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Tongues of Fire: The Explosion of Protestantism in Latin America Paperback – October 8, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Martin, a leading authority in the sociology of religion, here looks at a recent and largely unstudied phenomenon: the rapid growth of evangelicalism in Latin America, in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Central America, and the Caribbean. This growth is compared to similar growth in South Korea and Africa. Martin discusses spiritual gifts and conversions in terms of the changing socioeconomic situation, carefully analyzing the relationship of Anglo-American and Latin American cultures. He notes especially the appeal of Pentecostalism to the newly urbanized poor, to whom it provides a nonintellectual style and a protective network where skills in self-expression and leadership can be developed. An excellent scholarly analysis that is accessible to the average reader and provides a good bibliography as well. Highly recommended.
- C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., Lafayette, Ind.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Now available in paperback, Tongues of Fire deals with one of the most extraordinary developments in the world today - the rapid spread of Evangelical Protestantism in vast areas of the underdeveloped societies, notable Latin America. The growth of Evangelical Protestantism since the 1960's from its epicentre in the United States has been a religious and social phenomenon of extraordinary proportions.

David Martin, one of the world's leading authorities on the sociology of religion, examines this remarkable phenomenon, taking account of how the religious elements have affected and have been affected by the cultural and political conditions and the future of the Americas, but also by those concerned with the relation of religion and social change throughout the contemporary world.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (October 8, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631189149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631189145
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,434,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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David Martin’s Tongues of Fire is sociological examination of the rise of Pentecostalism in Latin America. Here, Martin provides an excellent description and a cogent explanation of the growth of Pentecostalism. In so doing, Martin deftly guides the reader through several case studies that elucidate the nature of this phenomenon, while grounding the saliency of Pentecostalism within the larger historical framework of Latin America’s religious history. As such, Martin astutely situates the contemporary realities within the friction between Anglo and Latin civilizations over the past four centuries – a dynamic, which sets the background of Martin’s narrative.

Tracing the roots of Pentecostalism to Methodism, Martin seeks to understand how Methodism evolves from a voluntary and marginal form Christianity in England and Wales to surface as part of the core culture of religious life in the United States. Martin suggests that Methodism was largely marginal in England, because Anglicanism was tied to the State, whereas in the United States, where a de facto separation of Church and State exists, Methodism free of the dominance of the state-sponsored Church of England was able to flourish. And as Latin America has become more modernized and plural, Catholicism began to decline, particularly in countries like Brazil and Guatemala—20% and 30% Protestant respectively—where anti-clerical sentiments are fermenting. Concerning the theory of secularization, Martin suggests that Protestantism grabs a foothold in regions where Catholicism is in decline, yet where secularization has not yet disrupted the existing culture. Thus, in many ways, the decline of Catholic dominance in Latin America provides the setting for the emergence of Protestant conversion in Latin America, according to Martin.
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