Back to Index

LATIN AMERICA: The future of Christianity

Tom Grey calls or attention to a "fine article" in The Atlantic:

Here is an abstract: "The most successful Southern churches preach a deep personal faith, communal orthodoxy, mysticism, and puritanism, all founded on obedience to spiritual authority.... Whereas Americans imagine a Church freed from hierarchy, superstition, and dogma, Southerners look back to one filled with spiritual power and able to exorcise the demonic forces that cause sickness and poverty. The places where Christianity is spreading and mutating are also places where the population levels are rising quickly-and -will continue to rise throughout the next century. The center of gravity of the Christian world has shifted from Europe and the United States to the Southern Hemisphere and, it will never shift back.

Most people would say that in Latin America one person out of every nine is a Pentecostal. In some of the areas of fastest growth, notably Peru and Mexico, there have been conflicts between Protestants and Catholics which look exactly like what would have happened in France and Germany around 1580. They even start the same way: the Catholics have a procession of the Virgin, the Protestants gather round and make fun of it, the Catholics go off and burn down the local Protestant church. At the moment it's largely at the level of rioting, except in some areas of southern Mexico, where it really does look like civil war".

Ronald Hilton - 9/23/02