Academic journal article Mennonite Quarterly Review

Fifth Latin American Anabaptist Consultation: Declaration of Commitment

Academic journal article Mennonite Quarterly Review

Fifth Latin American Anabaptist Consultation: Declaration of Commitment

Article excerpt

One hundred forty participants representing 17 countries met at the Mennonite Evangelical Theological Center in Asuncion, Paraguay, February 9-14, 1999 for the fifth Latin American Anabaptist Consultation to reflect together on the theme "Anabaptism in Latin America--Challenges for the 21st Century." During these days we were challenged to reflect on our future as Latin American Anabaptists in the light of our historical roots and our contemporary contexts. In a special way we attempted to apply these to our missionary task, to our social presence and to the development of leadership among the people of God.

A CHURCH IN MISSION

In our critical reflection we recognized that all too often we have been "a church without a mission, we have been a mission without being church and, at best, we have been a church together with a mission, but only rarely have we been a truly missional church." However, "today more than ever, the people of Latin America cry out for a community at the service of God's reign, ... a community in which the signs of the kingdom of God are present, giving a moral authority to the church for offering authentic hope in the midst of situations characterized by hopelessness." (1) We therefore commit ourselves to being a missionary church, evangelizing and forming communities which ate true alternatives to secular social structures, communities which articulate clearly their nonconformity to the powers opposed to Christ, communities which do not fear being witnesses and martyrs.

SOCIAL PRESENCE

The missional task of the church involves a concrete social presence. This arises out of its commitment of faithfulness to Christ which becomes visible not only in its personal and familial relationships, but also in its management of money, in its economic relationships, in the ways in which it deals with socioeconomic, ethnic, cultural and political conflicts. We recognize the seductive danger present in the exercise of power in our political and community relationships. We recognize the Christian call to advocacy in all of those times and places where signs contrary to God's kingdom manifest themselves. …

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