Interchurch Relations: Exclusion, Ecumenism, and the Poor
Pentecostal churches and denominations have participated for years in intra-Protestant ecumenical activities. That ecumenical implications of the Pentecostal experience have not been entirely overlooked by the ecumenical movement and even from that of a few Pentecostals was demonstrated by the 1988 World Council of Churches (WCC)–Latin American Pentecostal Consultation in Salvador, Brazil. Pentecostals are intensely aware that non-Pentecostals of all stripes have often built walls around themselves that have effectively excluded Pentecostals. The incipient Pentecostal ecumenism is a function of several interacting factors: poverty and systemic violence, Pentecostal growth, popular religiosity, professional contacts, and overtures from mainline churches. The national churches that are most open to ecumenical relationships are those that are most aware of the plight of the poor and the structural dimensions of sin. Pentecostals in Latin America are as ecumenical—and as eclectic—as their origins, culture, context, and doctrine either allow or encourage them to be.