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Changing Tides: Latin America and World Mission Today

Article excerpt

Changing Tides: Latin America and World Mission Today. By Samuel Escobar. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2002. Pp. xv, 206. Paperback $28.

When I first met Samuel Escobar in 1974, I never realized how our relationship would develop. It was he who saw to it in the late 1990s that I joined a Circle of Prayer for Christian Unity in Cochabamba, a relationship that has affected me deeply. His recent book made me realize how close I feel to him as a missiologist, an ecumenist, and a brother Christian.

Eleven out of the thirteen chapters are a translation, adapted for an Englishspeaking readership, of Escobar's Tiempo de mision: America Latina y la mision cristiana hoy (Bogota, 1999). The book performs a valuable service by informing a wider world about the mission awareness and responsibility that has developed in recent decades in Latin America among Christians of both the Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions. Escobar, a Baptist, has much to teach Catholics about Protestant mission vitality, and Protestants about the Catholic mission renewal. He is impressively well informed about the latter; it is difficult to find any factual errors in his description of Catholic organizations or events. As a Roman Catholic, I am extremely appreciative of his insightful understanding-historically objective, academically critical, yet ecumenically sympathetic-of how Catholic theological vision has helped shape missionary activity and church life. He also acknowledges how the Catholic Church in its recent evangelizing renewal has learned to acquire certain typically "Protestant" values, such as the primacy of the testimony of the Scriptures, the need to offer people above all a personal encounter with Jesus, the vocation of laypeople, and the importance of the local church community. …