Socialist Theology in the Assemblies of God in Brazil
Socialist evangelicals in Latin America have become revolted that C. René Padilla, who was scheduled to deliver the main lecture on Theology of Integral Mission at FAECAD (Assemblies of God Evangelical School in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) in March 10, 2017, had his lecture cancelled. His lecture would be sponsored by World Vision Brazil.
In an article titled “Welcome to the Past! In Solidarity to Dr. C. René Padilla, Now Nicknamed a ‘Marxist Christian,’” published by the left-wing Latin American Theological Fellowship, Harold Segura decried the cancellation and assured that the Theology of Integral Mission has nothing to do with Marxism.
His article purports, according to his own words,
“To express that I am uncomfortable with the cancellation of the lecture and my uneasiness with the reasons that justified it. To cancel such lecture by labeling as Marxist a lecturer as Padilla is to ignore what Marxism is, is to ignore who René Padilla is and forget the way a theological reflection is done.”
Segura also said,
“I think that what happened in Rio de Janeiro is a sign confirming what we are seeing also in other Latin American nations: a resurgence of past discussions. The return of old Christian squabbles of the 1970s and 1980s, when TIM appeared. In that time, those daring to talk about social responsibility in the churches were labeled communists; those venturing to preach in defense of social justice were under suspicion of Marxist militancy, and those believing in preferential option for the poor were excluded for being undesirable liberation theologians.”
In his Twitter account, Segura showed solidarity to Padilla and also to the gender ideology, by saying,
“Do you know what is gender equality? UNESCO explains key concepts for discussing in a very informed way.”
Actually, UNESCO does not explain gender equality. UNESCO advocates and promotes it. In 2012, UNESCO and other UN agencies asked Brazilian president to criminalize “homophobia.”
The gender ideology is one of the main left-wing banners promoting the homosexualist agenda. But Segura does not accept the label “Marxist” even when he carries its banner.
He decries the defeat of several left-wing governments in Latin America, and he recognizes that most these governments were promoting the gender ideology. He recognizes that Socialist President Dilma Rousseff was impeached especially by the Evangelical Parliamentary Caucus, among several reasons, over the gender ideology.
He sees these defeats as throwbacks to the Theology of Integral Mission (TIM). While he tries to defend TIM as a non-political theology, he cannot help lamenting over the political defeats of the Left in Latin America.
About 50 years ago, C. Peter Wagner warned in Latin American evangelical congresses that TIM was Marxist. In 1969, when participating in CLADE (Latin-American Congress of Evangelization), Wagner distributed his book that affirmed that the mission of the church is to prioritize personal salvation and warned of the dangers of leftist theology. He gave his book because evangelical leaders were beginning to praise TIM.
In the 1st Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in 1974, while Padilla was leading efforts to promote TIM, Wagner was leading conservative efforts against TIM.
Nevertheless all resistance decades ago, TIM grew internationally. Today, thanks to John Stott and his incredible work of make-up and enabling, TIM dominates Lausanne as an elegant social theology. Wagner’s resistance has been forgotten and TIM Latin American theologians have prevailed.
In 2014, Lausanne paid Wagner’s resistance back in the same coin, by holding in Brazil a meeting of Lausanne leaders against Wagner and his apostolic movement. The meeting was led by TIM leaders, especially Rev. Valdir Steuernagel.
In my 2013 e-book “Theology of Liberation vs. Theology of Prosperity,” there is a special endorsement by C. Peter Wagner, where he said,
“It is very important to be aware of the inroads that Marxist ideology has made into some branches of Christianity. In Latin America the nice-sounding concept of misión integral (integral mission) has turned out to be a thinly-disguised platform for leftist politics. Julio Severo understands this and he skillfully exposes these potentially harmful ideas in his book, Theology of Liberation vs. Theology of Prosperity. In it he helps bring forth the reality that even deeper and more permanent social change from poverty to prosperity can be effectively produced by proclaiming and practicing the biblical doctrine of the kingdom, opening the door for the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. This is a book that I highly recommend!”
For information on how to get the e-book “Theology of Liberation vs. Theology of Prosperity,” click ON THIS LINK.
Wagner’s warnings 50 years ago and today are very important. If TIM has nothing to do with Marxism, why do its adherents defend the gender ideology and the left-wing governments in Latin America that promote this ideology and several other anti-family ideologies?
Padilla’s lecture on Theology of Integral Mission at FAECAD was publicized within its institution in a very subtle and discreet way.
By the explosive reaction of TIM adherents, I suppose the lecture was cancelled.
Marcos Habib, a Brazilian who introduces himself in his Facebook as a “follower of Jesus Christ” and “communist militant,” said,
“There is again the litany of conservative ministers against the lecture at FAECAD (Assemblies of God Evangelical School) with René Padilla. Shi***ng boring people. They do not know the Theology of Integral Mission, but they criticize it as if they did it. What these people really want is to control church-goers. When there are church-goers engaged, there is a church fighting for the emancipation of the oppressed and the poor. Who is Julio Severo??? A talker, spoilt and a sh**.”
Rev. Mateus Feliciano, a theologian and TIM advocate, sent me a private message asking me to remove articles against TIM and Padilla; if not, he would report me. And in his Facebook account he asked publicly,
“Gang, I ask your assistance to remove a post of religious intolerance and deceptive information here in Facebook. Please, read this post and report!”
Religious intolerance because of a Christian view disagreeing with socialism and TIM?
Yet, my warning probably came too late. In his article of solidarity to Padilla, Harold Segura assured that in February 2016 he delivered the main lecture at FAECAD. He spoke about the Theology of Integral Mission and ecumenism.
I had thought that Padilla would be introducing TIM for the first time in the Assemblies of God. Segura has already done it. Padilla would only reinforce the initial introduction. TIM is already present in the Assemblies of God in Brazil through their most important theological institution.
Segura informed his readers that he is travelling to São Paulo, Brazil, to speak at the congress Integral Mission: Ways and Perspectives in the 21st Century. The congress is happening this week.
According to Segura, this major TIM congress will be sponsored by World Vision Brazil, and will have several speakers who are TIM advocates, including René Padilla, Ariovaldo Ramos, Ed René Kivitz, Valdir Steuernagel (whom he called a friend and former director), Christian Gillis, Carlos Pinheiro Queiroz, Ziel Machado and Regina Sánchez.
Ariovaldo Ramos, one of the main TIM advocates in Brazil, is famous for having defended socialists Hugo Chavez and Dilma Rousseff. Why then try to say that TIM has nothing to do with socialism and politics?
TIM adherents praise Marxists and advocate Marxist politics, including the gender ideology, but do they refuse the label “Marxist” for their theology?
Valdir Steuernagel is a powerful leader in the Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession in Brazil (ECLCB).
ECLCB has international liberal leaders. Rev. Walter Altmann, a former ECLCB president, is the moderator of the World Council of Churches and he is an international theologian renowned for defending Liberation Theology (LT).
Steuernagel is known in Brazil as a TIM activist and internationally known for his leadership roles in the Lausanne Movement and in the World Evangelical Alliance.
From this pro-LT and pro-TIM liberal environment, what can result? A homosexualist theologian called Andre Musskopf.
With Altmann, ECLCB is in the Liberation Theology forefront.
With Steuernagel, ECLCB is in the Theology of Integral Mission forefront.
With Musskopf, ECLCB is in the Gay Theology forefront.
Of course, Steuernagel is not more prominent in TIM advocacy than Calvinist Ariovaldo Ramos and Caio Fábio.
TIM has no problem to walk hand in hand with Liberation Theology and Gay Theology.
Yet, if you cannot call TIM and its adherents socialist and liberal, so it follows that you cannot call ECLCB and its leaders liberal and socialist.
If Segura, Padilla and other liberal evangelicals want to defend the gender ideology at ECLCB and other liberal denominations, they will be warmly welcome there.
Yet, why do they insist in conquering the Assemblies of God, the largest evangelical denomination in Brazil?
Portuguese version of this article: Teologia socialista na Assembleia de Deus no Brasil
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