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Global Renewal Christianity: Latin America

Vinson Synan, Amos Yong, and Miguel Álvarez, eds., Global Renewal Christianity: Spirit-Empowered Movements—Past, Present, and Future, Volume 2: Latin America (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2016), 544 pages, ISBN 9781629987675.

Global Renewal Christianity: Latin America, provides a broad lens that not only captures the breath and the renewing influence of the Holy Spirit in the region, but also the historicity of Latino/a Pentecostalism being experienced for the last 100 years. The volume is skillfully edited and written with the goal of approaching the context and connecting the reader with specific regions such as; Cuba (99), San Pedro Sula, Honduras (44), the Andean Region (157-217) and the Southern Cone (239-295) in Latin America.

This remarkable volume also provides robust historical evidence of the Christian renewal movement in the region. The writers eloquently addressed Pentecostalism from their own context and traditions. The collection of essays utilizes various enquiry and academic styles to bring forth into the Guild of Pentecostal studies, what Bernardo Campos describes as; Pentecostalidad (Pentecostality) Latino-Americana (XXXii). For Campos, Pentecostalidad Latino-Americana is a new collective dynamic evangelical identity that is defined as the Spirit’s Empowerment upon a new generation of leaders. These new leaders from across the region are not only united through Pentecostalidad as new Latin American evangelical faces but are also a generation greatly concern with the pressing social issues of their countries. Hence, Pentecostalidad is redefining what it means to be part of a renewed Christian movement and is creating space for new actors that have begun to reshape the landscape of Latin American evangelicalism.

Latin America is experiencing a spiritual renewal.

For various authors the seeds of renewal movements and Pentecostalisms in Latin America are linked to: Azusa Street Revival (Intro, 7, 127,159, 240, 355) of 1906, and is inseparable to the constant change in the social political landscape (15, 50, 91) of the region. Hence, Pentecostalism became a preferential option that spiritually and socially liberated the poor in the region. Others insist “that the movement itself comes from various sparks of the Holy Spirit fire in Latin America” (299), and that it is also experienced by elite renewed evangelicals in countries like Colombia, Argentina, and Guatemala.

The volume also highlights the work of Pentecostal women like Elena Laidlaw in Chile. Numerous women in Latin America were key figures in the spreading of Pentecostalism at the beginning of 20th century. However, many pioneer women were also persecuted, erased from history books, and silenced because of their gender (301). Yes!

Many pioneer women were persecuted, erased from history books, and silenced because of their gender.

The volume clearly argues that Latin America is experiencing a spiritual renewal. However, the region will continue to face countless social, political and economic crisis. What is then the role of Pentecostalisms and renewed Christian movements with the social concerns of today? The last part of the volume points to the enormous social challenges Pentecostal will face as the future of Latin American develops (331). The social concerns such as the inclusion of women, new leadership, racial reconciliation, the environment, devastation of forest, the distribution of land and injustices experienced by the marginalized are inescapable matters for the renewal Christian movements (334).

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2018

About the Author: Oscar Merlo, Ph.D. candidate (Fuller Seminary), M.A.I.C.S. (Fuller Seminary), M.B.A. (Phoenix University), B.A. (University of La Verne), is the director of the Center for the Study of the Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit Today at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He is passionate about empowering the next generation through the Holy Spirit and for illuminating the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has served in executive leadership positions for profit and nonprofit multinational organizations and is a strategic partner with Hope of Life, the world’s largest humanitarian organization, to develop the Hispanic humanitarian branch, Extreme Rescues. Faculty page. Facebook. LinkedIn. Twitter: @Oscarmerlo.

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