Faith That Indigenizes
Neo-Pentecostal Aimara Identity
The growth of evangelicalism in Latin America, specifically among indigenous peoples, is changing the religious and cultural paradigms of the region. In this important work, Dr. Marcelo Vargas A. explores the interplay between Neo-Pentecostalism and Aimaran indigenous identity in La Paz, Bolivia, identifying how the integration of the two has led to social, political, and economic transformation. This study offers insight into the growing impact of the Neo-Pentecostal movement, both in Latin America and beyond, as well as the significant role of indigenous peoples in shaping the future of Christianity across the globe.
This book is unique as a case-study of Aimara who have become members of the Neo-Pentecostal Power of God Church in Bolivia. Dr. Marcelo Vargas, a Bolivian pastor, theologian, and missiologist, is especially qualified to research, understand, and teach us regarding the interplay between ancient Aimara worldview and Neo-Pentecostal spirituality.
Charles Van Engen, PhD
Founding President and CEO,
Latin American Christian Ministries Inc.
The author shows both how the church has changed the Aimaras involved and how the Aimara culture influences the church. While modifying some customs and demonstrating some western tendencies, such as greater individualism, Vargas argues that the underlying Aimara cultural values and worldview remain strong. This book should grace the shelves of any student interested in the integration of missiology, history, indigenous studies, and urban mission.
Nancy Thomas, PhD
Author of A Long Walk, a Gradual Ascent: The Story of the Bolivian Friends Church in Its Context of Conflict (2019)
I remember very well the enthusiasm with which my dad spoke to me about the Power of God Church. He joined some of their packed services where he heard Pastor Luis Guachalla preach, listened to their radio station, and was impressed by their rapid growth. However, until I read this book, I never realized the importance of the Aimara background to understand the phenomenal growth of this denomination. Reading it also helped me to understand the Neo-Pentecostal background and the importance of globalization.
Former General Secretary of Bolivian Comunidad Cristiana Universitaria
Director of Langham Preaching Latin America
This study of Aimaran Neo-Pentecostals is an important contribution to understanding the persistence of indigenous spirituality, often classified by academics as “folk religion,” or suspected by those tied to the cultural boundaries of western Christianity as “syncretistic.” Marcelo Vargas makes the compelling argument that the Aimaran religious worldview has always functioned continuously as a strong and stable substructure through all the adaptations and accommodations it has had to make in the face of Incan and Iberian Catholic incursions and, more recently, the global influence of classic Pentecostalism.
Melba Padilla Maggay, PhDChair, Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture (ISACC), Philippines
This is the story of a historically subjugated people by various empires that resisted vigorously and sacrificially, maintaining their linguistic and cultural identity. It is a story of Aimara people making the gospel feel at home in their culture amidst the challenges of adapting to the city, poverty, marginalization, the new global realities, and the pilgrimage nature of the good news of the gospel. I highly recommend its reading and welcome its publication to enrich our intercultural learning and mission encounters. This will be a valuable resource for mission oriented and theological institutions.
Rubén Paredes Alfaro, PhD
Dean, Programa Doctoral en Teologia PRODOLA
Table of Contents
- Socio-Cultural Elements of Aimaran Identity
- Bolivian Neo-Pentecostalism: Historical Context
- The Power of God Church
- Aimaran Identity in the Power of God Church