Integral mission formation in Abya Yala (Latin America): a study of the Centro de Studios Teológicos Interdisciplinarios (1982-2002) and radical evangélicos
Padilla DeBorst, Ruth Irene
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This dissertation traces the development of the Centro de Estudios Teológicos Interdisciplinarios (CETI) from its inception in Argentina in 1982 until 2002, when the first dean, Catalina Feser Padilla, stepped down. Born out of the self-theologizing of “radical evangelical” Protestant communities—Comunidad Internacional de Estudiantes Evangélicos, Fraternidad Teológica Latinoamericana, Escuela Bíblica de Villa María, and Comunidad Kairós—CETI has furthered misión integral within Latin America and beyond. Grounded in the history of CETI, this dissertation argues that CETI constitutes a generative model of theological formation for integral mission because of its theological, missiological, and pedagogical commitments: doing theology in response to context, a radical evangelical perspective, an integral mission intent, and a focus on the formation of all Christians through interdisciplinary dialogue, communal design, and implementation. Although studies have been done of the integral mission movement, this dissertation breaks new ground by focusing on CETI, which has been running continuously within Latin America since 1982. The dissertation is based on the historical analysis of primary sources housed in a virtual repository and in the offices of the Fundación Kairós, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Findings were corroborated through personal interviews and correspondence with key people involved in the creation and development of CETI. Chapter One introduces the research and clarifies key concepts. Chapters Two and Three portray the academic and ecclesial communities out of which CETI was generated. Chapter Four surveys the development of CETI and portrays the key role of its first dean, Catalina Feser Padilla. Chapter Five offers a theological, pedagogical, and institutional analysis of CETI along with narrative accounts that provide insight into the missional and ethical impact of the program. Chapter Six serves as a conclusion and refers to the reach of CETI beyond Latin America after 2011 through the auspices of the International Fellowship of Mission as Transformation. The final section raises critical questions for the ongoing development of CETI within Latin America, and for the expansion of theological formation for integral mission into other parts of the world.