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El Quinto Centenario y las misiones españolas

By Jay Rogers
Published June 25, 2008

¿Es la Gracia de Dios retornando?

Hasta hace 500 años, España era la nación líder en enviar misioneros a los lejanos rincones del mundo. A través de los Órdenes de los monjes católicos, tales como los jesuitas, domínicos, agustinos y los franciscanos, una forma de cristianidad avanzá en el mundo. Desafortunadamente, fue también a través de estas Órdenes que la gran persecución religiosa del siglo XV se llevó a cabo con la Inquisición Española bajo el mandato del Rey Fernando y de la Reina Isabel.

Es también un dato histórico de pie de página, el hecho de que 1492 fue también el año en el que los últimos judíos fueron expulsados de España. Poco después de que los barcos de Colón zarparan del puerto de Palos, él anotó este evento. El oro que fue acumulado por los monarcas españoles; de los moros, protestantes y judíos, fue usado para financiar el primer viaje de Colón.

Sin embargo el viaje de Colón serviría para abrir un mundo donde la gente podría venir y adorar a Dios libremente.

En retrospectiva, este período de expansión de las misiones católico romanas representa una imagen mixta. Los conquistadores imponen la “civilización” española y el catolicismo romano por la fuerza, “en ocasiones” tratando a los nativos con crueldad. Sin embargo, muchos de los misioneros españoles y exploradores tenían intenciones puras. Hubo avances del evangelio, en salvación y en el trabajo educacional y caritativo. Pero su trabajo sufrió la pena de ser relacionado con el colonialismo y los irredimibles aspectos de la cultura occidental.1

En los 1500s, el foco del evangelismo mundial comenzó a trasladarse hacia Inglaterra, quizá como resultado del abuso de la Gracia de Dios por parte de los españoles. Con la aparición de la reforma protestante y la derrota de la armada española, Inglaterra ganó supremacía en los mares y tomó la causa de la evangelización del mundo a través de su propio colonialismo protestante.

La primera sociedad de misioneros protestantes fue establecida en Inglaterra en 1649. Los Mayhews y John Eliot comenzaron el trabajo de la evangelización de las tribus indígenas de Nueva Inglaterra en los años 1640s. Los Moravios enviaron cientos de misioneros de iglesias anglicanas a América en los años 1700s. La Sociedad Misionera Bautista fue fundada por William Carey en 1792; la Sociedad Misionera de Londres en 1795; la Sociedad Misionera de la Iglesia en 1799. Un movimiento estudiantil en Williams College y en el seminario de Andover llevó a la fundación de la junta americana de comisionados para misiones en el extranjero en 1810.2

Ahora que más de 500 años han pasado desde 1492, parece que los hispanos una vez más podrían convertirse en una fuerza misionera dominante en la tierra. Especialistas en misiones están mirando hacia Suramérica para que sea uno de los puntos centrales del renacimiento y del despertar espiritual, en los años 1990. Los juegos Olímpicos y la Feria Mundial realizados en España en 1992 trajeron más actividad evangélica a esta nación que jamás en la historia.

El número “cinco” en las Escrituras está usualmente asociado con la Gracia Divina trabajando para llevar a los hombres a la salvación.3 Cinco siglos han pasado desde el viaje de Colón y la expulsión de los judios de España. Vemos una reaparición simultánea del mundo español en el rol de las misiones mundiales. ¿Será que la Gracia de Dios que un día partió de España, esté volviendo ahora?

La historia de España es un recordatorio para los cristianos en los Estados Unidos hoy; que a pesar de que Dios puede que escoja una determinada nación en algún punto de la historia, de manera estratégica, sus propósitos de salvación no están atados a ningún estado político o institución. La Gracia de Dios solamente es el factor determinante en el avance del evangelio de salvación.


1 John Jefferson Davis, Christ’s Victorious Kingdom (Baker Book House, Grand, Rapids, MI, 1.986) pp.74-76.
2 Ibid, pp. 76,77.
3 CF. Números 7:17-83; 1 Reyes 6:6-24; Mateo 14: 17-21.


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