ECCLESIAL LUTHERAN IDENTITY AND THE CHURCH’S MISSION IN THE FACE OF THE REALITY OF FAVELAS
Palavras-chave:Cruciform engaged presence. Church. Mission. Culture. Favela.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (IELB) faces many challenges in the city, given its rural origin on the one hand and the complexity of urban Brazil on the other. The isolation in the rural context, the immigrant experience, and the mission principle that gave birth to the IELB all led to a strong self-preservationist mentality. The complexity of the urban world includes the reality of favelas, which represents one of the biggest challenges to the church in its attempt to preach ‘Christ to all’. How then to reach favela dwellers in big Brazilian metropolises? In trying to help answer this challenge and taking all the above into consideration, this article offers an integrated view of Luther’s theology in respect to the relation between the two kinds of righteousness and the Apostles’ Creed. This approach then expands the theological reflection by putting the First Article to the service of ecclesiology
and missiology. Although the approach won’t answer all the questions raised in the debate at the intersection between these two disciplines, the goal is to advance in the reflection in order to anchor the theological thinking about church and mission in a solid theology that comprehends our understanding of God and of human life. The result of all this will be an approach to mission that takes cultures into consideration, facilitating the IELB’s presence in mission in the midst of the strong Brazilian cultural diversity of favelas, where to cross cultural boundaries is necessary for the sake of the gospel.