Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

Liberation Theology Foreword

Traditionally, and until recent years, Latin America only absorbed ideas - new things and systems of European origin used the new continent as a free laboratory. Ideologies and theologies from North America did the same.

Besides, there are the economic and social realities which always seem more tangible and present than the ideas from which they inexorably grow and on which they feed. In this complex set of ideological, economic and sociological wheels, some leaders of native thought saw the reality of some exploiters and many exploited, of the rich who become richer and the poor who become poorer, or oriental palaces for the few and miserable slums for the majority. Thus was born Liberation Theology.

In many ways, this birth should be applauded. It was obviously necessary to examine objectively the sad continental conditions. It is perfectly understandable, and even acceptable, that many, with the shameful evidence of the past and the desperation of failure, became enthusiastic about the new theological phenomenon. They were in urgent need of some working tool.

Sadly, from an almost total dependence (almost addiction) to foreign and denationalizing ideas, now people want to go to the other extreme of a total independence from all such formulas. Inevitably, however, the ideas born in Peru or Mexico or Argentina are quickly affected by ideologies which are perhaps more foreign and denationalizing than the others. After doing theology in exclusive defence of aristocracies, now they do theology in exclusive defense of the poor. It has always been true that all extremes are danger zones.

The author has demonstrated singular analytical capacity by writing about this burning issue. His criticisms, very clear and well founded, are permeated with compassion. Above all, he has had the good sense to keep radically faithful to the only book that is worthy of complete confidence. Here, Liberation Theology receives not only a contemporary examination but also a biblical one.

JUAN S.BOONSTRA DIRECTOR, SPANISH DEPARTMENT THE BACK TO GOD HOUR
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