Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

The Poor in Liberation Theology: Pathway to God or Ideological Construct?

Magazine article International Bulletin of Mission Research

The Poor in Liberation Theology: Pathway to God or Ideological Construct?

Article excerpt

The Poor in Liberation Theology: Pathway to God or Ideological Construct?

By Tim Noble. Sheffield, U.K.: Equinox Publishing, 2013. Pp. xii, 244. 60 [pounds sterling]/$99.95.

Tim Noble studied in Brazil from 1991 to 1994, and today he teaches liberation theology in Prague. The Poor in Liberation Theology is an abridgment of a thesis arising from "a practical frustration which has led to a theoretical questioning" (p. 1): frustration he experienced with pastoral agents who idolized the poor, leading him to question how the poor might be allowed to be iconic without their being idolized. He examines definitions of the poor in the Bible and in liberation theology as the downtrodden, the victims of unjust structures, and those treated as nonpersons. God's preferential, not exclusive, love for them is his free choice.

Liberation theologians use the concept of idolatry to describe capitalism. Here Noble draws on the work of Pablo Richard, who finds two understandings of idolatry in the Old Testament: reducing God to the material so as to control his power, and worshiping of false gods (43). …

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