Liberation theology is a broad and variegated phenomenon. It encompasses a wide range of ways of thinking the faith in the face of oppression. Of course, when one speaks of liberation theology, one is generally using the term in reference to its expression in published form, and this is the sense in which it will most often be used in this essay…
This means that the liberation theology of a Gustavo Gutirrez is substantially the same as that of a Christian laborer in northeastern Brazil. The basic content is the same. The sap that feeds the branches of the tree is the same sap that passes through the trunk and rises from the hidden roots underground.
The distinction between the levels is in their logic, but more specifically in their language. Theology can be more or less articulate; popular theology will be expressed in everyday speech, with its spontaneity and feeling, whereas professional theology adopts a more scholarly language, with the structure and restraint proper to it. It is not hard to see what liberation theology is when one starts at its roots-that is, by examining what the base communities do when they read the Bible and compare it with the oppression and longing for liberation in their own lives. But this is just what professional liberation theology is doing: it is simply doing it in a more sophisticated way. On the middle level, pastoral theology uses a language and approach that draw on both the ground level and the scholarly level.
Truth, in the Bible, includes fidelity, justice, and firmness. ...
The fulfillment takes place in history, and thus, God appears truthful through history. Christ is the fulfillment of the Father's promise which makes us his children in him. This is according to the acts and words of Jesus. The Father fulfills his promise in the death and resurrection of Jesus. To be a Christian is to accept that the promise begins to be fulfilled and realized in a historical context. In the Bible, the act of knowing is not relegated to a purely intellectual level. There exists contemporary yearn for a mechanical correspondence in the relationship between knowing and transforming and living a truth which verifies itself in history. Nevertheless, the cultural world in which we live allows us to discover a starting point and a horizon in which we can delineate a theological reflection which must appeal to its own sources.
The theology of liberation differs from such theologies as those of development, revolution, and violence not only in a different analysis of reality based on more universal and radical political options, but above all, in the very concept of the task of theology. The theology of liberation does not intend to provide Christian justification for positions already taken and does not aim to be a revolutionary Christian ideology. It is a reflection which makes a start with the historical praxis of people. It seeks to rethink the faith from the perspective of that historical praxis, and it is based on the experience of the faith derived from the liberating commitment. For this reason, this theology comes only after that involvement; the theology is always a second act. (Bonino, 1975, 109-14) Its themes are, therefore, the great themes of all true ...
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