King's Evangelical Divinity School

27 September 2009

The Evolution of Liberation Theology

Although I write about Latin American Pentecostalism, from time to time I am sometimes asked about another expression of faith and politics which was important in 1980s Latin America: liberation theology. The big question, of course, is why liberation theology, which promised so much to Latin America's poor, has not met with anywhere near the same amount of success as Pentecostalism, which finds its greatest strength among the very same socio-economic group liberation theology sought to champion. I talk about this at length in the last chapter of my Revolution, Revival, and Religious Conflict in Sandinista Nicaragua and will post something about it here in due course. But in the meantime, for those who are interested in how liberation theology has evolved you might want to read the following review article I did for the Church Times. In short, I argue liberation theology's evolution has made it an essentially academic discipline played out in the university ivory tower, rather at the barrio (or shanty town) level. Thus, it has lost its very central defining feature: praxis.

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