Intersecting Paths in Latin America: Convergence and Divergence of Liberation Theology & Integral Mission

Af Dr. Omar Palafox, adjunkt ved Abilene Christian University.

“There is no authentic evangelization that is not accompanied by action in behalf of the poor.” ―Gustavo Gutiérrez, We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People.[i]

“From the perspective of integral mission, transcultural mission is far from exhausting the significance of the mission of the church. Mission may or may not include a crossing of geographical frontiers, but in every case it means a crossing of the frontier between faith and no faith primarily, whether in one’s own country (“at home”) or in a foreign country (on “the mission field”), according to the testimony to Jesus Christ as Lord of the whole of life and of the whole creation.”  ―René Padilla, What is Integral Mission?[ii]


In the intricate landscape of Christian theology, two prominent Latino movements—Liberation Theology and Integral Mission—emerge as potent forces shaping the discourse on faith’s interaction with social justice. Originating in Latin America amidst profound socio-political upheaval, these frameworks challenge traditional ecclesiastical boundaries and redefine the church’s societal role. Liberation Theology (LibThe), born from the depths of poverty and oppression, advocates for a radical interpretation of the Gospel that emphasizes social and political liberation as fundamental to divine justice. By echoing this transformative call, Integral Mission (MisInt) broadens the church’s mission to encompass holistic human development, integrating spiritual renewal with tangible acts of justice and compassion. As we delve into the convergence and divergence of these movements, this essay seeks to illuminate how both frameworks have uniquely and collectively influenced Christian praxis and theological thought, empowering marginalized communities and fostering a comprehensive understanding of the Gospel’s mandate for justice and reconciliation. What implications do these theological movements hold for contemporary Christian communities globally, and how can they inform our ongoing pursuit of justice and human dignity in an increasingly complex and interconnected world?

Two Theologies

These Latin American frameworks provide a robust theological foundation for Christians engaged in the fight against social injustices. They highlight the inseparable link between faith and social action, stimulating intellectual engagement and deepening understanding of the Christian mission. LibThe emerged in Latin America in the 1960s as a revolutionary movement within the Christian theological community.[iii] It was primarily a response to the pervasive poverty, social injustice, and political oppression experienced by the poorest in Latin America. Influenced by the social and political milieu of the time, including the socialist revolution in Cuba and the presence of military dictatorships, LibThe sought to interpret the Christian faith through the suffering, struggle, and experience of the poor.[iv] MisInt, or holistic mission, is a concept within Christian missiology that advocates for the church’s role in addressing the entire spectrum of human needs—spiritual, physical, social, and emotional. This approach to mission reflects a theological understanding that emphasizes the interconnectedness of evangelism and social action. The term gained prominence in the latter half of the 20th century, influenced by global evangelical movements recognizing the need to integrate social justice with evangelical outreach.

LibThe is significant because it emphasizes the liberation of oppressed peoples so they realize God’s justice on earth. It critiques the existing socio-economic structures that perpetuate inequality and explores the role of Christian theology in advocating for radical social change. This theological framework underscores the importance of understanding the Gospel as a call to action against injustice, promoting a preferential option for the poor, and aligning church activities with the needs and aspirations of marginalized communities. MisInt, a critical tool in addressing social justice issues, emphasizes the church’s active role in proclaiming the Gospel and fighting against poverty, injustice, and inequality. It views human beings holistically, stressing that Christian outreach should cater to all aspects of human life. This approach promotes active engagement in transformative actions that address spiritual salvation, systemic injustices, and human development. MisInt advocates for a church that not only preaches but also practices justice, mercy, and humility, empowering the audience to take responsibility in the fight against social injustices.

Historical and Cultural Context

LibThe and MisInt emerged in Latin America during the 20th century in response to the region’s socio-political and economic realities of widespread poverty, inequality, oppression, and human rights violations. The historical events and cultural factors that contributed to their rise included the influence of Catholic Social Teaching, the Second Vatican Council, the growth of grassroots movements and Base Ecclesial Communities (CEBs), Marxist and dependency theory analyses, and the leadership of prominent theologians like Gustavo Gutiérrez,[v] Leonardo Boff,[vi] and Jon Sobrino.[vii] While sharing some similarities, such as an emphasis on social justice, human dignity, and a preferential option for the poor, they also have distinct foundational principles and methodological approaches. LibThe, rooted in a Catholic framework, focused primarily on addressing systemic causes of oppression through a reinterpretation of theology based on the lived experiences of the poor. With a more ecumenical orientation, MisInt emphasized a holistic approach to human development, encompassing spiritual, physical, social, and economic dimensions. The application of these theological frameworks in different Latin American countries was shaped by local cultural values, historical contexts, and socio-economic realities, leading to diverse expressions and adaptations. Indigenous cosmovisions, African diasporic influences, experiences of oppression, and socio-economic disparities all influenced their manifestations in various national contexts.

Both LibThe and MisInt profoundly impacted social and political activism in Latin America, empowering marginalized groups, promoting non-violent resistance, advocating for land reform and environmental justice, and influencing political parties and social movements. However, their growth was also influenced by the complex interactions between church and state, particularly during authoritarian regimes and human rights abuses, which nurtured and challenged these movements. Prominent liberational theologians and church leaders, such as Oscar Romero,[viii] Pedro Arrupe,[ix] and Sergio Torres,[x] played crucial and deeply personal roles in shaping these theological frameworks’ discourse and practical application. Meanwhile, MisInt theologians like René Padilla,[xi] Samuel Escobar,[xii] C. René Arana,[xiii] Orlando Costas,[xiv] Pedro Arana,[xv] and Harold Segura[xvi] shaped the integration of the gospel. Their dedication and influence have inspired generations of clergy, laypeople, and activists to fight for justice and liberation, underscoring the personal commitment and impact that can drive transformative movements.

In recent decades, historical developments, including democratization, economic policies, indigenous rights movements, urbanization, and the emergence of new social issues, have necessitated adaptations and new emphases within these theories. Their influence has not been confined to Latin America. Still, it has extended globally, inspiring contextual theologies, social justice advocacy, ecumenical cooperation, theological education, interfaith dialogue, and transformations in missiology and development practices. This global reach underscores the depth and breadth of their impact. Over time, perceptions of these theologies within Latin American societies and churches have evolved, facing periods of enthusiasm, resistance, backlash, persecution, institutionalization, diversification, and renewed relevance. Despite these challenges, these theological frameworks have demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability, maintaining their significance as powerful forces for social transformation, human dignity, and the pursuit of integral well-being for marginalized communities. This enduring legacy should inspire hope and admiration for their transformative power. LibThe and MisInt have impacted Christian theology and praxis in Latin America and worldwide. Their impact on social and political activism, their contribution to contextual and postcolonial theologies, and their ongoing relevance in addressing contemporary injustice and oppression solidify their enduring legacy as transformative theological movements rooted in the pursuit of liberation, justice, and integral human development.

Theological Foundations and Key Concepts

While LibThe and MisInt draw upon different biblical texts and accents, both frameworks robustly affirm that social action is a critical, non-negotiable expression of Christian faith. Each, in its way, calls the church to be an agent of change, advocating for a faith that actively engages with the world to reflect the redemptive purposes of God. Although distinct in their approaches and emphases, theyare deeply embedded in the biblical narrative. LibThe is primarily characterized by its focus on the prophetic themes of justice and liberation. This framework often draws upon the Exodus narrative as a central motif, where God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage is seen as a paradigm of God’s concern for the oppressed and God’s active intervention to bring about liberation. Additionally, the teachings of Jesus, particularly those found in the Beatitudes and parables such as the Good Samaritan, underscore God’s preferential option for the poor and marginalized, illustrating that God’s kingdom is revealed among those in the lowest social strata.

In contrast, the MisInt emphasizes a holistic approach to the Christian mission, which involves the proclamation of the gospel and the demonstration of its implications through acts of compassion and justice. This approach is rooted in the Great Commandment, where Jesus instructs His followers to love God and neighbor, thereby linking the love of God with tangible acts of love towards others. The Great Commission, where Jesus commands His disciples to make disciples of all nations, is seen as a call to evangelism and to engage in transformative social action, reflecting the Kingdom of God in every aspect of life.

In both LibThe and MisInt, social action is not merely a supplement to the theological discourse but is a vital expression of faith. For adherents of LibThe, social action—particularly in the form of advocacy for justice, the fight against oppression, and the empowerment of the marginalized—is a direct outgrowth of the biblical call to emulate God’s concern for justice (Micah 6:8). This action is seen as an essential part of living out the Christian faith, where faith without works is deemed incomplete (James 2:14-26). It challenges systemic structures of power and calls for a prophetic critique of policies and practices that perpetuate inequality and injustice. MisInt also sees social action as an indispensable aspect of the gospel. It posits that evangelism and social involvement are complementary, not compartmentalized. The holistic nature of the mission suggests that to preach the gospel without addressing the physical, social, and emotional needs of individuals would be to neglect the comprehensive example of Christ, who ministered to both the spiritual and physical dimensions of human existence. As such, social action in this framework manifests the Kingdom of God, marked by righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

The Church’s Role in Society

The Church is envisioned not merely as a spiritual institution concerned with the salvation of souls but as a transformative force actively pursuing social justice and the integral well-being of humanity. These theological frameworks challenged the traditional understanding of the Church’s role, casting it as a prophetic voice and agent of change in the face of systemic oppression, poverty, and marginalization. Through the lens of LibThe, the Church is called to embody a preferential option for the poor, standing in solidarity with the oppressed and championing their cause for liberation.[xvii] This theology asserts that the Church cannot remain neutral or detached from the struggles of the marginalized but must actively participate in unmasking and dismantling the structures that perpetuate injustice. The CEBs, which emerged as grassroots movements within LibThe, exemplified this ethos, fostering critical reflection, social action, and the empowerment of the poor to become protagonists in their liberation. MisInt, while sharing this commitment to social justice, envisions the Church’s role as one that holistically addresses the spiritual, physical, social, and economic dimensions of human existence. This framework posits that the Church’s Mission is not solely focused on evangelism or the salvation of souls but on the integral transformation of individuals, communities, and societies. Through the integration of evangelism, social action, and community development, the Church becomes an agent of holistic change, promoting the flourishing of all aspects of human life. Both theological perspectives challenge the Church to actively engage in the societal and political spheres, recognizing that the pursuit of justice and human dignity cannot be separated from the realm of social and economic realities. The Church is called to be a prophetic voice, denouncing injustice, oppression, and the violation of human rights while simultaneously advocating for structural reforms and policies that uplift the marginalized and promote the common good.

The involvement of the Church in political movements and social change has been a hallmark of both LibThe and MisInt. From the advocacy efforts of clergy and laypeople during periods of authoritarian rule and civil conflicts to the participation of Christian communities in grassroots movements for land reform, indigenous rights, and environmental justice, the Church has played a pivotal role in shaping the socio-political landscapes of Latin American nations.[xviii] However, this active engagement has not been without controversy or opposition. Conservative sectors within the Church hierarchy and political establishments have often viewed the Church’s involvement in social and political affairs as an overstepping of its spiritual mandate, perceiving it as an encroachment into secular domains or an alignment with ideological currents deemed incompatible with traditional Christian teachings. Nonetheless, proponents of these theologiesassert that the Church’s prophetic witness and commitment to the integral well-being of humanity are intrinsically intertwined with its spiritual mission. They argue that the Gospel’s message of love, justice, and human dignity cannot be fully realized without addressing the systemic roots of oppression and the deprivation of human rights and dignity. In this light, both theological frameworks envision the Church as a transformative force in society, a beacon of hope, and a catalyst for positive change. Through its engagement with the struggles of the marginalized, its advocacy for social justice, and its holistic approach to human development, the Church fulfills its sacred calling to embody God’s liberating and life-giving presence in the world.

Justice, Politics, and Salvation

Justice lies at the heart of both LibThe and MisInt, though their approaches to its implementation differ. For LibThe, justice is inextricably linked to the liberation of the oppressed from the systemic structures and ideologies perpetuating poverty, marginalization, and the denial of human dignity. This framework calls for a radical transformation of social, economic, and political systems that have historically favored the privileged few at the expense of the masses. The pursuit of justice is seen as a collective struggle against dehumanizing forces, requiring a critical analysis of power dynamics and a commitment to structural change. In contrast, MisInt’s approach to justice is rooted in a holistic understanding of human well-being.[xix] While acknowledging the need for social and economic reforms, it places equal emphasis on addressing injustice’s spiritual, physical, and psychological dimensions. This framework advocates for restoring right relationships – with God, oneself, others, and the created order – as the foundation for achieving true justice and shalom.

Despite these nuanced perspectives, both frameworks recognize the inextricable link between faith and politics in pursuing social justice. They reject the notion of a privatized faith detached from the realities of the world, asserting that the Gospel’s message of love, compassion, and human dignity has profound political implications. The Church is called to be a prophetic voice, challenging unjust systems and advocating for the rights of the marginalized, even when doing so puts it at odds with prevailing political ideologies or power structures. For LibThe, the intersection of faith and politics is embodied in the praxis concept, which refers to the ongoing cycle of reflection and action to transform oppressive realities. This theology encourages the active engagement of Christians in political movements and grassroots struggles, recognizing that true faith cannot be separated from the pursuit of justice and liberation for the poor and oppressed. While acknowledging the political dimensions of faith, MisInt emphasizes the Church’s role as a reconciling force and a catalyst for integral human development. Its engagement with politics is often focused on advocating for policies and programs that promote holistic well-being, such as access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities,[xx] as well as addressing environmental degradation and climate change issues.

Underpinning both frameworks is a profound understanding of salvation transcending narrow individualistic interpretations. In LibThe, salvation is intimately tied to the collective liberation of oppressed peoples from the dehumanizing forces of poverty, injustice, and marginalization. It is a process of personal and social transformation wherein individuals and communities are empowered to reclaim their dignity, agency, and rightful place in society. MisInt’s concept of salvation encompasses restoring the entire created order, recognizing the interconnectedness of human flourishing with the well-being of the natural world. Salvation is not merely a matter of individual spiritual redemption but a holistic process of healing, reconciliation, and the realization of God’s shalom – a state of peace, justice, and wholeness that permeates all aspects of existence. For both frameworks, salvation has profound implications for personal and social transformation. It calls individuals to a deeper awareness of their complicity in perpetuating unjust systems and a commitment to ongoing conversion – a willingness to continually examine and shed the ideologies, behaviors, and patterns contributing to oppression and marginalization. Ultimately, LibThe and MisInt present a vision of salvation intimately intertwined with the pursuit of justice, human dignity, and the flourishing of all creation. Their approaches may differ in emphasis, but they share a common conviction that authentic faith demands a radical commitment to transforming oppressive realities and establishing a more just and compassionate world.

Critiques and Challenges

LibThe has faced significant criticisms, primarily from those who argue that it excessively politicizes the gospel and might inadvertently support Marxist ideology. Critics contend that focusing heavily on social and political liberation risks overshadowing the spiritual aspects of salvation and the personal transformation that comes through a relationship with Christ. Furthermore, some theologians are concerned that LibThe’s emphasis on conflict and class struggle contradicts the biblical themes of reconciliation and peace. MisInt, while broadly embraced for its comprehensive approach to mission, is not without its detractors. Critics often point out that the blurring of evangelism and social action can dilute the distinctiveness of the gospel message. There is a fear that in the zeal to address social injustices, the proclamation of the gospel as the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes might take a back seat.[xxi]

Additionally, some argue that this approach demands a level of resources and commitment that may need to be revised for smaller or less affluent communities. LibThe and MisInt encounter new challenges and opportunities in the face of globalization. Globalization has heightened awareness of injustices and increased the interconnectivity among peoples, which both frameworks find pertinent. However, it also introduces complex issues such as economic disparities and cultural imperialism, challenging these theologies to adapt their message and methods to a global audience while avoiding imposition a particular cultural perspective. Secularization presents challenges, as it often marginalizes religious perspectives in public discourse. This environment can make the prophetic voice of LibThe or the holistic approach of MisInt seem outdated or irrelevant. Both frameworks must find ways to articulate the gospel’s relevance in a society that increasingly views religious answers to societal problems with skepticism.

Outcomes and Impacts on Communities

The outcomes of these theological applications are mixed but significant. In the case of LibThe, while it empowered many to fight for justice and rights, it also led to divisions within the church and criticism for aligning too closely with political movements. The MisInt approach, exemplified by the Anglican Church’s efforts in Africa, generally received praise for its comprehensive care and positive societal impact. However, it also faced challenges in terms of sustainability and dependency. Thus far, these theologies have shown that theological convictions can lead to substantial social impact. However, they also demonstrate the need for constant theological reflection and contextual adaptation to address the evolving challenges of the global and secularized world.

Case Studies and Practical Applications

Liberation TheologyIntegral Mission
One notable example is the role of the Catholic Church in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in Nicaragua. Priests and lay Christians influenced by LibThe were instrumental in advocating social reforms and participating in movements against oppressive regimes. This involvement profoundly impacted the political landscape but also brought intense scrutiny and persecution from government forces, showcasing the influence and the costs of such engagement.  Within the origins of MisInt within the political and social forces that shaped post-war Latin America, such as rural-urban migration, urbanization, and the expansion of universities where Marxist ideas gained traction offers the first critical study of Padilla and his holistic approach to mission that integrates spiritual and social dimensions.  

Synthesis and Future Directions

These Latino theologies have made invaluable contributions to the understanding and practice of the Christian mission, challenging the Church to engage more fully with the complexities of human existence and the pursuit of justice, human dignity, and integral transformation. However, each framework also possesses inherent strengths and weaknesses that must be carefully considered as we envision the future of Christian mission in an ever-changing global context. The enduring strength of LibThe lies in its unwavering commitment to the preferential option for the poor and its resolute stance against systemic oppression, exploitation, and marginalization. Its emphasis on the lived experiences of the oppressed and its call for radical structural change have been instrumental in amplifying the voices of the marginalized and catalyzing grassroots movements for social and economic justice. Additionally, its integration of Marxist and dependency theory analyses has provided powerful tools for unmasking and critiquing the ideological underpinnings of oppressive systems.

First, LibThe’s perceived alignment with Marxist ideology and its, at times, aggressive approach to the established Church hierarchy have also been sources of criticism and resistance, limiting its broader acceptance and implementation within certain ecclesial circles. Furthermore, its primary focus on systemic change has sometimes overshadowed the importance of personal and spiritual transformation, which are equally crucial for realizing true liberation. On the other hand, MisInt has excelled in its holistic approach to human development, recognizing the interconnectedness of spiritual, physical, social, and economic well-being. Its emphasis on the restoration of right relationships and the promotion of integral human flourishing has been instrumental in shaping the practices of mission organizations and development agencies, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of Christian witness and service. MisInt’s ecumenical spirit and ability to facilitate dialogue and cooperation across denominations and faith traditions have also been significant strengths.

Second, MisInt’s broad scope and emphasis on holistic development have sometimes risked diluting its prophetic edge and capacity to confront systemic injustices with the same urgency and intensity as LibThe. Furthermore, while pragmatic, its more moderate approach to social and political engagement may be perceived as insufficiently radical in the face of entrenched and deeply rooted systems of oppression. As we look to the future, we must synthesize both frameworks’ strengths while addressing their weaknesses, creating a cohesive and dynamic approach to Christian mission that is equal parts prophetic, holistic, and transformative. Such an approach must maintain the unwavering commitment to the preferential option for the poor and the pursuit of social and economic justice central to LibThe while embracing the holistic vision of human flourishing and the emphasis on integral development espoused by MisInt.

This synthesis could manifest in several ways. First, it must foster a deeper integration of personal and spiritual transformation with the pursuit of systemic change, recognizing that true liberation requires an inner transformation of the heart and dismantling oppressive structures. Second, it must cultivate a more nuanced and contextual understanding of the dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression, recognizing that these realities are often intersectional and require multidimensional responses that address injustice’s physical, spiritual, social, economic, and ecological dimensions. Furthermore, this integrated approach must prioritize amplifying marginalized voices and empowering grassroots movements while engaging in constructive dialogue and collaboration with established institutions and structures of power. It must be willing to challenge the status quo when necessary but also seek to build bridges and forge partnerships for sustainable and transformative change.

Critically, this synthesis must be grounded in a robust theological framework that draws from the rich tapestry of the Christian tradition while remaining open to the insights and wisdom of other faith traditions and secular disciplines. It must embrace a holistic understanding of salvation, encompassing personal redemption, social transformation, and restoring the created order. Ultimately, the future of the Christian mission lies in our ability to learn from the lessons of both LibThe and MisInt, forging an uncompromising path in its pursuit of justice, unwavering in its commitment to human dignity, and holistic in its vision of integral transformation. Only through such a synthesis can we genuinely embody Christ’s liberating and life-giving presence in a world that yearns for redemption, healing, and the realization of God’s shalom.

Takeaways for the Latino Church, Their Ministers, and the Universal Church

Five practical takeaways exist for the Latino Church, Their Ministers, and the Universal Church. First is integrating Personal and Social Transformation because of the importance of synthesizing personal spiritual transformation with systemic social change. It encourages congregations to cultivate inner spiritual growth while actively addressing societal issues such as poverty, racism, and environmental degradation. This could involve organizing workshops on social justice or initiating community development programs alongside discipleship training. Second, they embrace the Preferential Option for the Poor, a crucial aspect both theological frameworks emphasize. It’s not just a suggestion but a moral and ethical duty for the Church to develop ministries focused on uplifting marginalized groups. For instance, establish support networks for immigrant families, promote fair labor practices, or offer legal aid services to disadvantaged communities. Third, it promotes holistic human development since the Integral Mission highlights the interconnectedness of spiritual, physical, social, and emotional well-being, advocating for the Church to address all human needs. This encourages a comprehensive approach to ministry.

Create programs that combine spiritual discipleship with practical assistance like healthcare education, job training, and financial literacy courses. Fourth, it Amplify the Voices of Marginalized Communities, within the Liberation Theology, calls for amplifying the voices of the oppressed and challenging structures that perpetuate inequality and injustice. It fosters spaces for marginalized groups to share their stories. Host community forums where people can discuss their experiences, collaborate on local solutions, or invite guest speakers from underrepresented communities to speak at church events. Lastly, it advances ecumenical and interfaith collaboration. Both theological movements emphasize the importance of cooperation across religious and secular traditions in pursuing justice and human dignity—partnering with other churches, faith groups, and organizations to address shared concerns. For example, organize interfaith service projects or advocacy campaigns that unite different groups to support environmental justice, immigration reform, or poverty alleviation. These practical steps will help the Latino Church, its ministers, and the universal Church embody the transformative spirit of Liberation Theology and Integral Mission, fostering communities that reflect God’s liberating and life-giving presence.


The profound and enduring impact of LibThe and MisInt on Christian praxis and theological thought is undeniable. These frameworks have transformed the way we understand and live out the Gospel’s mandate for justice, reconciliation, and the pursuit of human dignity. By centering the experiences of the marginalized and oppressed, LibThe has amplified the voices of those too often silenced, empowering grassroots movements and catalyzing radical structural change. Its preferential option for the poor has challenged the Church to embrace a prophetic stance against systemic injustice, confronting the ideological and material structures that perpetuate dehumanization and exploitation. With its holistic vision of human flourishing, MisInt has broadened our understanding of Christian witness, integrating evangelism with tangible acts of compassion and transformative social action. By recognizing the interconnectedness of spiritual, physical, social, and economic well-being, this framework has reshaped the practices of mission organizations and development agencies, fostering a more comprehensive approach to addressing the multidimensional needs of individuals and communities.

These theological movements have enriched our comprehension of the Gospel’s profound implications for personal and societal transformation. They have challenged the Church to move beyond a privatized faith detached from the realities of the world, asserting instead the inextricable link between authentic discipleship and the pursuit of justice, liberation, and the restoration of right relationships. For contemporary Christian communities globally, these legacies hold immense relevance and urgency. In a world marred by persistent poverty, structural racism, environmental degradation, and the denial of human rights, these frameworks provide a robust theological foundation for our ongoing work toward a more just and compassionate society.

They call us to embody a preferential option for the marginalized, amplifying their voices and championing their struggles against oppressive systems and ideologies. They compel us to engage in holistic mission, addressing human existence’s spiritual, physical, social, and ecological dimensions with equal enthusiasm and commitment. And they remind us that authentic faith is inextricably tied to the radical pursuit of justice, human dignity, and the flourishing of all creation. As we navigate an increasingly complex and interconnected world, the insights of LibThe and MisInt must inform our theological reflections and practical responses to our time’s challenges. We must cultivate a nuanced understanding of the intersectional nature of oppression, recognizing that the struggles for racial justice, gender equality, indigenous rights, and environmental protection are intrinsically intertwined.

Furthermore, Christians must embrace a spirit of ecumenical and interfaith collaboration, forging partnerships and fostering dialogue across diverse religious and secular traditions united in our shared commitment to the common good. Ultimately, the enduring legacy for Latinos and the world is their unwavering conviction that the Gospel’s message of love, justice, and human dignity demands a radical transformation of individual hearts and unjust societal structures. As we carry this torch into the future, may we be encouraged by their example, uncompromising in our pursuit of justice, and steadfast in our commitment to embodying Christ’s liberating and life-giving presence in a world yearning for redemption and shalom.

[i] Gutiérrez, Gustavo. 2003. We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People.

[ii] Padilla, C. René. 2021. What Is Integral Mission? Regnum Books International.

[iii] Projectstore. 2023. “Impact of Black Movement and Liberation Theology in Socio-Political Emancipation.” Project Store. March 13, 2023.

[iv] Boff, Leonardo. 1987. Introducing Liberation Theology. Orbis.

[v] Gutiérrez, Gustavo. 1983. Beber en su propio pozo en el itinerario espiritual de un pueblo. 2da Edición. Lima. Peru: CEP.

[vi] Boff, Leonardo. 1978. Jesus Christ Liberator: A Critical Christology for Our Time. Orbis.

[vii] Valiente, O. Ernesto. 2015. Liberation through Reconciliation: Jon Sobrino’s Christological Spirituality. Fordham.

[viii] Torres, Julio O. 2021. Oscar Romero: A Man for Our Times. Church Publishing, Inc.

[ix] Grogan, Brian. 2021. Pedro Arrupe S.J.: Mystic with Open Eyes. Messenger Publications.

[x] Amerindia. 2011. Construyendo Puentes entre Teologías y Culturas. Editorial San Pablo.

[xi] Kirkpatrick, David. 2016. “C. René Padilla and the Origins of Integral Mission in Post-War Latin America.” The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 67 (2): 351–71.

[xii] Escobar, Samuel. 2002. Changing Tides: Latin America and World Mission Today. American Society of Missiology Series, no. 31. Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis.

[xiii] Heaney, Sharon E. 2008. Contextual Theology for Latin America: Liberation Themes in Evangelical Perspective. Wipf and Stock.

[xiv] Costas, Orlando E. 1979. The Integrity of Mission: The Inner Life and Outreach of the Church. 1st ed. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

[xv] Quiroz, Pedro Arana, Samuel Escobar, and C. René Padilla. 2003. El trino Dios y la misión integral. Kairós.

[xvi] Gladwin, Ryan R. 2020. Streams of Latin American Protestant Theology. Brill.

[xvii] Doerries, Hillary. 2022. “We Will Hold Onto You: The Liberating Power of Music and Liturgy to Break Open the Stories of Mental Illness in Communities of Faith.” Doctor of Pastoral Music Projects and Theses, November.

[xviii] “FIGHTING the GOOD FIGHT: Nonviolent Options and Just Peace – the Elephant.” 2017. November 3, 2017.

[xix] Padilla, C. R. 2020. Bases Bíblicas de la misión: Perspectivas latinoamericanas. Ediciones Kairós.

[xx] Waleed Shehzad, Muhammad. 2023. “Role of Waqf in Poverty Mitigation: A Study from South Punjab Pakistan | Journal of Banking and Social Equity (JBSE),” March.

[xxi] Gibb, Iain (2017) Paul and the Psalms: Paul’s hermeneutic and worldview. MTh(R) thesis.

Dr. Omar Palafox

Dr. Omar Palafox is an Assistant Professor in the Bible, Missions, and Ministry Department at Abilene Christian University. With a Doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Master of Divinity in Missions from Abilene Christian University, he is a respected theologian, developmental editor, and curriculum development expert. He specializes in Latin American Christianity, missiology, and intercultural studies. His scholarship emphasizes the theological intersections between theology, philosophy, and culture within Spanish-speaking theological education entities. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Palafox teaches courses in Old Testament, Missions, Intercultural Studies, and Latino and Hispanic Theologies. He also directs the Comunidad Hispana C3, serving students and churches while reaching students throughout Latin America through online Bible seminary courses. He is deeply involved in the theological community, holding memberships in organizations such as the Association for Hispanic Theological Education, the Evangelical Missiological Society, the American Society of Missiology, and the Fraternidad Teológica Latinoamericana. His work is a tapestry interweaving his theological encounters with Hispanic and Latino communities, highlighting his commitment to transformative education and spiritual formation.

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