In chapter 5, the final chapter of Brazilian Evangelical Missions in the Arab World, I discuss a number of areas of observed theology at work in the Brazilian missions movement specifically among Arabs. One key element is that Brazilians show evidence of Word and deed ministry--proclaiming the historic, kerygmatic message of salvation in Christ while also ministering to real human needs. Part of chapter 5 was published in the Fall 2011 issue of the South African theological journal Verbum et Ecclesia. Below is an introduction to the article which can be read in its entirety HERE.
In a village inhabited by refugees and displaced peoples, a soccer school is established for the community’s children. In a hospital, a nurse makes her rounds, dispensing medicine and praying for patients. During classes at a business-training center, a teacher lectures on how to start a small business while growing in one’s Christian character. Each scenario is an example of Christian work presently being performed by Brazilian evangelical workers serving in the Arab world. By proclaiming the traditional Gospel message of salvation and compassionately caring for the physical needs in their context, these Brazilian transcultural workers are applying a vital aspect of Brazilian and Latin American missiology known as missão integral [the ‘whole Gospel’].
In this article, I will first show the historical development of this theological approach within the Brazilian and Latin American evangelical spheres through the work of the Latin American Theological Fraternity – a movement founded in 1970 that maintained historic evangelical values (i.e. a high view of Scripture, the necessity of conversion) while also taking Latin America’s great social needs into account. Nurtured by thinkers such as René Padilla (Ecuador), Orlando Costas (Puerto Rico), Samuel Escobar (Peru), and later Valdir Steuernagel (Brazil), the movement has not only responded to the concerns raised by Liberation theologians, but it has also influenced the direction of the Lausanne Movement – an expression of global evangelicalism. Secondly, I will discuss how missão integral has found its way into the missional ‘bloodstream’ and become a central value for some Brazilian and Latin American missions organisations, including Missão Antioquia (1975) and PM International (1984). Finally, based on 55 interviews conducted in 2009–2010 with Brazilian workers and mission leaders focusing on the Arab world, I will show how Brazilian workers are demonstrating missão integral through their ministries and also why this approach is relevant in the Arab-Muslim world.
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