The Histories of the Latin American Church

The Histories of the Latin American Church: A Brief Introduction

Joel Morales Cruz
Copyright Date: 2014
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  • Book Info
    The Histories of the Latin American Church
    Book Description:

    The story of Latin American Christianity is too often appended to the end of larger narratives and is rarely given the full consideration it deserves. And yet, the rich stories of Christianity in Latin America deserve our full attention. With this brief, engaging, and helpful overview, Joel M. Cruz offers a resource that tells that story in a new way, enabling students of all kinds to better understand the histories of Latin American Christianity. Cruz's text, drawing from the larger work, The Histories of the Latin American Church: A Handbook, focuses on both the history of the region and the theology. The result is an informative and eye-opening introduction to a kaleidoscope of efforts to articulate the meanings and implications of Christianity in the context of Latin America.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-8968-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)
    Joel Morales Cruz

    I was glad when Fortress Press decided to issue an abbreviated version of my book,Histories of the Latin American Church: A Handbook. The original text, while a labor of love and passion, could be considered too unwieldy for the casual student curious about Christianity in Latin America. Its detailed treatment of over twenty countries, their chronologies, popular devotions, and eminent personalities make up the bulk of that particular project. ThisBrief Introductionis essentially the first part of that larger work: general essays on history and theology, basic information on religious traditions, and a few sections culled from the...

  4. 1 Christianity in Latin America A Short History
    (pp. 7-54)

    Latin America unites in itself the European, African, and American streams of civilization. Similarly so, Christianity did not develop in an airtight, pasteurized package but was influenced by the religions and worldviews of the cultures in which it took root.

    Spain and Portugal on the cusp of the age of exploration were the result of centuries of struggle between the emerging Christian kingdoms in the north and the Muslims in the south of the peninsula, known as Al-Andalus. Conquered in 711 by Arab and Berber forces, Al-Andalus became a center of learning, art, poetry, industry, and, to a certain extent,...

  5. 2 Brief Introduction to Theology in Latin America
    (pp. 55-106)

    The task of summarizing a theological enterprise that covers a continent, five centuries, and the many fields of theology from the role of the saints to Christology to the very nature of God would either be an act of insanity or hubris of Greek proportions.¹ Overall, Latin American theology, particularly in the period before 1960, is little known outside of narrow academic circles. Most descriptions in popular or college texts begin with Bartolomé de Las Casas (1484–1566) and then jump to the formation of liberation theology in the modern era. In fact, the phrase “Latin American theology” is often...

  6. 3 Latin American Christianity An Overview
    (pp. 107-126)

    Church and Society in Latin America (Iglesia y Sociedad en América Latina, ISAL): The formation of this ecumenical Protestant organization in 1955 was influenced by missionary and theologian Richard Shaull’s engagement with Marxism as well as then-current theories of Latin America’s economic dependency on First World powers. Originally focused on teaching the social responsibilities of Christians, by the mid-1960s it had begun to educate the lower classes according to the methods of Paulo Freire for developing critical consciousness. ISAL was viewed with suspicion by more-conservative evangelical churches and with alarm by North American missiologists such as C. Peter Wagner, who...

  7. 4 Religious Traditions
    (pp. 127-154)

    Brought by the Spanish and Portuguese to the New World in the sixteenth century, Roman Catholicism has become part of the grain of Latin American identity and culture. Its influence has been present in every facet of life from politics to popular entertainment. About 68 percent of the population professes Roman Catholicism, which is still the region’s dominant religion.

    Roman Catholic religious orders and organizations have been instrumental in the Christianization of Latin America since Europeans first landed on shore. Their history, like all human endeavors, has been mixed: they evangelized, they exploited, they established schools and hospitals and oversaw...

  8. Appendix One: Denominational and Organizational Weblinks
    (pp. 155-166)
  9. Appendix Two: For Further Reading
    (pp. 167-178)
  10. Index
    (pp. 179-182)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 183-183)