“If we don’t tell our stories, then who will?”
Who Will Tell Our Stories?
When we don’t know the past, we tend to make assumptions that don’t historically line up with the facts. I’ve been guilty of this kind of thinking as it pertains to my heritage—the story of the Latino(a) Protestant church in the United States.
A couple years ago my friend, Dr. Charlie Dates, asked me to be a guest lecturer for the Latino(a) history segment of a course he was teaching on the History of the Black and Latino(a) Church in America at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL). I was initially reluctant feeling ill equipped for the task and racked my brain thinking of others who could help him. I’ll never forget what he told me.
He said, “Eric, if we don’t tell our stories, then who will?” Those words struck a chord in my soul, causing me to immediately accept the invitation. In the ensuing months, I read, researched, and processed with excitement like a tourist admiring the architectural structures in a foreign city. This short post is an effort to popularize some of what I’ve uncovered and spark the interest of others for further study.
Photo Albums Tell Stories
Historian Justo Gonzalez likens the history of the Hispanic Protestant church in America to a photo album. As every photo album has varieties of snapshots, perspectives, relationships, and seasons represented, so too does the history of Latino(a) Protestantism.[i] The three snapshots I will focus on will demonstrate how the Bible has been an anchor among Hispanic Protestants in North America for nearly 200 years through which the power and promises of God in the gospel have radically changed lives.
Snapshot 1: Ambrosio González and the Power of the Scriptures
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