- Ecuador became independent in 1830. By that time, Roman Catholicism had come to dominate, though the religions of the native peoples survived, especially in remote regions.Protestantism first came in 1824 through James Thompson (1788-1854), the ubiquitous agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Permanent work had to wait until Ecuador repudiated its concordat with the Vatican. Three missionaries of the Gospel Missionary union (GMu) arrived in 1896, joined the next year by representatives of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA). The GMU work evolved into the Evangelical Missionary union Church, the largest Protestant body in the country. in 1931, CMA layman Clarence Jones launched HCJB, the Voice of the Andes, the first religious radio station outside of the United States. The station, under the care of the independent World Radio Missionary Fellowship, now serves all of Latin America with programming in a number of languages.Mainstream Protestant churches neglected Ecuador, resulting in its development as a bastion of Evangelicalism.Pentecostalism has made headway, led by the Assemblies of God, the International Church of the Foursquare GosPEL,the Church of God (Cleveland,Tennessee), and the United Pentecostal Church International. Ecuador has also been responsive to the efforts of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Jehovah's Witnesses, who are second in size only to the Evangelical Missionary union Church among non-Catholics. of the several indigenous churches, the iglesia independente National, with more than 35,000 members, is the largest. in recognition of the maturing of the mission field, the early Inter-Mission Fellowship was replaced in 1965 by the Ecuador Evangelical Fellowship, now affiliated with the World Evangelical Alliance.In 1945, four of the older denominations (the Evangelical and Reformed Church, the United Brethren, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the United Presbyterian church) created a joint effort, the United Andean indian Mission, now known as the United Evangelical church of Ecuador; it remains a minuscule part of the Protestant scene.See also South America.Further reading:■ K. Carpenter, Religion in Ecuador: From Paganism to Protestantism (Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany Theological Seminary, Th.D. diss., 1992)■ A. M. Goffin, The Rise of Protestant Evangelism in Ecuador, 1895-1990 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1994).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.