered the same religious façade riddled with deceit. 

Because of his academic achievements, he was made head of the monastery library. In the section reserved for “heretical books,” what he read led to his fleeing at 24 years of age. He ran to the Evangelical Union of South America (EUSA) mission house. There, he begged Missionary Charles A. Patton, to tell him how to have peace with God, forgiveness of sin, and assurance of salvation. Patton shared his simple testimony of faith; and together, the two young men prayed and wept for five hours. When Fray Luis got up from his knees, he knew for certain that he had passed from death to life and was a child of God. He worked with Patton until threats on his life, excommunication, and his family’s rejection led him to accept an invitation from the Bible Institute of Costa Rica to teach and study theology. While there, he met a young lady, Esther Piper, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, and they married. Due to his ability as a preacher and writer, and knowledge of the Catholic Church, Montano preached across the continent to hundreds of thousands of God seekers. 

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  1. I do not doubt that this book contains some good lessons we can learn from, but we should be cautious about what it does to our spirit. God’s Spirit mourns over our corruptions, but the corruption of this world does not change truth. The corruption found in any denomination does not negate the truths that they share. The pride God hates will surface when we judge by comparing our best with someone else’s worst. Jesus was Sacramental, Jesus was Charismatic, and Jesus was Evangelical. The Bible says the Church should not have divisions (1 Corinthians 1:10), a kingdom divided cannot stand (Mark 3:24), and that those who promote factions “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). It is possible to believe a truth without it affecting my life. Jesus prayed for the oneness of the Church and said it would cause the world to believe (John 17:20-23). When was the last time you prayed for our oneness like Jesus prayed? We cannot heal our divisions, but God can. I am (We are, I hope) confident that God will answer our prayers and direct us in a new spiritual oneness in the Church (otherwise considered impossible) when the Church demonstrates that we are serious in our asking.

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