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The Christian Revolution in Latin America

By Pedro C. Moreno
Published December 1, 1992

FIVE HUNDRED YEARS HAVE ELAPSED since the arrival of the Spaniards to America. That event has continued to have profound implications concerning the culture, race, mentality and religion on Latin America.

Recently, the Roman Catholic church held public discussions in Santo Domingo asking for forgiveness of America’s indigenous peoples, its self-criticism leading the way for a desire for a new protagonism. But these discussions were marred by the Catholic Church’s constant reference to the “problem of sects” in Latin America.

Though the Catholic Church nobly recognizes its share of responsibility for the “shadows” that accompanied the arrival of the Spaniards five hundred years ago, it fails to take a real stance on the explosive growth of evangelical Christians in Latin America. In spite of being able to submit to self-criticism in recognizing its many internal problems (lack of Christian testimony, lack of priests, formalism in church participation, etc.) the evaluation of growth of the non-Catholic churches is unreasoned and non-objective.

The easy answer is that “the sects” (a perjorative and dehumanizing label many Catholics insist on using to describe evangelicals) are financed by groups in the United States. Those who support this position, like the ostrich, hide their head in the ground and fail to see the reality of change that surrounds them.

On the other hand, with abundant documentation, a number of Catholics have recognized the genuine and native character of the evangelical churches and the powerful social impact of their message.

But what is it that makes Latin Americans flock to the evangelical churches? First, it is two fundamental messages: the person of Jesus Christ and the Bible. Second, the evangelicals build an empirical theology, based not so much on theological reflections, but on experience and daily reality. Their detractors do not hesitate to label them “fundamentalists” and even “fanatics.”

How is the evangelical message presented? It states that the common person, though poor, sick, full of problems and lacking a reason to live, can find a solution. Which one? “Jesus Christ!” answers the evangelical with energy and conviction.

Phrases such as: “Jesus is alive” – “He has power” – “God will take you out of your problems” – “God can heal you” – “You can find meaning for your life if you surrender to Christ” are recurrent and common in the preaching of the evangélicos.

Thus, while the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America is seeking ecclesiastical reform, the evangelicals have concentrated their message in two elements (Christ and the Bible) and have discovered that it is exactly what the people want and need to hear. Of course, the message does not exhaust itself with the preaching, but innumerable testimonies show that it is really helping the people to reorder their priorities, giving them an optimistic outlook in life, helping them solve their family problems (i.e., by saving and investing money that otherwise would be spent in alcohol and “fiestas”) and encouraging them to seek a better education for their children and more productivity at work.

Not without reason, the evangelical message constantly emphasizes that “everything you do, you do it for God.” Moreover, can anyone imagine the impact on the poor when they hear that “you have access to the unlimited power of God through prayer, and control over your circumstances,” rather than the other way around?

Some say that evangelical Christians are exclusive and think they possess the only truth. However, exclusivity is not in Christianity but in Christ himself. He said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

Religion, whatever it may be (Judaism, Islam, Christianity) by its nature is exclusive. If religion accepts that the others are also true, it loses raison d’etre and ceases to be true.

Truth, by an ontological requisite inherent to itself, has to be the only one. There cannot be many “truths.” That is why, when some sectors of the Roman Catholic Church and even the evangelical churches attempt to combine themselves with theologies substantially different from the Christian doctrine, such as “Andean Theology” (pantheist) or rescue some Marxist elements through “Liberation Theology,” they end up diluting their message, discouraging evangelism and questioning their own identity. Religious syncretism ultimately is not beneficial for any of the theological currents, which in the process of combining themselves, being contradictory in principle, lose their identity and their purpose.

A story is told about a boy who was brought before Alexander the Great to be tried for robbery. Alexander the Great solemnly asked, “Boy, what is your name? The boy timidly replied, “Alexander, sir.” Raising his voice, Alexander the Great sentenced, “Boy, you either change your conduct, or you change your name.”

Christianity does not admit middle grounds, syncretisms or doubts with respect to its identity, mission and purpose.

Finally, and going beyond this ontological and doctrinal analysis, we cannot overlook the fact that a religious society cannot be intolerant toward different religious, ethnic, cultural and linguistic expressions. The exclusive character of religious doctrine that we touched upon earlier takes place in the realm of idea, but should not reflect as an attitude of rejection toward people of different ideas.

In fact, we can have unity while respecting our diversity. We cannot impose diversity by force any more than we can impose uniformity by force. A society presupposes the existence of mature, reasonable and free citizens, and they will be the ones who will choose whatever fits them best regarding their religion, culture and life in general. We can be united and work toward a better country, a better standard of living, a better future for our children, without necessarily having to think and act in the same manner.

Pedro Moreno is representative of The Rutherford Institute for Latin America.


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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine

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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

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Why Creeds and Confessions? (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 219 pages

Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy

Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.

Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.

Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

Special Two-Disc Set!

After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

Download the free Study Guide!

Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!

Running Time: 195 minutes

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The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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