To say that Latin America is a continent in ferment and turmoil is a cliché. Thirty years ago journalists and sociologists were saying that Latin America had to run at top speed just to stay in one place, and this is even more true today. The foregoing analyses of Protestantism in Latin America are replete with encouragements as well as warnings and challenges for the church. What can be said in conclusion?
The Good News
Much is encouraging in two areas:
• The church. The statistics we read are cause for great rejoicing. There is no doubt that a great movement of the Holy Spirit is occurring. And we can rejoice in the increase of biblical and theological concern in the evangelical churches.
The emphasis on lay involvement is another strength of Latin evangelicalism. R. Kenneth Strachan, the late general director of the Latin America Mission, developed this influential principle for Latin churches: “The growth of any movement is in direct proportion to that movement’s success in mobilizing its entire membership in constant propagation of its beliefs.”
We can rejoice that involvement in missions is growing. And, recognizing their common roots with Arabic culture (the Moors occupied Spain for 800 years up to 1492), some Latins are beginning to realize that they have unique opportunities to share their faith with Muslims of other lands.
• The political/social realm. It is encouraging to see evangelicals entering public service and government. The awakening of social concern among evangelicals is eminently appropriate in the midst of the continent’s economic turmoil. While this has been partially a response to liberation theology, it results from a new understanding of the ministry of Christ and of scriptural teaching on loving our ...1
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