Discerning an Integral Latino Pentecostal Theology of Liberation -- By: William P. Payne

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 045:1 (NA 2013)
Article: Discerning an Integral Latino Pentecostal Theology of Liberation
Author: William P. Payne

Discerning an Integral Latino Pentecostal Theology of Liberation

William P. Payne*

Theological Foundations

Christian scripture witnesses to an integral liberation associated with a holistic salvation. In the Gospels, the reign of God extends to the spiritual, the social, and the physical domains. Jesus’ teachings, nature miracles, exorcisms, healings, cleansings, feeding the hungry, forgiving sins, social witness, and personal example evidence this as they reveal the expanding contours of the in-breaking kingdom. He announces God’s reign, manifests the kingdom, calls people to repent, and invites them to align with it by becoming his disciples. His resurrection declares his triumph over the powers and portends an eschatological renewal in which the kingdom of God will be fully realized.

In this age, the church serves as an instrument of holistic salvation as it works for the dethroning of spiritual powers of wickedness, the reordering of fallen societies, and the discipling of the nations. Discipled peoples rightly relate to God, each other, and the natural world. The church’s apostolic calling compels it to witness to the resurrected Christ and the in-breaking kingdom by word, deed, and sign as it invites all to align with God’s reign. In short, the triune God sends the church into the world as the Corpus Christi to manifest and enlarge God’s kingdom. The church does not establish the kingdom. Rather, it embodies it while serving as God’s royal agent in the world. God has called, equipped, and sanctified the church for this mission.1 As such, an integral Pentecostal theology of liberation should model Jesus’ ministry, touch all the realms in which God’s reign extends, and be holistic.

Social Context in Latin America

The phrase “Latin America” represents an artificial construct that has been imposed on those who live in the region. In actuality, most Latin Americans self-identify by nationality or ethnic grouping. Of late, due to mass media and other aspects of globalization, Latin America as a collective category has grown in acceptance.

Some have attempted to define Latin America as those countries south of the United States that speak a romance language.2 Obviously, this conceptualization does injustice to the large populations of native peoples who speak indigenous languages.3 Still, for all its ethno-linguistic diversity, the vast majority of Latinos to include lusophones in Brazil and indigenous peoples, understand and/or speak Spanish. In this paper,...

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