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All articles in category Americas

November 2006
Jamaica

Jamaica’s religions

Jamaica has a number of mainly home-grown religions — some are syncretistic between Christianity and animism. The most important cult is Pocomania. Its meetings are frenzied — with prayers, dances and rhythmic drumming. Adherents go into a trance, aided by rum and ganja (marijuana/cannabis). The most African of the cults is Kumina. It is strongest in the St Thomas parish. Based on the worship of ancestor spirit-deities, it seeks to appease the wandering spirits of dead people. Goats are sacrificed and vigorous drum beating is important. The sect uses a ritual Bantu language from the Congo, where it originated.Rastafarianism evolved as an expression of poor...

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November 2006
Jamaica

Jamaica fact file

Location: The third largest island in the Caribbean Sea, lying south of Cuba. Area: 4244 square miles.Environment: Jamaica is mountainous (Blue Mountain Peak, 2256m) and prone to earthquakes and hurricanes. It has a tropical climate.Population: 2.8 million. Another 1.3 million have emigrated to North America and UK.Infant mortality rate: 16/1000 live births. Life expectancy: 73 years.Ethnic groups: Afro-Caribbean 94%; Asian/Afro-Asian 5%; Euro-American 1%. Many are descended from slaves brought in during the 17th-19th centuries. Languages: English (Official), Creole. Literacy: 85%.Capital: Kingston (900,000). Urbanisation: 50%.Economy: The economy is dependent on services, which account for 60% of GDP. Jamaica derives foreign exchange from tourism and the export...

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Reaching into Jamaica
November 2006
Jamaica

Reaching into Jamaica

From a historical perspective, Jamaica is an island that has been reached with the gospel. We have freedom of religion; the population has access to thousands of churches; and Jamaica claims to be a Christian nation. However, there are still opportunities for missionaries to labour here, especially in the areas of theological education and works of mercy. Reformed theological education in Jamaica is woefully lacking. There is also a noticeable disconnection between what the average Christian professes and how the average Christian lives. There is an urgent need for believers to have a Christian world-view and to present an authentic Christianity that challenges individuals, institutions...

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Evangelicalism in Jamaica
November 2006
Jamaica

Evangelicalism in Jamaica

Roman Catholicism came to Jamaica in 1494 during Christopher Columbus’ second expedition from Spain. In 1655 the Spaniards were driven out of the island by the British, who introduced Anglicanism. Evangelical Christianity arrived in the eighteenth century with the Moravians. They were opposed to slavery, which had been introduced by the Spaniards and continued by the British to support Jamaica’s plantation economy. Slavery was for a long time strongly defended by Jamaican planters and related commercial interests in Britain.The first Baptist to arrive — in the late eighteenth century — was Moses Baker. He had been a slave in the USA but bought his freedom...

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FIEL’s fourth Brazilian youth conference
October 2006
Brazil

FIEL’s fourth Brazilian youth conference

The vision to have a reformed conference for Brazilian youth arose out of two issues. First, we were concerned about the increasing apathy and superficiality in the Brazilian evangelical church and in Christian youth in general. Secondly, we knew that some young people went to great lengths to attend Editora Fiel’s (a reformed publisher in the Portuguese language) annual leadership conferences. The need to schedule a serious conference for young people was being pressed upon us. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Leaning upon the mighty God’. Its purpose was to encourage all to stand firmly upon the word of the Almighty. One young man described it ‘as a return to...

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Missionary Spotlight-EP Conference, USA
February 2006
United States of America

Missionary Spotlight-EP Conference, USA

The first Evangelical Press Conference in the USA took place on 11-13 November 2005 at Berean Baptist Church, Grand Blanc, Michigan, under the title, ‘The gospel of Jesus Christ: defended and proclaimed’. Over the past five years the church has seen several hundred people brought to Christ and the conference had a corresponding evangelistic thrust. We were glad to welcome as speakers Dr John Blanchard and Pastor Roger Ellsworth, along with members of the EP board. We were also delighted that the Lord drew many visitors to each of the sessions, with congregations of up to 500 filling the auditorium to near capacity. John Blanchard...

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Missionary Spotlight-New Age spirituality
January 2006
Chile

Missionary Spotlight-New Age spirituality

Chile was just entering winter. I disembarked from the airplane at 3.00am but the morning would reveal the gorgeous, snow-covered Andean mountains surrounding Santiago, the capital city.   I was looking forward to helping translate at a conference on the New Age movement and a gospel response to it. The visiting speaker would be Dr Peter Jones (Professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, California) but I would also be giving my own series on ‘Integral growth for the church’. As the first group came together on Monday night, I noticed some from the middle and upper classes. As in many other cities of...

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Missionary Spotlight-Chile’s first Reformed Baptist church
January 2006
Chile

Missionary Spotlight-Chile’s first Reformed Baptist church

As the congregation of twenty or so people sing of the cleansing of the blood of Christ, the fresh, glistening snow on the nearby Andes mountains provides a vivid illustration of that cleansing flood. After the singing, Pastor Omar Ramos moves to the makeshift pulpit. The congregation’s expectation of being challenged by the Word of God is palpable. His words are measured and his reasoning polished. Those who have come for the first time are surprised to hear an exegetical presentation of the Word, and not a homily or a ‘seeker friendly’ presentation of biblical truths encased in cultural news items. Instead, they are confronted...

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January 2006
Chile

Missionary Spotlight – Fact File – Republic of Chile

Fact File – Republic of Chile Area: 292,135 square miles. Chile measures some 2,650 miles from north to south, but on average is less than 110 miles wide. It has archipelagoes in the south and owns Easter Island in the south Pacific.   Neighbours: Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.   Environment: Chile lies between the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Andes Mountains (Nevado Ojos del Salado, 6,880 metres) on the east. It ranges from hot desert in the north to Antarctic tundra. It is subject to earthquakes and volcanoes. Rivers flowing from the Andes are important for irrigation.   Population: 16 million. Life expectancy:...

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Missionary Spotlight-The Reformed Faith in Chile
January 2006
Chile

Missionary Spotlight-The Reformed Faith in Chile

The Reformed faith has been propagated in Chile for nearly two centuries. This is reflected by the Protestant work ethic present in everyday life in Chile – especially in the capital, Santiago. This doctrinal conviction was initially fed by 150 years of immigration from European countries including Germany. Over this time, the Presbyterian Church steadily grew, especially among the middle and upper middle classes. Today Presbyterianism is represented in Chile by four separate denominations. Among these is the Presbyterian Church of America – which has recently been seeking to release Chilean pastors from having to complete years of formal theological training so they can do...

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Missionary Spotlight-Sola Scriptura in Argentina
July 2005
Argentina

Missionary Spotlight-Sola Scriptura in Argentina

On 31 October 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Church – and Sola Scripturabecame the battle cry of Protestant Europe and the dread of every Roman Catholic scholar. Once again this battle cry has been sounded, but now in the southernmost part of Latin America – Argentina. ARBCA missionary Don Donell organised the first distinctly reformed pastors’ conference in the Cordoba province, and the first for many years in the city of Buenos Aires. The conference focussed on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. In Argentina millions live under the spiritual tyranny of Catholic traditions and pagan superstitions. The Bible...

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Missionary Spotlight-Sola Scriptura in Argentina
July 2005
Argentina

Missionary Spotlight-Sola Scriptura in Argentina

On 31 October 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Church – and Sola Scripturabecame the battle cry of Protestant Europe and the dread of every Roman Catholic scholar. Once again this battle cry has been sounded, but now in the southernmost part of Latin America – Argentina. ARBCA missionary Don Donell organised the first distinctly reformed pastors’ conference in the Cordoba province, and the first for many years in the city of Buenos Aires. The conference focussed on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. In Argentina millions live under the spiritual tyranny of Catholic traditions and pagan superstitions. The Bible...

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