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date: 18 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter starts by reflecting on the historic European and North American dominance of theology, including ecclesiology, and by noting that in recent decades minority voices from the global South have begun to make themselves heard, salient among them liberation theologians. Liberation theology, emanating from—but not confined to—Latin America, is introduced. It has developed a new theological method, with radical implications for ecclesiology. In liberation theology the principal subjects of the church are not the members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, but the poor or otherwise marginalized, gathered in ‘base communities’ to read the Bible in the light of their experience of oppression. The gospel message is not primarily concerned with individual salvation but with social and economic justice and the sustaining of communities of mutual support. The targets of Liberation Theology also include colonialism, racism and ethnocentrism, gender discrimination, and oppression on grounds of sexual orientation.

Keywords: Base Christian Communities, Church of the Poor, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Latin America, liberation theology, Oscar Romero, Pentecostalism, Roman Catholic Church, Vatican II

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