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.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Tags:
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only It's a Small Church After All
Globalization is changing how Christians do ministry.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
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.