Guest / Limited Access /

Mexico

"The evangelical church is steadily becoming a visible presence in Mexican society."

For nearly 400 years, the evangelical faith and the study of the Bible were prohibited here. As early as the midsixteenth century, Lutherans who had come with the Spanish conquerors suffered persecution, and the Holy Inquisition was in force in Mexico longer than in many other countries. Eventually, under President Benito Juarez (1806-72), a growing reaction to the Catholic church's power led the government to enact anticlerical legislation, which remained in force until this decade and declared the following restrictions: (1) No church could legally own property; (2) foreigners could not serve as priests or pastors; (3) worship services should be held exclusively in temples or churches, not in public buildings; (4) clergy could not directly or indirectly criticize government authorities; (5) clergy could not vote or participate in politics; (6) mass media should not be used to promote religion; and (7) government leaders supposedly should never participate in religious ceremonies.

But in the early 1990s, President Carlos Salinas de Gortari succeeded in reforming the Constitution. As a result, any religious association may now bring in foreign missionaries or pastors provided they are officially affiliated with the church they serve, have their financial support guaranteed for the duration of their service, and fulfill the requirements of the laws of immigration (which are liberally applied). Compare this to the time when foreign missionaries ministered for decades by returning as "tourists."

Also, churches now can hold evangelistic campaigns or healing services in public places. Recently, for example, an evangelical group conducted a ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
TrendingMeet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
Meet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
J. R. Briggs sympathizes with church leaders who don't live up to expectations.
Editor's PickIntroducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Introducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Delete the chapter and verse numbers. Kill all the notes. Make it one column. Make a million bucks.
Comments
Christianity Today
Out of the Salt Shaker
hide thisNovember 16 November 16

In the Magazine

November 16, 1998

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.