Friend or Foe? An evangelical engaging Latin American Liberation Theology

Author: James Clarke.

Abstract:

In recent decades, effort has been made by Latin American theologians to move away from the traditional Roman Catholic orthodoxy that has shaped and influenced so much of their society, and move towards a contextualised understanding of Christianity in the light of the contemporary needs and issues faced by Latin American communities. One guise that this contextualisation has taken is that of Liberation Theology1. In this essay, I will offer a critical evaluation of the main characteristics of this theology from an evangelical point of view. I will not be dealing in detail with the historical progress and development of liberation theology, neither will I be focussing on the writings of any particular theologians; rather I will be concentrating my evaluation on the major beliefs and practices of this way of thinking, its strengths and weaknesses. Although there are different types of liberation theology2, I will be exclusively addressing its Latin American contextualisation. I recognise that my essay will be offering an evaluation based upon my own personal evangelical bias, and it is from this position that I will approach the theories encompassed within Latin American liberation theology.

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