In Buenos Aires

I am in Buenos Aires this week for open ended discussions on God’s Justice, the Bible I am working on. Today I had an unusually interesting conversation with the pastor of a very large charismatic Baptist church. He said that Latin American pastors are reaching the limits of their church model, which is based on fast numerical growth and intense spiritual growth. The problem is that that there is no room for justice in their thinking. “The average evangelical thinks of salvation from justice, wherein really salvation is a restoration of justice. Salvation and justice are inseparable.”

Pastors, he said, are beginning to think about transformation–and about training and equipping a new leadership that can fight against injustice at every level–at home, in society, and of course in themselves.

He mentioned the cautionary example of Guatemala, where 50 percent of the population consider themselves evangelical, but 80 percent are poor; and Nigeria, where 50 percent of the population may be born again but corruption is among the worst in the world. Pastors in his extensive network are realizing the inadequacy of their ministry to transform such realities.

Is such reflection common? I don’t know. I do however have a hopeful sense that some serious rethinking is going on, in places you might not expect it.


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2 Responses to “In Buenos Aires”

  1. Vern Says:

    Several years ago I was contracted by Fida International to perform an external evaluation (I have a background in cultural anthropology with an emphasis on ethnographic studies) on the social programs they helped to establish within the Assemblies of God denomination in Colombia and Ecuador. Quite remarkable considering that the focus was strictly on evangelism for so many years. That was not necessarily a bad thing as evidenced by the strong evangelical presence, but what you pointing out is correct. There may not be a lot of “advertising” about the social projects, but there are signs that this is becoming an integral part of the church. See

  2. Vern Says:

    Did you happen to meet Tom Hanks, of Other Sheep Ministry, in Buenos Aires? How does his work fit in with your Social Justice Bible? Just curious.

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