Theology from Latin America

Did you know that, in 1974, two men from Latin America gave a speech at the largest gathering of Protestant evangelicals in Lausanne, Switzerland that would change the entire course of Protestant evangelical Christianity? Today, so many churches and organizations approach evangelism in a way that does not merely look to convert people, but attempts to live missionally and seek holistic growth. The reason for this is the influence of Majority World theologians, especially Rene Padilla and Samuel Escobar, who argued for integral mission, where social responsibility and evangelism must be held together. Billy Graham and John Stott adopted this stance, along with many others, to help steer the West to a model of holistic growth for discipleship and transformation that is rooted in the early churches found in Acts.

Furthermore, in the books below, in addition to seeing theologies that combine evangelism and social action, you will find arguments for a living faith that is richer and fuller than our often over-intellectualized American faith. Latin American theologians rightly criticize the West for focusing too much on intellectualizing our faith through the importance placed on Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection found in Paul’s letters. However, we are called to give the Old Testament and the Gospels as much of a hearing as well. The Old Testament breathes life into the whole story of God. The Gospels reveal the Kingdom of God and the life of Jesus to be central, whereby we are called to a practical, incarnational living out of our faith with God’s presence in us through the Spirit, who connects all believers. This sort of Christian living and understanding is in contrast to a private, personal, Aristotelian knowledge of our faith, which is based on rational, theological arguments that have less demands on our practical day-to-day living.

Books:  

New Global Mission by Samuel Escobar

Changing Tides: Latin America & World Mission Today by Samuel Escobar

Christ Outside the Gate by Orlando Costas

Mission Between the Times by Rene Padilla

Christianity in Latin America: a History by Ondina E. and Justo Gonzalez

 

Videos:

Samuel Escobar's Thoughts on Latin America 

Celebration of Samuel Escobar and Rene Padilla at Cape Town 2010