Voices from the global church: Latin America

“Why send books and not shovels? Because we are called to write the vision - to make it plain and easily read. Because books can equip God’s people for their part of God’s work in God’s world - provoking new thinking, nourishing hope, and empowering for action.” Dr. Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Center for Interdisciplinary Theological Studies, Costa Rica

On October 3, 2017 friends and supporters gathered at the Network’s annual dinner to celebrate the work of our Majority World partners and to introduce a new initiative to further support Latin American schools. Our speaker, Colombian theologian Dr. Ruth Padilla DeBorst (pictured above), presented a challenge:

If theological books are truly going to contribute to faithful living on the part of Christians around the world, then the teaching must be clearly written in the language of the people from within their cultural context. There is growing acknowledgement on the part of the church in historic centers of Christianity that God’s mission moves from everywhere to everywhere. Could that acknowledgment be accompanied by a parallel realization that the theological production and practice of fellow Christians out there can contribute to faithful living here? How might the Network contribute to making heard the voices of theologians from around the globe? Creative responses could surely open new horizons and contribute to sowing hope in groaning lands.

Here at the Network, we envision a day when every Christian college, university, and seminary in the Majority World has access to the educational resources it needs to equip church leaders. This vision includes the production and dissemination of publications written by local scholars for local communities in the languages most accessible to those communities. It was with this vision in mind that the Network initiated projects such as, the African Theology Collection containing publications by African theologians, and the Centre for South Asia Research, an advanced research library on the campus of South Asia Institute for Advanced Christian Studies in Bangalore, India, which provides regional scholars sabbatical opportunities for writing and publication.

This year we are thrilled to continue our mission of providing theological resources to Colombia as we continue to explore more opportunities to build our Spanish language collection. David, a Ph.D. theology student from Peru recently shared, “The need is huge. At the seminary where I taught, the library’s books were archaic. Public libraries were mainly filled with the popular thought on Christianity. This was dangerous because many students were often swayed by the thought of the times, rather than an in-depth theological understanding of the gospel.” Thank you for your continued support of this important mission.