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Survey Of Nicaraguan Protestantism (1556–1978)

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Chapter Summary

Isolated cases of Protestantism in Central America are known from earliest colonial times. In the sixteenth century the Inquisition chronicled twenty-one instances on the isthmus, the very first recorded in Nicaragua in 1556. Since the 1960s Pentecostalism has enjoyed great success in Nicaragua. Yet its origins and early history there were humble. The first Pentecostal missionaries, Benno and Rosalie Shoeneich, together with Mary Yaegge, arrived in 1912. After the Second World War Nicaragua increasingly became the focus of new experiments in mass evangelism. Leading these efforts was the Latin America Mission (LAM), which won many new Protestant converts during its 1950–2 campaign. By 1978, then, Protestantism had secured its place in Nicaragua’s religious history. The history of Nicaraguan Protestantism yields several important issues that are highlighted in this chapter, as they have a particularly important bearing on Protestant-Sandinista relations.

Keywords: Central America; Latin America Mission (LAM); Nicaraguan protestantism; Pentecostalism; Protestant-Sandinista relations



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