Latin American Theologians Have Helped to Awaken Christians in the West
In a recent class at Fuller, I was asked to briefly assess Latin American Theologies from an evangelical perspective, and here is my very brief response.
First it must be noted that the evangelical camp is broken into many sub camps, and different sub camps would assess things differently. I will assess the Latin American Theologies from a missional, new monastic, neo-Anabaptist evangelical perspective.
My overwhelming sense is that the Latin American Theologians have done much to awaken Christians in the West in a good way. They have awakened us to the danger of theology becoming an academic exercise of the privileged, who are seeking to develop a conception of God that is “more interested in timeless values that in efforts to solve historical problems in this world” (267). Gutierrez’ preferential treatment of the poor seems to coincide with Jesus’ blessings to the poor, hungry and weeping and woes to the rich, well fed and laughing. Segundo’s proposal for that “God is a society of persons, encountered only within the history of this world” (269) becomes a critique to the highly individualized people in the West, who tend to live well and forget the poor and oppressed. Instead of theology being done individually in the Ivy Tower, “the major loci for doing theology are the basic… grassroots ecclesia units” (277) engaging in group praxis in difficult contexts seeking to deal with current social injustices. Leonardo Boff’s image of the Trinity as a communion of equal persons, and his emphasis on perichoretic unity, is a great model “for human and ecclesial society” (276), and his idea of the maternal father and paternal mother holds to the male and female elements of God better than some feminist perspectives. My assessment is I need to be trained by my Latin brothers and sisters, rather than offering critique.