As Cassie so beautifully depicted through picture and word, we were blessed to journey to Costa Rica in order to participate in CLADE V (The Fifth Latin American Congress of Evangelization). The gathering consisted of evangelicals from the Latin World who are a part of The Latin American Theological Fellowship. The conference was attended by a diverse group of people; leaders of churches, theologians, people from other parts of the world working in Latin America and anyone else who was interested (almost 200 unregistered attendees showed up the day of the conference!).
The conference was centered around the theme of “Following Jesus in God’s Kingdom of Life, Guide us Holy Spirit.” Often we were reminded of the fact that Theology in Latin America is a process, by which the experience of the church is viewed through the lens of Scripture in order to better understand the Church’s mission in the world.
Much debate arose among those of us who were educated within the framework of Western system. The old debate of orthopraxis (correct practice) versus orthodoxy (correct thought) and which should come first. Generally speaking the Latin American Church is called to action according to the situation that it finds itself in, thus right practice creates the general view and thought process of the church as the Gospel mission is carried out, creating correct thought about God and who we are called to treat the other.
A man attending the conference from Jamaica poetically pointed out that when the Gospel was brought to Latin America there was a hope that churches would be established and that these churches would become self-populated and self-reliant, but no one ever thought that the new churches that were formed would become self-theologizing. All this to say that Cassie and I received a good lesson in how the Latin American Church is seeking to function on its own, freeing itself from the imperialism that came along with mission work, and reminding ourselves that we are called to participate within the Church and the body of Christ wherever we find ourselves with humility and grace.
Click here for more in English: