Bible requires new reading, says Nicaraguan theologian

Araica: in ‘convulsed world’ alternate reading must be open to experience

October 8, 2009

MANAGUA, Nicaragua

“The relevance of the Word of God today, in a socially, economically, politically and culturally convulsed world, needs to be reconstructed from an alternative reading and with a spirit willing to be open to experience,” said renowned Nicaraguan evangelical (Protestant) theologian the Rev. Alberto Araica during a discussion on the occasion of the National Day of the Bible here Sept. 30.

The discussion in Nicaragua’s capital city centered around the theme, “The relevance of the Word of God in a globalized world.” 

“We need to realize that it is necessary to keep greater silence when it is time to learn from it,” Araica proposed. 

“It would appear that we have been trapped in the religious fundamentalism that uses texts picked out with tweezers, so as to defend positions of convenience, and that has isolated us and has resulted in making us lose the meaning of the relevance of the Word for the globalized being living in a postmodern world,” added Araica.

Araica also laid emphasis on not being caught up by denominational dogmas, but rather on having a broad and ecumenical vision and that “in this globalized world where individualism, the free market and privatization dazzle, it is indispensable that the reading of the Gospel be done from a community perspective that contributes to a common understanding.” 

He also added that “we need to begin discovering that the Word, beyond the letter and the ink, must be discovered in community, learning how to see and listen to God in the day to day experience.” 

“The message of Holy Scriptures must create bridges of alliances and solidarity, even with those who think differently from us,” emphasized the theologian. 

The event was sponsored by the Council of Evangelical Pastors of Managua. Araica was formally recognized for his important contribution in the training of evangelical leaders in the country. Another 20 pastors — 18 men and 2 women — were given certificates of recognition for their notable ministries in the proclaiming of the Gospel and its social action. Honorees included the Rev. Gustavo Parajón, founder of the Council of Evangelical Churches (CEPAD), a partner organization of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Editor’s note: PC(USA) mission workers in Nicaragua include Carol Agsten and Leslie Clay; Carlos Cardenas, Tracey King and the Rev. Douglas Orbaker. For information about and letters from PC(USA) mission workers around the world, visit the Mission Connections Web site. — Jerry L. Van Marter

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