The Second Latin American Congress on Evangelization (CLADE II) in Peru last month was a thoroughly Latin affair. Invited non-Latin missionaries were limited to 10 percent of the 250 participants (although a few more attended as observers).
The gathering, on the outskirts of Lima, was in no sense antimission, but it did offer a marked contrast to CLADE I, which had assembled more than 900 participants a decade earlier in Bogotá, Colombia. That congress, organized largely by Clyde Taylor (a former Colombia missionary) of the World Evangelical Fellowship, had been mission dominated and totally financed from outside. CLADE II, with roughly half of the finances raised inside Latin America, demonstrated that the evangelical church in Latin America is coming of age.
Although the Latin church has been quietly maturing at both local and national levels, observers note there had been a void in interchurch activity at the continental level. After the 1969 meetings, the Latins had made clear there should be no more mission-initiated congresses; but it took a decade for the Latin initiative to ripen.
The initiative, when it did come, issued from the 50-member Latin American Theological Fraternity, the only organizational child of CLADE I. Its president, Samuel Escobar of Peru, and its coordinator, Pedro Savage of Argentina, served in the same capacities for the congress.
One aim of the congress was to provide evangelicals with a forum in which they could restate their positions in the aftermath of the Catholic CELAM III at Puebla, Mexico, in January 1979, and interact with those Protestants (the great majority) who did not participate in the World Council of Churches-sponsored conference at Oaxtepec, Mexico, last September.
The emphases ...1
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