Journal of Latin American Theology, Volume 12, Number 1

Journal of Latin American Theology, Volume 12, Number 1

128 Pages


Special Issue on Being Faithful to God in the Era of Trump
What does it look like to live as citizens under God's reign and as seekers of God's justice in today's world? Donald Trump was inaugurated as the US president on January 20, 2017. Whenever there is a new person in that position, it is good for followers of Jesus Christ to pause and reflect under the light of Scripture regarding not only the new president's policies but also our own responsibilities as the people of God. This issue of the Journal of Latin American Theology is our invitation to pursue that hard work of reflection and action. The resounding message is that Christians today need to express a faithful public witness that Jesus Christ is Lord. The articles herein discuss certain facets of such faithfulness: what it means to be the people of God, just stewardship of money in light of international trade agreements, living simply and working hard to care for the planet God has entrusted to us, Christ-centered as opposed to fear-based relations between native-born and foreigners, understanding and acting upon the biblical connection between shalom and justice, and responding carefully to those who face scarcity in the land of plenty. May our readers be equipped to live as more faithful representatives of God's all-encompassing reign.



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ISSN 1669-8649
Journal of Latin American Theology: Christian Reflections from the Latino South
A publication of the Fraternidad Teológica Latinoamericana
2017 Vol. 12, No. 1
Fraternidad Teológica Latinoamericana President: Eva Esther Morales Secretary of Publications: Edesio Sánchez Cetina
Journal of Latin American Theology: Christian Reflections from the Latino South Editor: Lindy Scott Managing Editor: Gretchen Abernathy Graphic Design: Grupo Nivel Uno, Inc. Translations: Gretchen Abernathy
Editorial and advertising address: Lindy Scott, Whitworth University Westminster Hall 300 W. Hawthorne Road Spokane, WA 99251 Phone: 509-777-4837 Editorial and subscription e-mail: Website:
Subscription rates: One year (two issues) $35 for This issue is available as a stand-alone copy for individuals; $75 for institutions; $85 for institu- purchase, ISBN 978-1-5326-1976-2. tions outside of the United States; single copy Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture quota-$20. For airmail add $5 per subscription per tions contained herein are from the Holy Bible, year. Bulk rate: $5 less per subscription per year New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © for 5 or more copies sent to the same address. 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used Address all subscription correspondence to by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Lindy Scott, Whitworth University, Westmin-ster Hall, 300 W. Hawthorne Road, Spokane, WA Scripture texts marked NABRE are taken from 99251 or email the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Chris-Journal of Latin American Theology: Christian tian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. All Rights Reflections from the Latino South© (ISSN 1669-Reserved. 8649) is published twice a year by the Fraterni-dad Teológica Latinoamericana (FTL), in care of The views expressed herein do not necessarily Lindy Scott. All unsolicited editorial contribu-represent the positions of the FTL. tions must be accompanied by a letter of intro-Copyright © 2017 Fraternidad Teológica Latino-duction and sent by email to lscott@whitworth. americana edu. Submissions in Spanish, Portuguese, and English are accepted. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical publications or reviews, no part of this This periodical is indexed in the ATLA Religion journal may be reproduced in any manner with-Database®, published by the American out prior written permission from the editor. Theological Library Association, 300 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 2100, Chicago, IL 60606 Printed and distributed by Wipf and Stock Pub-Email: lishers, 199 W. 8th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401. Website: This periodical is also indexed in theChristian Periodical Index.
Letter from the Editor Lindy Scott
Prologue: Confessing Resistance or Complicit Silence? Ruth Padilla DeBorst
The People of God as Citizens in an Era of Trump Edesio Sánchez-Cetina
Trade Agreements and Social Change: A View from Latin America Alejandro Escobar
Creation Care, Christians, and the Era of Donald J. Trump: A Caribbean Perspective Las G. Newman
Immigration, President Trump, and Christian Visions of the United States Juan Martínez
“We Don’t Want Them Here”: From the Politics of Rejection to Sustainable Relationships with Immigrants María Alejandra Andrade Vinueza
Our Calling to Pursue Peace and Justice Vilma “Nina” Balmaceda and Chip Zimmer
A Call for Biblical Faithfulness amid the New Fascism: Voices from the Global Evangelical Community
Theopoetry – Dios sin casa / Homeless God Luis Cruz-Villalobos
The FraternIdad TeoógIca LatInoamerIcana (FTL; known In EngIsh as the LatIn AmerIcan TheoogIca FeowshIp) Is a movement of foowers of Jesus ChrIst. SInce Its begInnIng In 1970, It has promoted spaces for theoogIca relectIon and actIon contextuaIzed wIthIn our wonderfu, yet hurtIng, LatIn AmerIca. The dIversIty of the ChrIstIan communIty and a commItment to the KIngdom of God and Its ImpementatIon In the Ife and mIssIon of the LatIn AmerIcan church characterIze our gatherIngs of feowshIp and dIaogue.
We yearn for a LatIn AmerIcan church that, transformed by the Word and the SpIrIt Into an agent of the kIngdom of God and God’s justIce, mInIsters In every area of socIety.
The FTL, as part of the church, provIdes opportunItIes for dIaogue and bIbIca-theoogIca relectIon from LatIn AmerIca. ObjectIves • To promote relectIon on the gospe and on Its sIgnIicance for human beIngs and LatIn AmerIcan socIety. Toward thIs end, the FTL stImuates the deveopment of an evangeIca thInkIng that Is attentIve to the questIons of Ife wIthIn a LatIn AmerI-can context. The FTL recognIzes the normatIve character of the BIbe as the wrItten Word of God and seeks to Isten, under the Hoy SpIrIt’s dIrectIon, to the bIbIca message In reatIon to the reatIvItIes of our concrete sItuatIons. • To create a framework for dIaogue among peope who con -fess Jesus ChrIst as Lord and SavIor and who are wIIng to relect bIbIcay In order to communIcate the gospe wIthIn LatIn AmerIcan cutures. • To contrIbute to the Ife and mIssIon of the evangeIca church -es In LatIn AmerIca, wIthout attemptIng to speak for them or assumIng the posItIon of beIng theIr spokesperson In the LatIn AmerIcan contInent.  www.ft-a.org
Letter from the Editor
t is frequently said that the presidency of the United States is I one of the most important jobs in the world. The impact of a US president’s decisions affects millions of people, within the United States and around our planet. Donald Trump was inaugurated as the US president on January 20, 2017. Whenever there is a new person in that position, it is good for followers of Jesus Christ to pause and reect under the light of Scripture regarding not only the new president’s policies but also our own responsibilities as the people of God. This issue of theJournal of Latin American Theologyis our invitation to pursue that hard work of reection and action.
In her prologue, the renowned speaker, author, and Christian practitioner Ruth Padilla DeBorst expresses the importance of this moment in history for sincere followers of our Lord to give public tes-timony to their faith. There were critical moments in the Bible when believers were asked by God to step up and take a stand. Followers of Jesus in Germany were required to do the same during World War II. And followers of Jesus have done so in the United States of America in numerous situations. In a similar way, Christians today need to express a faithful public witness that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Since Ruth’s prologue introduces each of the articles, I will sim-ply mention how each one answers the question, how shall we who strive to follow Jesus live out our walk with God during Donald Trump’s administration?
Old Testament specialist Edesio Sánchez tackles this issue from the vantage point of what it means to be and live as the “people of God.” Economist Alejandro Escobar then approaches the issue
Lîndy Scott, edîtor of theJournal of Latîn Amerîcan Theology, îs Professor of Spanîsh and Latîn Amerîcan Studîes at Whîtworth Unîversîty în Spokane, Washîngton. A long-term member of the FTL, he has served on the board as Treasurer. He edîted the bookEl cuîdado de la creacîón y el calentamîento global: Perspectîvas del Sur y del Norte(Wîpf & Stock).
Vol. 12, No. 1
Letter from the Editor
from the perspective of commerce and trade, with suggestions for average Christians concerned about how to be faithful, just stewards of money. Las Newman, from Jamaica, points out the connection between faithful living and the care of creation, particularly in an era in which the US government is actively seeking to continue prac-tices that damage the planet God has entrusted to us. Next, Fuller Seminary professor Juan Martínez broaches immigration and charts a path for Christ-centered relations between native-born and foreign-ers in the USA today. Then María Alejandra Andrade analyzes Ezra 9 and 10 in light of the entire witness of Scripture to encourage us to overcome the rejection of the “other” as we relate to immigrants and refugees. Nina Balmaceda and Chip Zimmer urge us to fulîll our high calling to pursue peace and justice. Finally, one of our new regular features is “theopoetry.” Chilean pastor/psychologist Luis Cruz-Villalobos leads us to reect on our “homeless” God and how we respond to those who face scarcity in the land of plenty. We also include a recent document from the International Fel-lowship of Mission as Transformation (INFEMIT). This fellowship brings together Christian leaders from the two-thirds world to dis-cern and act on what God is doing in our world today. In response to troubling political trends happening across our globe, INFEMIT has issued a clarion call to believers to a more faithful public wit-ness. Although some may take issue with the phrase “new fascism,” the document deînes it “as an ideology characterized by fundamen-talist, militant, nationalistic, and racist policies...[which threaten] especially the ‘other,’ be it the poor, the oppressed, or the disenfran-chised—people for whom God has a special concern.” While the îner points of the call may be debatable, the overarching concern is well worth our study and reection as we, here on earth under human governments, seek to live as faithful citizens of God’s reign.
Your brother in Christ, Lindy
Latin American Theology
Confessing Resistance or Complicit Silence?
Ruth Padilla DeBorst
his is not the îrst time: higher walls, tighter borders; the con-T struction, criminalization, and exclusion of “others”; the cat-egorization of everything and everyone into white and black, with black being bad; the self-interested pursuit of proît and security for the few at all costs; military build-up; unaccountable use of power; the legitimation of corruption; the reduction of complex realities to a few hot-button issues; nationalistic rhetoric and the personal aggrandizement of the leader. None of this is new. Yet it is undeni-ably occurring before our very eyes, under our watch, in what has been conceived of as the most powerful nation in the world for sev-eral decades. And its repercussions are being felt the world round. The urgent question for the people who identify as the people of God, the Community of Love, within and beyond the United States is: What does it look like to live as citizens under God’s reign and as seekers of God’s justice in today’s world?
Ruth Padîlla DeBorst serves as provost of CETI (Centro de Estudîos Teológî-cos Interdîscîplînarîos) and Coordînator of the INFEMIT Networkîng Team. She shares the parentîng of theîr blended famîly wîth her husband James and communîty lîfe wîth the members of Casa Adobe în Costa Rîca.
Vol. 12, No. 1
Ruth Padilla DeBorst
In similar times throughout history, when faced by authoritarian claims that competed with the sovereign rule of God, bold confes-sors stood îrm, even risking their lives in the process. Said three friends who resisted bowing to every whim of the king of Babylon: “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Dn 3:16–18). And so they faced the îery furnace. Centuries later, two friends confronted the religious authorities who sought to silence their prophetic presence: “Whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4.19–20, NRSV). And they continued witnessing to the risen Christ in word and deed. When the Roman emperor claimedKyrios Kaiser(Caesar is Lord), daring followers of the Way sung, “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2:10–11, paraphrased), and they contin-ued freeing slaves, establishing alternative “mixed” communities, and caring for the people abandoned by the system. Resistance to the powers that be was not an ideological, partisan matter for them. It was a matter of faith, a confessional demand born from their ultimate allegiance to God’s reign. The same was true for some Christians when anotherKaiserdemanded submis-sion and gained subservient support from many German religious authorities. The words of Albert Einstein attest to the bold stance assumed by the Confessing Church, the signers of the Barmen Dec-laration.
Having always been an ardent partisan of freedom, I turned to the Universities, as soon as the revolution broke out in Germany, to find the Universities took
Latin American Theology
Confessing Resistance or Complicit Silence?
refuge in silence. I then turned to the editors of pow-erful newspapers, who, but lately in flowing articles, had claimed to be the faithful champions of liberty. These men, as well as the Universities, were reduced to silence in a few weeks. I then addressed myself to the authors individually, to those who passed them-selves off as the intellectual guides of Germany, and among whom many had frequently discussed the ques-tion of freedom and its place in modern life. They are in their turn very dumb. Only the Church opposed the fight which Hitler was waging against liberty. Till then I had no interest in the Church, but now I feel great admiration and am truly attracted to the Church which had the persistent courage to fight for spiritual truth and moral freedom. I feel obliged to confess that I now 1 admire what I used to consider of little value.
More recently, from within the so-called “land of the free,” another follower of Jesus similarly stepped out in brave resistance to the claims of nation over and against the authority of Christ:
Citizenship in this or that nation can never exhaust the meaning of our vocation, or preempt the claim of Christ with its own claim on our conscience. Beyond the beat of war drums, national law, ideology and frenzy, beyond denial, even beyond our crimes and betrayals, 2 we are bound over to the Prince of Peace.
He, too, was penalized for confronting the powers that be in the name of the gospel.
1. Cited by Ernst Christian Helmreich,The German Churches under Hitler: Background, Struggle, and Epilogue(Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1979), p. 345. 2. Daniel Berrigan,Testimony: The Word Made Flesh(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2004), 56.
Vol. 12, No. 1
Ruth Padilla DeBorst
It is never easy to step outside of the reality created by ofîcial rhetoric, especially when it is legitimized by the religious establish-ment. This issue of theJournal of Latin American Theologyaffords its readers an opportunity to become aware of the quality of the air they naturally breathe by hearing voices from outside. As Richard Hughes notes,
There is perhaps no more compelling task for Ameri-cans to accomplish in the twenty-first century than to learn to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Those of us who view America as a good and compas-sionate nation are almost always people who have benefited from its policies. We are not victims of oppression or persecution…. There is, however, anoth-er side to this story. It comes from those whose voices are seldom heard—from the poor and dispossessed, not 3 only in this country but also throughout the world.
The contributors to this issue would not claim to be counted as poor or dispossessed. Studies and work have granted them oppor-tunities most of their fellow countrymen and women would never dream of having. Neither would the authors point the înger as judges from more innocent places. They have all felt the iron îst of authoritarian regimes in their countries and been part of churches that chose to remain silent. At the same time, in their daily lives and through the practice of their professions, they have also wit-nessed and felt the impact of US public and international policy. They hail from Peru, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Jamaica, and the Latino United States, yet, regardless of their ofîcial citizen-ship, they share a clear sense of belonging to a realm other than the one marked by their places of birth. Joined by a commitment to
3. Richard T. Hughes,Myths America Lives By(Urbana: University of Illinois, 2004), 1.
Latin American Theology