- liberation theology
- During the 20th century, various groups challenged the universality of traditional Christian theology. They suggested that established church theologies did not speak for the whole church, but only for the ecclesiastical and political leaders and those who supported them. They condemned theologians who found it relatively easy to support corrupt governments, oppression of the poor, colonial structures, and other institutionalized social injustices. Most crucially, they claimed, theology reacted blindly to the Nazi Holocaust.Such critiques were very popular in Latin America. In the late 1950s, a new organization, Church and Society in Latin America, initiated primarily by Methodists and Presbyterians, began to analyze social and church structures from a Marxist perspective. Thinkers such as Emilio Castro (b. 1927), Julio de Santa Ana, Ruben Alves, and José Mi'guez Bonino, together with Roman Catholics such as Gustavo Gutierrez and Juan Luis Segundo, reflected on the relationship between faith and poverty, and between the Gospel and social justice. They began to call for revolutionary change in how the church operated and for an end to unjust social patterns. They drew energy from the actions of Vatican II. Among their early works were A Theology of Human Hope (1969) by Brazilian Presbyterian Ruben Alves and A Theology of Liberation (1971) by Peruvian Gustavo Gutierrez. Within the Catholic Church, many priests associated with Maryknoll, the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, have identified with liberation theology; Maryknoll's press, Orbis Books, has published many of the movement's texts.The liberation theologians asserted that genuine theological reflection had to begin with a commitment to the struggles of the poor. Their position drew heavily on passages in the Gospels in which Jesus spoke of the poor and other outcast groups. As liberation theology developed, it saw liberation as the main theme of God's work in history: Christ's liberation of individuals from sin; the formation of a new humanity for a new society (the kingdom of God); and the liberation of the poor from oppression economically, politically, and socially.Liberation theology found an international advocate in Uruguayan Methodist Emilio Castro, who became the general secretary of the World Council of Churches in 1985. However, critics saw liberation theology as politicizing the church to an unacceptable degree. They said it led Christians to a too-hasty identification with violent revolutionary movements. other critics were opposed to any use of Marxism, which they saw as an atheist philosophy that had produced communism, a far greater scourge than Latin American governments.Liberation theologians have continued to evolve and remain a strong force in Latin America. They made common cause with emergent Protestant communities in Africa and Asia as well. in the United States in the 1970s, women and African Americans created new traditions of theological inquiry - black theology, feminist theology, and womanist theology.Further reading:■ Ruben Alves, A Theology of Human Hope (New York: World, 1969)■ Emilio Castro, Amidst Revolution (Belfast: Christian Journals, 1975)■ Gustavo Gutierrez, A Theology of Liberation (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1971)■ Arthur F McGovern, Liberation Theology and Its Critics (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1989)■ Paul E. Sigmund, Liberation Theology at the Crossroads (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.
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Liberation theology — is a school of theology within Christianity, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church. It emphasizes the Christian mission to bring justice to the poor and oppressed, particularly through political activism. Its theologians consider sin the root … Wikipedia
liberation theology — n. a Christian theology incorporating political, esp. Marxist, theory and seeking to liberate people, esp. of the Third World, from economic or political oppression … English World dictionary
liberation theology — a 20th century Christian theology, emphasizing the Biblical and doctrinal theme of liberation from oppression, whether racial, sexual, economic, or political. [1970 75] * * * Roman Catholic movement that originated in the late 20th century in… … Universalium
liberation theology — Several Roman Catholic theologians working in impoverished communities in Latin America have emphasized that both in the OT and in the NT injustice and oppression have been condemned in the name of God. The books of Exodus and 1 and 2 Macc.… … Dictionary of the Bible
Liberation Theology — A radical theology that arose in the Latin American Catholic Church during the 1960s. Unlike the traditional church in the region, which had aligned itself for centuries with the military and the wealthy elites, practitioners of liberation… … Historical Dictionary of the “Dirty Wars”
liberation theology — N UNCOUNT Liberation theology is the belief that the Christian Church should be actively involved in politics in order to bring about social change … English dictionary
liberation theology — noun a form of Christian theology (developed by South American Roman Catholics) that emphasizes social and political liberation as the anticipation of ultimate salvation • Hypernyms: ↑theology, ↑theological system … Useful english dictionary
liberation theology — noun Date: 1972 a religious movement especially among Roman Catholic clergy in Latin America that combines political philosophy usually of a Marxist orientation with a theology of salvation as liberation from injustice • liberation theologian… … New Collegiate Dictionary
liberation theology — libera′tion theol ogy n. rel a modern Christian theology stressing liberation from racial, economic, and political oppression • Etymology: 1970–75 libera′tion theolo gian, n … From formal English to slang
Liberation Theology — A system of theology which initially arose in South America: it makes use of Marxist categories and stresses justice and God’s bias to the poor … Who’s Who in Christianity