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How the North Can Serve the South by The Exchange

How can the church in the North serve the church in the global South - Latin and South America? In this short article, guest author Edgar Aponte, who serves as Director of Hispanic Leadership Development and Instructor of Theology at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. outlines ways that churches can best serve their brothers and sisters in the churches of the South. And the answer may not be what you were expecting.

In 1996, Guatemalan singer-songwriter Ricardo Arjona released “Si el norte fuera el sur” (If the north were the south). In this song, in a type of Willie Nelson spirit, Arjona explores and criticizes the cultural-political differences as well as the relationship between the United States and Latin America. There are tons of similarities between the North and the South—at the end we are both westerners. Yet we have different cultures, different mindsets and different heritages.

While Evangelicalism reached the North through the theology of men like John Cotton, Thomas Hooker and Roger Williams, in Latin America it has been through the theology of people like E. W. Kenyon, Kenneth Hagin and Kathryn Kuhlman. Thus evangelicalism in Latin America is an amalgamation of positive thinking, prosperity gospel, theological moralism, subjectivism, with a touch of anti-intellectualism. Despite this heritage, in recent decades we have seen a recent awakening for sound evangelical teaching, something that should be cherished and we should praise God for.

When confronted with the above situation, some people ask: but what about the hundreds of missionaries the American churches have sent over the last 60 years to different countries in Latin America?

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Image sourced from Flickr and used under a Creative Commons License.