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The Global Mission of the Jim Crow South: Southern Baptist Missionaries and the Shaping of Latin American Evangelicalism

By author: João B. Chaves
Product Code: P643
ISBN: 9780881468366
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $35.00

João B. Chaves analyzes the first hundred years of Southern Baptist missionary activity in Brazil to reveal how the racialized practices of Southern Baptist Convention missionaries in the largest Latin America country shaped aspects of Latin American evangelicalism in general and the Brazilian Baptist Convention in particular. Partially because the Brazilian Baptist Convention sent missionaries to many Latin American countries, established educational institutions that trained ministers from a number of denominations, and impacted the life of Brazilian evangelicalism in general, the influences of Southern evangelicalism manifested in the Brazilian Baptist Convention were established into Latin American evangelicalism broadly. Although Latin American evangelicalism is a diverse movement both in its Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal manifestations, historians have tended to overlook the power of US evangelicalism in the establishment and maintenance of the evangelicalism in the region, preferring to offer sharp distinctions between the US-based "evangelical" movement and Latin American "evangélicos." This book recognizes that such distinctions may explain cases in which differences between US and Latin American evangelicalisms exist, but it argues that a hemispheric evangelicalism overdetermined by the commitments of US Southern evangelicals has broader explanatory power
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Review by: Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of History, Baylor University, and author of FERTILITY AND FAITH - December 15, 2021
Anyone interested in Christian missions will be familiar with the enormous power of US-based ventures from the late nineteenth century onward. What we often forget is the distinctly Southern origins of so many of those missionaries, and their racial and segregationist assumptions. In THE GLOBAL MISSION OF THE JIM CROW SOUTH, João Chaves makes a really valuable contribution not just to the history of missions but to US religious history more generally, and to the history of Protestant churches in Latin America. This is impressively innovative work. I hope this thoughtful and wide-ranging study reaches the largest possible readership.
Review by: Paul Harvey, distinguished professor of History, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and author of CHRISTIANITY AND RACE IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH - December 15, 2021
This exhaustively researched study of Southern Baptist missionary endeavors in Brazil illustrates both the long shadow cast by White supremacist Southern evangelicalism and the resistance to it by Brazilian converts. In presenting a complex story unfolding over more than a century of time, João Chaves illuminates in a way unlike any other book a story that is fundamental to the rise of Protestant evangelicalism in Brazil. I recommend it with enthusiasm.
Review by: Kristin Kobes Du Mez, New York Times bestselling author of JESUS AND JOHN WAYNE - December 15, 2021
Meticulously researched and sharply argued, THE GLOBAL MISSION OF THE JIM CROW SOUTH reveals how US Baptists exported a faith intertwined with White supremacy and racial violence, one that took root in Brazil and gave rise to a theopolitical project with enduring consequences. An essential work for those seeking to understand Brazilian history, the history of global Christianity, and the racial imagination of American evangelicals.
Review by: Bill Leonard, founding dean and professor of Divinity emeritus, Wake Forest University School of Divinity - December 15, 2021
This book is a significant and superbly documented investigation of American evangelicalism and its global impact theologically, politically, and ideologically. With Southern Baptist missionary impetus in Brazil as a case study, Chaves “recontextualizes” the ways in which evangelicals could rhetorically resist “worldliness” while linking their gospel vision with the “Christian whiteness” of the world from which they came. It is a volume not to be overlooked.
Review by: Erika Helgen, associate professor of Latin American and Latinx Christianity, Yale Divinity School, and author of RELIGIOUS CONFLICT IN BRAZIL - December 15, 2021
This meticulously researched and beautifully written book sheds much-needed light on how White supremacy was embedded in the transnational growth of evangelicalism in both Brazil and the United States. João Chaves has written a powerful and important work that is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand the intersection of religion, race, and missionary movements in the modern era.
Review by: H.B. Cavalcanti, emeritus professor of Sociology, James Madison University, and author of GLORYLAND - December 15, 2021
As a product of the Southern Baptist mission in Brazil, as an alumnus of Brazilian Baptist and Southern Baptist seminaries, and as someone who has researched and published on this topic for the past forty years, I am deeply impressed by the level of detailed evidence presented in this book. Before João Chaves, no one else in Brazil had had access to such revealing data, nor were we able to imagine the full extent of Southern Baptist captivity to the Lost Cause in the mission field. This book will mark a turning point in the study of Southern Baptist missions.
Review by: Arlene Sanchez-Walsh, professor of Religious Studies, Azusa Pacific University, and author of PENTECOSTALS IN AMERICA - December 15, 2021
This compelling study examines the understudied world of Southern Baptist missionaries in Brazil from the nineteenth century to the present and how this group not only evangelized Brazilians but also sought to bring their US Southern culture forged in the mythology of the Lost Cause, commitment to White supremacy, male privilege, and zealousness for conversion to a country already saturated with centuries of racial animus. Chaves moves beyond the official story of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and tells the story of missionaries who sought to wrest power away from the SBC and desired autonomy from their US-based overseers. This study marks a significant addition to the growing literature examining the role of missions, the global nature of the Religious Right, and the quest to decolonize the Brazilian Baptist experience.
Review by: Benjamin Cowan, associate professor of History, University of California, San Diego, and author of MORAL MAJORITIES ACROSS THE AMERICAS - December 15, 2021
Built on innovative research and unerring, critical questions about the historical dynamics of Southern Baptist missions in Brazil, this book represents an outstanding contribution. João Chaves has powerfully argued that the history of evangelism in Latin America cannot be viewed without considering detailed and personal stories from within institutions, as well as the contours of sending and receiving cultures, including racism and White supremacist ideology. The book’s transnational perspective, drawing on marvelously thorough research in Brazil and the United States, makes for a nuanced, truly novel addition to our knowledge of Protestantism, denominational identity, imperialism, racism, Pentecostalism, and the roots of contemporary religious politics. Given its publication as Brazil solemnizes its first “terribly evangelical” supreme court justice (to use the descriptor coined by the President who nominated him), the book could not be timelier, nor more necessary.

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