The Portuguese-Speaking Church
What Is the Opportunity?
Around 230 million people speak Portuguese, making it the eighth-most-spoken language in the world.1 Brazil has by far the largest number of Portuguese-speaking people, followed by Portugal, Mozambique, and Angola.
This provides an incredible opportunity to serve Portuguese-speaking local churches with sound, biblical resources. The Portuguese-speaking church is in great need. Since its beginning, it has been deeply influenced by an imperialistic Roman Catholic Church with a greater interest in colonization than in orthodoxy. This has left the door open for the prosperity gospel to make deep inroads in Latin America.
In recent years, however, Reformed teaching has grown in prevalence. The number of people in Brazil identifying as Roman Catholic fell from 74 percent in 2000 to 65 percent in 2010. During that same time period, the number of Protestants rose from 15 percent to 22 percent. This pattern has continued since then.2 Second after the English-speaking world, Brazil leads as the largest market for Christian literature.3 Like Latin America in general, Brazil is seeing its first taste of reformation.
In Portugal, on the other hand, about 80 percent of the population still identifies as Roman Catholic, and there is a secularizing influence as in the rest of Europe.4
When you donate to support our international outreach efforts, you help Portuguese-speaking Christians rediscover and preach the biblical truths that undergirded the Reformation. Your gift will help us strengthen the global church with trustworthy books, video teaching series, and more. Will you join with us to make these vital discipleship resources available where they’re most needed?
How Is Ligonier Meeting These Needs?
Ligonier Ministries strives to reach Portuguese-speaking pastors, laypeople, and unbelievers from all walks of life through the following donor-supported outreach efforts:
The Reformation Study Bible
To survey the global church is to see false teaching abounding. Whether facing the prosperity gospel or secularism, Portuguese-speaking Christians need sound biblical resources to deepen their knowledge of God and help them recognize and resist unbiblical worldviews. To meet this need, we have partnered with Editora Fiel to translate the Reformation Study Bible into Portuguese with an anticipated release in 2020.
Edited by R.C. Sproul and with contributions from more than seventy-five gifted scholars, this study Bible contains faithful biblical commentary and theological notes to help bring the light of the gospel to people around the world. Outside of the English language, few resources of the same caliber exist. Your gift will help this resource, along with other trusted teaching, to reach Portuguese-speaking Christians in many nations.
The Ligonier Statement on Christology
There is much confusion regarding Christology—the doctrine of Christ—in Brazil, Portugal, and around the world. As the church continues to grow, it is imperative that believers learn the truths of Scripture as summarized in the great confessions of faith. We produced The Word Made Flesh: The Ligonier Statement on Christology to help Christians know what the church has historically taught, providing clarity on the person and work of Christ. The statement has already been translated into numerous languages, including Portuguese, and our goal is to distribute it worldwide. Your gift, large or small, will help achieve this goal.
Portuguese is the fifth-most-used language on the internet, so translating materials is of strategic importance.5 Ligonier’s Portuguese Facebook page has enabled us to reach further into the Portuguese-speaking world. When you give to support this outreach, you’re ensuring that even more solid Bible teaching becomes readily available and accessible.
There have been thousands of views of our short video Do que se tratava a Reforma? (What Was the Reformation All About?), which was released online for the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Social media is spreading biblical truth far and wide, as the printing press did for the Reformers, and it is equipping Portuguese-speaking Christians everywhere.
- Since 2017, Ligonier’s National Conference in Orlando, Fla., has been translated into Portuguese and released live on Facebook, reaching Portuguese-speaking people globally.
- In 2017, Ligonier Teaching Fellows Stephen Nichols and Derek Thomas spoke at the annual Ministério Fiel Conference for pastors and church leaders.
- In 2016, we distributed thousands of copies of the Ligonier Statement on Christology at the Ministério Fiel Conference.
- During the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, we partnered with Ministério Fiel and local churches across the city to distribute nearly one million physical and digital copies of R.C. Sproul’s booklet The Race of Faith in nine languages. During the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, we also partnered together to distribute two booklets by R.C. Sproul: God Is Holy and We’re Not and Can I Have Joy in My Life?
Growing interest in the Reformed tradition has sparked an eagerness for more resources from R.C. Sproul and Ligonier. With your giving and prayerful support, we will be able to translate, print, and distribute the following Reformation Trust titles:
- Moses and the Burning Bush by R.C. Sproul
- None Other by John MacArthur
- A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin
We also regularly translate Tabletalk magazine articles into Portuguese for distribution in churches and seminaries. Your donations allow countless people to enjoy these popular and practical materials in their native language.
Forthcoming Video Teaching Series
Our video teaching series promote theological education in the Portuguese-speaking world, and the accompanying study guides encourage students to interact with the material. Will you help us translate additional series to aid more Christians’ spiritual growth in Brazil and around the world? If resources allow, we have plans to translate the following series:
- A Survey of Church History, Parts 4-6 with W. Robert Godfrey
- Lessons from the Upper Room with Sinclair Ferguson
Translated Video Teaching Series
What Is Needed?
- Final editing and printing of the Portuguese Reformation Study Bible — $50,000 USD
- Translation of select video teaching series — $24,000 USD (annually)
- Translation of Tabletalk articles — $6,000 USD (annually)
- Digital outreach — $5,000 USD (annually)
How Do Your Gifts Help?
These are just a few of our many international outreach projects underway. We ask you to prayerfully consider supporting our efforts in the Portuguese-speaking and global church through your financial gifts. Your generosity helps translate, print, and distribute trustworthy resources, providing countless opportunities to reach people with the truth of God’s Word.
“There’s no people group that we can ignore, no region so remote that we can pass it by. Christ calls us to make disciples of all nations.”
“There is a need not just for good theology, but for leaders who set an example in word and action of the priesthood of all believers. Ligonier’s resources not only train leaders, but equip all believers to be living, active members of the body of Christ.”
—Editora Fiel, Portuguese Publishing Partner
Our policy is to apply gifts given toward a specific program. If we receive more contributions than can be wisely used for a given project, we apply these funds to meet other pressing needs in our outreach efforts. We are committed to stewarding all gifts wisely toward the goal of proclaiming the holiness of God to as many people as possible. Ligonier Ministries is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
1See https://www.rocketlanguages.com/blog/the-15-most-spoken-languages-in-the-world/ as at May 24, 2019
2See http://www.pewforum.org/2013/07/18/brazils-changing-religious-landscape/ as at May 24, 2019
3See http://www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-regions/ as at May 24, 2019
4See http://evangelicalfocus.com/europe/2375/Church_planting_does_not_stop_sharp_decrease_of_evangelical_Christians_in_Portugal as at May 24, 2019
5See https://www.statista.com/statistics/262946/share-of-the-most-common-languages-on-the-internet/ as at May 24, 2019