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Catholicism and the Missionary Work
The history of how Catholicism conquered Mexico, Middle America, and South America is a complex one, spanning several centuries and involving a range of social, political, and cultural factors. To understand how this process occurred, we must first examine the historical context of the region and the arrival of the Spanish in the New World.
The Spanish Conquest
In 1492, the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella funded Christopher Columbus’s journey to find a new trade route to the East Indies. Instead, Columbus discovered the Caribbean islands and began the Spanish conquest of the New World. Soon, other Spanish explorers arrived in the Americas, and in 1519, Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico.
Cortés and his men were motivated by the prospect of riches and conquest, and they quickly set their sights on the Aztec Empire, one of the most powerful empires in the region. Despite being greatly outnumbered, Cortés and his men managed to defeat the Aztecs in a series of battles, and by 1521, the capital city of Tenochtitlán had fallen.
The Conquest of Middle and South America
Following the conquest of Mexico, the Spanish continued their expansion into other parts of the New World. In 1532, Francisco Pizarro arrived in South America and conquered the Inca Empire, and by the mid-16th century, the Spanish had established a vast colonial empire stretching from present-day California to Chile and Argentina.
The Role of Catholicism
From the beginning of their conquest, the Spanish brought with them the Catholic faith, and they saw their mission as not just one of conquest but also of conversion. The Spanish viewed the native populations as pagan and in need of salvation, and they saw themselves as the instruments of God’s will. Thus, Catholicism became a powerful tool of conquest, used to legitimize the Spanish presence in the New World and to impose their culture and religion on the native populations.
The Catholic Church was instrumental in the conquest of the New World in several ways. Firstly, the Church provided the Spanish with a moral justification for their actions. The Spanish believed that they were bringing Christianity to a heathen world, and they saw their conquest as a holy mission. The Church reinforced this belief by offering indulgences to those who took part in the conquest, effectively granting them absolution for their sins.
Secondly, the Church played a key role in the colonization process. The Spanish established missions throughout the New World, which served as both religious and political institutions. The missions were often the first point of contact between the Spanish and the native populations, and they served as centers for conversion, education, and cultural assimilation.
The Role of Violence
Despite the efforts of the Church, the conversion process was not always peaceful. The Spanish used violence and intimidation to force the native populations to convert, and those who resisted were often subjected to brutal punishment. The Spanish justified their actions by claiming that they were fighting a just war against the pagans and that they were doing so for the glory of God.
In many cases, the native populations were forced to work in mines and on plantations, and they were subjected to harsh conditions and brutal treatment. The Church often turned a blind eye to these abuses, seeing them as a necessary evil in the process of colonization and conversion.
The Legacy of Catholicism in Latin America
The legacy of Catholicism in Latin America is a complex one, marked by both positive and negative aspects. On the one hand, the Catholic Church played a key role in the colonization and conversion of the region, and its influence can still be seen in the culture, politics, and religion of many Latin American countries today.
On the other hand, the Church’s role in the conquest was not always a positive one, and its actions often had devastating consequences for the native populations. The forced conversion of the native populations often resulted in the destruction of their traditional cultures and beliefs, and many indigenous languages, customs, and practices were lost forever. The Church’s alliance with the Spanish crown also contributed to the subjugation and exploitation of the native populations, who were often forced to work in harsh conditions for little or no pay.
Moreover, the Catholic Church’s influence on Latin American politics has been a mixed blessing. While the Church played an important role in the liberation movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, it has also been complicit in many of the region’s political and social problems. The Church’s close ties to the ruling elites have often made it hesitant to speak out against injustice and inequality, and its conservative stance on issues such as contraception and abortion has limited its ability to address the social and economic issues facing the region.
In recent years, the Catholic Church in Latin America has undergone significant changes. The Church has become more socially engaged, working to address issues such as poverty, social inequality, and human rights abuses. The Church has also made strides in its relations with indigenous communities, acknowledging the damage done by the conquest and seeking to promote cultural diversity and respect for indigenous traditions.
In conclusion, the history of how Catholicism conquered Mexico, Middle America, and South America is a complex one, marked by both positive and negative aspects. While the Church played an important role in the conversion and colonization of the region, its actions were often marked by violence, exploitation, and cultural destruction. However, the Church’s influence on Latin American culture, politics, and society cannot be ignored, and it continues to be an important force for change and social justice in the region.
Protestantism and the Missionary Work
the Protestants also underwent a similar history in the New World, although their experience differed in some significant ways from that of the Catholic Church.
In the early 17th century, English Protestant settlers arrived in what is now the United States, seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity. Like the Spanish Catholics, the English Protestants saw themselves as on a mission from God, and they believed that they had a divine right to conquer and settle the land.
Unlike the Spanish Catholics, however, the English Protestants did not see conversion as their primary goal. Instead, they focused on building self-sufficient communities based on their religious beliefs and social norms. These communities were often closed and insular, with strict codes of conduct and little tolerance for dissent or nonconformity.
The English Protestants also differed from the Spanish Catholics in their approach to the native populations. While the Spanish often saw the native populations as inferior and in need of conversion, the English tended to view them as potential trading partners or allies. However, as the English settlements grew and expanded, they came into conflict with the native populations, and many native people were displaced, enslaved, or killed in the process.
Moreover, the English Protestants were not a monolithic group, and there were many different Protestant denominations represented in the New World. These denominations often competed with one another for influence and power, leading to sectarianism, conflict, and religious wars.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Protestantism became an important force for social and political change in the Americas, particularly in the United States. Protestant movements such as the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement, and the women’s suffrage movement played key roles in advancing social justice and equality.
In conclusion, while the Protestants underwent a similar history to the Catholics in the New World, their experience differed in some significant ways. The English Protestants focused on building self-sufficient communities based on their religious beliefs, while the Spanish Catholics saw conversion as their primary goal. The English also tended to view the native populations as potential trading partners, while the Spanish saw them as in need of conversion. Nonetheless, both the Catholic and Protestant experiences in the New World have had a lasting impact on the history, culture, and politics of the Americas.
Some Rationalizing On Behalf of Protestantism Missionaries
Many people claim that Christian missionaries impose their culture on others. They accuse them of weakening the cultural resistance of native peoples and opening the door for colonists and Western capitalism. Some even go so far as to call missionary work enslavement or genocide. However, these extreme accusations are based on stereotypes and caricatures that are often unfounded and unfair.
Although some missionaries have fit certain aspects of these stereotypes, it is important to recognize that the early church faced similar issues in its efforts to spread the gospel. The apostles rejected the imposition of traditions on new converts, and the fact that such disagreements are recorded in Scripture testifies to its historical reliability. Churches should be vigilant against imposing local customs on other people groups, but missionaries can still take their own culture with them without imposing it on others.
In fact, missionaries have recognized cultural diversity and pioneered the study and preservation of native cultures and languages. Many have lived alongside native people and learned their language in order to translate the Bible. They have helped preserve cultures and languages and even courageously identified with native peoples. The stereotype of Christianity as white and Western misrepresents the church’s origin and ignores the reality that its centers of gravity have moved to Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Stereotypes that treat Christianity as Western and native cultures as weak are not only culturally biased but also unintentionally racist. All cultures fall short of biblical standards and need the gospel, and while criticism of missionary methods can be helpful, it should be informed and fair. Stereotypes of missionaries are neither helpful nor accurate.
Modern-day Protestant Missionary Work
Christian Protestant missionary work has undergone significant changes and improvements in the 20th and 21st centuries. These changes are the result of a growing awareness of cultural sensitivity, a greater emphasis on social justice, and the use of new technologies and methods to spread the gospel.
One of the most significant changes in Protestant missionary work in the 20th and 21st centuries has been a growing emphasis on cultural sensitivity. Missionaries now recognize the importance of respecting the cultures and traditions of the people they are trying to reach. They are learning local languages and customs, and adapting their message to fit the cultural context. This approach is known as contextualization, and it has helped to bridge the gap between missionaries and local communities.
Another important change in Protestant missionary work has been a greater emphasis on social justice. Many missionaries now see themselves as agents of change, working to address the social and economic issues facing the communities they serve. They are working to combat poverty, injustice, and inequality, and to promote human rights and sustainable development. This approach is sometimes called “integral mission,” and it reflects a holistic understanding of the gospel as both a message of salvation and a call to action.
The use of new technologies and methods has also transformed Protestant missionary work in the 20th and 21st centuries. Missionaries are now using social media, mobile apps, and other digital tools to spread the gospel and connect with people around the world. They are also using new methods such as church planting movements, which focus on starting new churches in a grassroots way, rather than through traditional missionary methods.
Despite these changes, Protestant missionary work still faces many challenges in the 21st century. One of the biggest challenges is the rise of religious pluralism and secularism, which have made it more difficult for missionaries to share the gospel. Missionaries also face political and social obstacles, such as government restrictions on religious freedom and the threat of violence and persecution.
Nonetheless, Protestant missionary work continues to make a significant impact around the world. Missionaries are working to transform communities and to spread the message of hope and salvation. They are responding to the changing needs of the world and adapting their methods to fit the context. As a result, they are making a real difference in the lives of people around the world.
In conclusion, Protestant missionary work has undergone significant improvements in the 20th and 21st centuries. Missionaries are increasingly aware of the importance of cultural sensitivity and social justice, and they are using new technologies and methods to spread the gospel. While the challenges facing Protestant missionary work are many, the impact of this work continues to be felt around the world. Missionaries are making a real difference in the lives of people, and their work is a testament to the enduring power of the gospel.
Not Getting Lost In the Weeds of Integral Missions
The book, Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community By Ed Stetzer, and David Putman is used in many seminaries across the land, including Liberty University. This author would argue that Breaking the Missional Code is just one more threat to the unification of Christianity. It propagates the idea that you are to mold your church to reflect the makeup of your community. First, what exactly do these authors mean by Breaking the Code?
“Breaking the code does not mean just finding the best model (or models) for your community. Instead, it means discovering the principles that work in every context, selecting the tools most relevant for your context (which may come from methods and models), and then learning to apply them in a missionally effective manner. It means thinking missiologically, and ‘if we are not focusing on missiology then we are being disobedient to the Great Commission.’ According to Mittelberg, ‘For those of us who have our sights set on reaching secular people in our increasingly post-Christian society, we must step back and figure out what our mission field’s cultural landscape looks like.’” (Stetzer and Putman 2006, p. 2)
Contextualization, Seeker-Movement, or Seeker-Sensitive Methods of Evangelism = Nine Parts World to One Part Christian
Ed Stetzer’s article in Christianity Today focuses on the concept of contextualization, which involves presenting the Gospel in a way that is culturally relevant to different communities. Culture refers to the shared beliefs, customs, and social behavior of a particular group of people. Contextualization takes into account these cultural differences and aims to present the unchanging truths of the gospel in a way that is authentic to each unique culture and worldview.
This approach is necessary because people interpret the world and the things they hear differently based on their cultural background. Contextualization, therefore, is an important component of effective Gospel ministry. However, it is important to be cautious of some seemingly innocent terms and ideas, such as the “seeker-movement” or “seeker-sensitive” approach.
These terms are associated with some megachurches in the United States that aim to make churches more accessible and sensitive to the needs of spiritual seekers. While these churches often use creative elements to impart Christian messages in a culturally relevant way, some have been criticized for watering down the Gospel in order to attract more people. This approach can be seen as being more focused on numbers and success than on staying true to the message of the Gospel.
For almost 500 years since the Reformation, Christianity has overlooked the importance of being missional to their community. Now, they are seeking ways to make up for lost time. However, some are now advocating for churches to become more like the world in order to attract more people. They believe that this is the modern interpretation of Paul’s statement, “I have become all things to all people that by all means, I might save some.” But what if Paul were alive today and encountered a cultural practice that goes against the teachings of the Gospel?
As Christians, we are called to humbly share the Good News with all people without judging them based on their race, culture, or background. The authors, Stetzer and Putman, suggest that the way one dresses is an issue when it comes to knowing your mission field. However, we must be cautious not to compromise the teachings of the Gospel in our efforts to reach out to others.
The message of the Gospel is not about conforming to the ways of the world in order to attract more people. Rather, it is about sharing the message of salvation with all people, regardless of their cultural background. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
It is true that churches should be missional, reaching out to their communities. However, it is important that they do not compromise their values and beliefs in order to please the world. We should not adopt any changes that would violate Scripture, nor should we water down our standards to fit in. It is important to find a balance between respecting cultural differences and staying true to our faith.
An indigenous church is one that is reflective of its community, with leadership and expressions that reflect the context. At the same time, it serves as a transforming agent in the culture. However, it is the members of the church who should reflect the image of God, not the other way around.
The goal should be to reintroduce people to God’s Word, rather than reintroducing them to church. We should strive to conform the world to the true Christian, biblical way, as stated in Romans 12:2. It is important to reach out to the unchurched and share the Gospel with them, but we must do so in a way that is true to our beliefs and values.
The author of this article argues against the notion that churches should become more like the world in order to attract people. While contextualization is important in sharing the Gospel with diverse cultures, churches should not compromise their values or water down Scripture to please the world. The author points out that there is a difference between respecting cultural attire and wearing clothing that reflects the world’s values. The idea of indigenization suggests that a church should reflect the community in which it is planted while also serving as a transforming agent. The author argues that the goal should be to conform the world to the biblical Christian way rather than conforming to the world.
The author acknowledges that many denominations call themselves Christian but believes that many are becoming more like the world and less like their Creator. Instead, the whole congregation should go into the community and share the Gospel through effective training in witnessing, communication, reasoning, and teaching. The author refutes the idea that evangelism training is ineffective and cites Jesus’ own example of spending 3.5 years training his disciples in evangelism.
Luke 6:40 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
The author challenges the idea presented in Breaking the Missional Code that churches should become more like their communities in order to attract people. Instead, the focus should be on training the congregation to effectively share the Gospel and evangelize the community while still upholding biblical values and standards.
The effectiveness of Jesus and his early disciples is cited as an example of successful evangelism. Their work spread throughout the Roman Empire and led to the displacement of pagan religion as the official religion by 400 C.E.
The author also takes issue with the idea that churches should adopt models that align with the culture of their community. Rather, the objective should be to convert the community into Christians, not the other way around. The focus should be on having a biblical model and then learning to effectively reach the cultural milieu(s) within the community.
The authors of Breaking the Missional Code are criticized for their missionary-minded approach, which may work well in overseas contexts where there is a single culture, but may not be as effective in diverse communities within the United States. The author emphasizes the importance of maintaining biblical standards while effectively sharing the Gospel and reaching the community.
It’s important to consider the context of the community, including social status, but we shouldn’t compromise biblical principles in the process. It’s not necessary to spend millions of dollars on a church building or for pastors to wear expensive suits just to fit in with wealthy congregants. And avoiding sermons on money issues because it might offend the wealthy would be a disservice to the congregation.
The Bible teaches us to be good stewards of our resources and to be generous to those in need. These principles should be upheld regardless of the social status of the congregation. Building a church that is reflective of the community doesn’t mean we should mimic their spending habits or values. Instead, it means creating a welcoming environment that invites people from all backgrounds to come and hear the Gospel message.
As the apostle Paul wrote, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). This doesn’t mean compromising our beliefs, but it does mean finding ways to connect with people from all walks of life. By doing so, we can effectively share the Gospel message and make disciples of all nations, as Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).
A Biblical Church
- The Bible is their foundation in faith, truth, and practice
- Biblical preaching
- The worship is based on Scriptural principles
- The building is designed based on Scriptural principles
- The music chosen is based on biblical principles
- The education is biblical
- The worldview and lifestyle of its members is biblical
- Its evangelism is patterned after the New Testament
- The pastors and servants are chosen based on Scripture
- The structure of leadership is based on Scripture
- Church discipline is based on Scripture
- Organized and governed based on Scripture
- And so on …
All the while, its members can relate to whoever is in the community. It has an acceptance of cultural aspects that is biblical as well. This means that they are welcome to engage in any cultural lifestyle that does not violate Scripture. For example, a woman could wear any dress that is relevant to her culture as long as it is modest. While the book hints at this, many of its statements throughout belie what is truly biblical. Persons struggling with sin and unbiblical cultures can attend the church. Still, they must be working with the pastor to overcome any ongoing sins they are struggling with or any cultural lifestyle that is not harmonizing with God’s Word.
The Christian mission is to spread the Good News to all people, no matter their culture or background. Unfortunately, many Christian denominations have become more worldly, losing sight of their values and standards. We must remember that the objective is to convert the community into Christians, not to convert the church into a community pleaser. We should have a biblically-based church that welcomes all cultures and accepts aspects of their culture unless it violates Scripture.
There are millions of North Americans who are receptive to the Gospel, and we must reach out to them. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Seventh Day Adventists are already making progress, but true Christianity is struggling to make an impact. This is because Christendom is not going out and winning over potential disciples. To fulfill the Great Commission, all Christians must carry out the mission, not just pastors. We must make disciples who live, love, and leave behind what Jesus did.
To turn our churches into an army for breaking the unbroken code, we must make a biblically-based church that reflects the New Testament in principle. Members must be trained to effectively share God’s Word with all people in their community, regardless of their culture. We should aim for a maximum of 150 members in a church and divide and build another church in the same area to grow out from our local-missional-minded church.
Discernment is keenly selective judgment. In other words, we have the ability to judge well, and our ability to determine is finely tuned and able to sense minor differences, distinctions, or details, to obtain spiritual direction and understanding. A Christian with both knowledge and discernment can make decisions that if Jesus were in our place and in our imperfect human condition, he would have made the exact same decision. One way we can use discernment is in sharing biblical truths with others who possess different worldviews and backgrounds to save some. The apostle Paul said,
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may gain more. 20 And so to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those under the law I became as under the law, though I myself am not under the law, that I might gain those under the law. 21 To those without law I became as without law, although I am not without law toward God but under the law toward Christ, that I might gain those without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 But I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
It is important to note that even though Paul stated that he became like the people he was trying to reach in order to save them, he never acted in a way that went against God’s will and plans. In modern-day Christianity, there are examples of heavy metal bands that claim to be Christian but appear to be mostly influenced by the world. These bands are more worldly than Christian, and it is doubtful that someone like Timothy, a student of Paul’s, would have joined them. Many churches try to evangelize the world by becoming like it, but this is just an excuse for loose behavior. While we used an extreme example, there are many other minor and major examples of this behavior in modern Christianity. Jesus often used hyperbole, or exaggeration, to emphasize his point, but in our time, we do not need to exaggerate because there are real-life examples of Christian metal bands that are more influenced by the world than by their faith.
THE FALSE TEACHER
We have a YouTuber that is a false teacher. He is twisting the Scriptures, which seem correct but are not, so as to mislead. Please read this material before watching his video so the truth stands out clearly. This man is arguing for contextualization, seeker-movement, or seeker-sensitive methods of evangelism, as was mentioned in the above portion of this article.
This commentator is offering true texts, then offering texts that are not being interpreted correctly, so we have a mixture of truth and lie.
He said there were verses that back up the belief that music can be harmful, likely inferring that it only applies to the secular heavy metal bands, not Christian metal. He quotes John 17:16 and Romans 12:2:
John 17:16 English Standard Version (ESV)
16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
Romans 12:2 English Standard Version (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
He then says, “Music is neutral; it is neither good nor bad, but depends on how you use it.”
This is the Truth
This point is actually correct and dismisses his entire argument that Christian metal can be used as an evangelism tool. He then says, “there are many Bible verses to support this view,” wherein he quotes Psalm 98:4 and 150:5. We have quoted them for you below.
Psalm 98:4 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 Make a joyful noise to theLord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Psalm 150:5 English Standard Version (ESV)
5 Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
This is the False
He is using verses that were designed for servants of God singing praises to God, not music that is designed to cater to the flesh, to be Satanic-like so that the worldly ones will consider God. He is misinterpreting these verses, twisting them so they appear true, just as he wants unsuspecting ones to accept Christian metal as the truth.
His weak argument is that ‘we need Christian Metal to reach those who are into the metal music genre because people from the church have no other way of reaching them.’ Really, the only place we can find metal music fans is at concerts? They cannot be found in their home, on the phone, on the internet, at work, in the waiting room, at the doctor’s office, or in other places in society. The reason that the church cannot reach these ones is the same reason they cannot reach billions of others. They do not go out into their communities to share the gospel. The church has not trained churchgoers to share their faith effectively. These latter points are the problems of evangelism. The solution is not to partake of the table of demons or be like the world to save some. The solution is to train church leaders in evangelism, who in turn train the churchgoer in evangelism so that they can use all facets of reaching the people, including metal fans.