Los Protestantes: An Introduction to Latino Protestantism in the United States

Los Protestantes: An Introduction to Latino Protestantism in the United States

Los Protestantes: An Introduction to Latino Protestantism in the United States

Los Protestantes: An Introduction to Latino Protestantism in the United States

Synopsis

"Los Protestantes: An Introduction to Latino Protestantism in the United States," the first to provide a broad introduction to this rapidly growing population. At its core is an exploration of the group's demographics, denominational tendencies, and potential for continued growth. Current information is supported by a survey of the history of Latino Protestants in the United States, which dates back to the efforts of missionaries in the mid-19th century.

"Los Protestantes" brings together data from formerly disparate studies of various aspects of the community to create an insightful overview. The work presents brief descriptions of principal denominations and organizations among Latino Protestants. It notes marked differences that separate Latino Protestants from other U.S. Protestants, and it examines an evolving Protestant/Latino ethno-religious identity. Readers will come away from this study more clearly understanding the current state of Latino Protestantism in the United States, as well as where Latino Protestants fit in the overall picture of U.S. religion.

Excerpt

In many ways this book is a family biography. Rafaela García, my greatgreat-grandmother, became a Protestant believer at the beginning of the 20th century in south Texas. She became a part of a small religious minority, within an ethnic minority (though Latinos have always been the majority in south Texas). Her conversion influenced her daughter, Anita García, and my grandmother, Juanita Cáceres (Guerra, by marriage). Juanita prayed that her children would enter ministry, and she saw my parents become pastors before she died in 1965. Juan and Bertha (Rafaela’s great-granddaughter) Martínez have been pastors in small Latino congregations since the early 1960s in south Texas, central California, and now Colorado. I became a pastor in the 1970s and have pastored Latino churches in Texas, California, and Guatemala. That makes me a fifth-generation Latino Protestant, a rare bird in the growing ethno-religious minority of Latino Protestants in the United States.

Though Latino Protestants are a religious minority within an ethnic minority in the United States, we are growing in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the Latino community. Though we are a small part of U.S. Protestantism, we are one of few populations where Protestantism is growing in this country.

The growing Latino community, and the growing Latino Protestant community in particular, is a harbinger of change in the United States. Latinos are now the largest “minority” group in the United States, and they continue to grow, both because of higher-than-average birth rates and because of new immigration, both legal and undocumented. Latinos are a significant part of a changing demographic reality in which it is estimated that “whites” will . . .

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