March 11, 2007
Book of the Week: Faces of Latin American Protestantism
Reading this book, I was impressed with how little I actually know about the forces that have shaped Protestantism in the very region where I serve as a Protestant missionary (and yes, I am a Baptist who has no problem claiming the title of Protestant).
José Bonino's treatise is a must-read for anybody involved in missions in Latin America.
Having said that, there are, I feel, a few weaknesses.
First, Bonino is far more sympathetic to Pentacostalism than he should be. Since the writing of this work, Latin America has seen the rise of the "prosperity gospel" mega-churches, epitomized by Edir Macedo and his Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. This was--in my opinon--a natural outgrowth of the Latin Pentecostal movement--and one which Bonino failed to forsee.
Second, Bonino is overly critical of Fundamentalism. To his credit, he tries to maintain an air of neutrality, but his distaste is easy to see. Granted, many of the abuses he cites are real and need to be acknowledged by fundamentalist leaders, but I feel he goes to extremes in his criticism. It is key to note that one of his complaints is the fundamentalist reliance on Scripture. This clues the reader in to the author's theological starting point.
In all, Bonino provides good analysis into what he calls the "faces" of Latin American theology: liberal, evangelical, pentecostal, and ethnic.
Those looking for an easy read should look elsewhere. One frustrating aspect is that it is chock full of facts, but the author seldom comes to a conclusion.
Posted by Andrew on March 11, 2007 7:44 PM.