My friend, brother in Christ, and missionary colleague in Spain, Enrique Montenegro (missionary from the Church of God in Argentina), has written the following incisive commentary on the use of the terms "Evangélico" and "Protestante" in relation to recent news on the Anglican church and the ordination of homosexual priests. The cultural context in Spain has led to a vigorous debate among some regarding whether it is better, as Bible-preaching Christians, to identify ourselves as Evangelicals or Protestants. I post this article with the hope that it will not only provide insight into the particular missionary context in Spain, but also help to correct some general misconceptions regarding working together with Great Commission Christians. (By the way, I totally agree with what Montenegro says here.)
What follows is my translation of Montenegro’s original text in Spanish…
I have always openly declared myself Evangelical and have rejected the term "Protestant" for the mere fact that, in the first case, I identify with the message, content and commandment of Jesus to "preach the Gospel" (Spanish = Evangelio), and the second term identifies us with one moment in history in the life of one part of the Church. From a contemporary perspective, anchored in the past.
But upon reading this article in "EL PERIODICO" (a leading newspaper in the Cataluña region of Spain) about the acceptance and ordination of homosexual priests and bishops in the Anglican church (see links to the articles below), in this case and only in this case, I must say that I am a protestant. Today, I identify myself as a Protestant because I protest the improper use of the identification of the Anglican church as evangelical. A church that is most assuredly Protestant, and without a shadow of a doubt is not Evangelical (as demonstrated by its sense of ethics and morality, and the content of its message), and even less so in practice.
I protest because the above-mentioned institution, rather than protesting the practice of homosexual behavior, even among its own leaders, not only refuses to condemn it, but also protests against those of us who dare to raise our voice to proclaim that there are news of Salvation for them as well.
I protest against the press, which, whenever they refer to the immoral actions of these churches, that identify themselves as Protestants, throws them in the same sack as us, calling them Evangelicals.
I protest against those brothers and sisters that constantly insist on declaring that our identifying label is "protestant", when our message, identity and content clearly is not so.
I protest against those within the Evangelical people who have a representative voice and something to say in regard to this, but prefer to remain silent and not commit themselves.
I protest those who could and should clearly condemn homosexual practices, but hardly even take sides to make a few ambiguous statements on the subject.
I protest against those who, although they still call themselves Protestants, are not consistent with their own name by raising their voice in protest for these immoral actions.
I protest those who take on an evangelical identity, but do not fulfill the duty of clearly proclaiming the gospel (evangelio) in order to counteract the poison of this type of Protestantism.
Last of all, I ask forgiveness of my brothers and sisters for becoming protestant, even if it was just for a moment. I promise that I will keep on being evangelical, and I will not renounce being consistent with our identity and mission, that is none other than proclaiming the Gospel (Evangelio).
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes."
At least, that’s how I see it. What do you think?