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date: 10 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Protestant missions to Guatemala, in varying degrees, incorporated innovative oral, visual, and audio evangelizing strategies in their proselytizing. The traditional mainline Protestant bias favoring the “triumph of literacy” over oral/audible forms of learning sidetracked those missions engaged in vernacular translations of the Bible away from direct evangelization and toward investment of significant financial and human resources into literacy programs. Pentecostals continued to emphasize the oral/aural dynamic of evangelizing, thereby becoming the quickest-growing and largest segment of Protestantism in Guatemala. Consequently, institution-building requisite for investment in traditional forms of human capital (education and health) has not characterized Protestantism in Guatemala. This argument can be extended to other regions of the world—notably the rest of Latin America, Asia, and Africa—laying the foundation for a broader, global understanding of Pentecostalism and low investment in human capital.

Keywords: Pentecostal missions, evangelical Protestantism, Bible translation, oral/aural evangelism, literacy and evangelism, Protestant missions in Guatemala

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