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Evangelization from a Liberation Perspective.

This is a survey of the concept of evangelization in the writings of Latin American theologians who hold a liberation perspective. Individual chapters cover six Roman Catholic theologians (Leonardo Boff, Segundo Galilea, Gustavo Gutierrez, Oscar Romero, Juan Luis Segundo, and Jon Sobrino), and six Protestant ones (including Mortimer Arias, Emilio Castro, Orlando Costas, and Jose Miguez Bonino). As backdrops for the individual studies, one chapter surveys Catholic documents from Vatican II to Puebla, and another surveys documents of the World Council of Churches from New Delhi to Vancouver. There is a chapter of conclusions and an epilogue offering a "wholistic model" of evangelization from a liberation perspective.

Pope-Levison, a United Methodist minister and theological educator, wants to build bridges between those who value proclamation of the Gospel and those who value social justice. She finds that "the brilliance of evangelization from a liberation perspective is its unification" of the two views (p. ix). Her survey is ambitious in scope, and the twenty-seven-page bibliography is impressive and helpful, but the treatment at some points is superficial--the chapter on Jose Miguez Bonino is only four pages long, that on Mortimer Arias only five pages. The method of text analysis would have benefited from more adequate consideration of the context and the practice of these men. We share the author's strong ecumenical concern: "I despair of endless factions which only exacerbate the world's already negative view of Christian unity" (p. ix). But any treatment of evangelization in Latin America cannot afford to ignore the fundamentally different approaches of Catholics and Protestants. Though most Protestants would agree with Arias that evangelization includes "naming the Name that is above all names" and "crossing the frontier between faith and non-faith" (p. 111), from the Catholic theologians studied in this book only two, Galilea and Segundo, have tackled the issues raised by Arias's definition. The author says that WCC assemblies influenced men like Castro and Miguez (p. 91 and p. 153 n. 9). Actually it was partly their insistence that brought back the issue of evangelization to an ecumenical movement that had abandoned it.

Samuel Escobar, from Peru, worked for twenty-six years in the evangelization of university students in Latin America. Presently he teaches missiology at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
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Author:Escobar, Samuel
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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