Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion Presents ‘History of Latin American Evangelicalism’

Oct. 8, 2020

The event is the inaugural conference of the Institute’s Evangelical Studies Program

Media Contact: Terry Goodrich, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-710-3321
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by Cerenity Austin, student newswriter, Baylor University Media and Public Relations

WACO, Texas (Oct. 8, 2020) — The Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) this week is virtually presenting the inaugural conference of the Evangelical Studies Program on the “History of Latin American Evangelicalism.”

The conference, which concludes at noon Friday, Oct. 9, was organized by David Bebbington, Ph.D., Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at Baylor and Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Stirling in Scotland and ISR Fellow.

Conference events consist of pre-recorded papers, live Q&A sessions with presenters and participants, as well as sectional interest groups.

“Participants will want to ask questions of the speakers and the presenters about the special interest groups,” Bebbington said. “Most of the questions will no doubt seek further information, but some may challenge interpretations being offered.”

Paper topics featured in the conference include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Puerto Rico, as well as thematic papers on theology, charismatic renewal, historiography and demography.

Bebbington said the conference is a series on various aspects of the evangelical movement in the United States and in other lands, and the ISR expects that the theme next year will be “Evangelicals and Religious Liberty.”

“There are scholars from over 18 different countries represented in the presentations and discussions of the conference,” said Lori Baker, Ph.D., vice provost for faculty development and diversity and professor of anthropology. “I am especially grateful to Professor David Bebbington.”

Baker said she believes this conference, which falls under Baylor’s Five Signature Academic Initiatives, will spark new collaborations, partnerships and perhaps even new affiliations for Baylor.

Illuminate

As part of the Illuminate strategic plan to become a Research 1/Tier 1 university, Baylor has established Five Signature Academic Initiatives, including Baylor in Latin America, to position the university to become one of the nation’s most extensively engaged faith-based universities with regard to engagement in the Americas.

“I am particularly excited about this conference because it exemplifies both Baylor’s mission and Baylor’s strategic plan, Illuminate,” Baker said. “In the words of President Livingstone, we aspire for Baylor to be a preeminent research university that is unambiguously Christian – where the search for new knowledge is not simply for the sake of knowledge, but for the love of all truth illuminated by our Christian faith. There is a need for exceptional scholars to study evangelical Christianity beyond the confines of the U.S.”

Bebbington said that in 2019, 19% of Latin Americans self-identified as evangelicals, and the reasons behind the emergence of this phenomenon call for illumination.

“I have worked in Latin America and alongside Latin American scholars in the area of forensic science and anthropology for almost 30 years and I have learned that religion plays such a key role influencing virtually every aspect of life in Latin America,” said Lori Baker, Ph.D., vice provost for faculty development and diversity. “It is often impossible to make sense of the present, if you do not first understand the past. The religious landscape has dramatically changed in Latin America over the last several decades with the evangelical movement.”

For information, visit the Institute for Studies of Religion website.

ABOUT THE BAYLOR INSTITUTE FOR STUDIES OF RELIGION

Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) initiates, supports and conducts research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute’s mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. For more information, visit www.baylorisr.org.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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