By Cleary, Edward L.
International Bulletin of Missionary Research , Vol. 26, No. 3
Evangelicals and Politics in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
By Paul Freston. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001. Pp. xiii, 344. $60.
Paul Freston provides readers with the first systematic account of evangelical Christians and politics in the developing world. Freston has been studying Protestantism in Brazil since research on his doctoral dissertation some years ago and has been lecturer in sociology at the Federal University of Sao Carlos in Brazil. He widened his research on Protestantism worldwide while teaching at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. Pew Charitable Trusts later funded the opportunity for him to assess the wide range of materials on evangelicalism and politics in subSaharan Africa, major countries in Asia, and eight Latin American countries.
The result is a valuable publication that pushes discussion of a controversial topic much further along than current debates often do. Interpreters of evangelical politics have ranged from those who presume evangelicals are otherworldly folk who disdain thisworldly approaches to politics to those who attribute evangelicals' newly discovered political activism largely to outside sources, principally money and missionaries from the United States. …