The Spanish-Speaking Church
What Is the Opportunity?
A new reformation is dawning in the Spanish-speaking church. From the south in Chile to the north in Mexico, and throughout the Caribbean, the historic Christian faith is spreading now more than ever. More than four hundred million people speak Spanish, so this represents a significant opportunity.
While there are significant variations from country to country, approximately 69 percent of adults in Latin America identify as Roman Catholic.1 Some 84 percent of adults say they were raised Roman Catholic. But more people are embracing the truth of the gospel. God is raising up gospel preachers in their native lands, and hundreds of men are following their example and flocking to the ministry. In cities where there were once few believers, now congregations of thousands of people are gathering every week to sit under expository, biblical preaching.
Many of these Latin American leaders, such as Miguel Núñez, Sugel Michelén, Otto Sánchez, Salvador Gómez, and others, have been influenced by the teaching of R.C. Sproul, and are now themselves spreading the doctrines of grace with an emphasis on the holiness of God.
Today, 19 percent of adults in Latin America identify as Protestant, even though only 9 percent of Latin Americans were raised in Protestant churches.2 However, the prosperity gospel is making deep inroads, leading many people into empty promises of worldly success. Research shows that a majority of Protestants in every Latin American country say that God will grant wealth and good health to believers who have enough faith, from 59 percent in Chile to 91 percent in Venezuela.3
In Spain, about 71 percent of the population identifies as Roman Catholic, but the influence of secularism is widespread. Only 0.25 percent of Spaniards identify as Protestant (about 120,000 people). The largest minority religion is Islam. There are about 1.5 million Muslims in Spain.4
How Is Ligonier Meeting These Needs?
We strive to reach Spanish-speaking pastors, laypeople, and unbelievers from all walks of life through the following outreach efforts:
The Reformation Study Bible
Our Reformation Study Bible helps to deepen Christians’ study of God’s Word. We are currently translating this trusted resource into Spanish. Many pastors in Latin America lack formal theological education and prepare their sermons without the commentaries and other resources so prevalent in the United States. The Reformation Study Bible is much anticipated by Spanish-speaking people.
As with the English edition, the Spanish Reformation Study Bible will have more than 1.1 million words of verse-by-verse commentary and topical explanations, award-winning maps and visual aids, trusted contributions from seventy-five distinguished scholars, theological summaries from R.C. Sproul, and nearly two thousand years of creeds, confessions, and catechisms. As R.C. Sproul said, “The light of the Reformation was the light of the Bible.” The same is true today.
Renewing Your Mind in Spanish
Renewing Your Mind is now on the air in Spanish. Along with Ligonier’s Spanish website, Renovando Tu Mente launched globally in March 2018. The radio broadcast and Internet podcast are reaching Spanish-speaking Christians in their native language. Like its counterpart in English, Renovando Tu Mente instructs listeners in the life-changing truths of historic Christianity.
The Ligonier Statement on Christology
Confusion abounds regarding Christology—the doctrine of Christ—in Latin America 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 and regain clarity regarding the person and work of Christ. Our goal is to distribute this statement worldwide, and it has already been translated into numerous languages, including Spanish.
There have been more than five hundred thousand views of our short video ¿Qué es la Reforma Protestante? (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 hundreds of thousands of growing Christians throughout Latin America.
- In the Fall of 2016, we held our first conference in Mexico.
- In 2016, we distributed ten thousand physical copies of the Ligonier Statement on Christology at the Por Su Causa Conference in the Dominican Republic, which was streamed to 150 churches in twenty-five countries. Approximately eighteen thousand ebooks from the Crucial Questions series were also downloaded during the conference.
- Ligonier’s 2017, 2018, and 2019 National Conferences in Orlando, Fla., were translated into Spanish and released live on Facebook, reaching Spanish speakers throughout the world.
- Ligonier continues to partner with many conferences throughout Latin America to distribute key resources.
Growing interest in the Reformed faith has sparked an eagerness for more resources from R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries. Our plans include translating, printing, and distributing the following Reformation Trust titles:
- By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me by Sinclair Ferguson
- The Masculine Mandate: God's Calling to Men by Richard D. Phillips
- What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? by Richard D. Phillips
- Twenty-two of our Crucial Questions booklets by R.C. Sproul have been translated and published electronically, with seven in print so far
Recently Published Books
- The Priest with Dirty Clothes by R.C. Sproul
- The Prince’s Poison Cup by R.C. Sproul
- Moses and the Burning Bush by R.C. Sproul
- The Prayer of the Lord by R.C. Sproul
- Are We in the Last Days? by R.C. Sproul
- Are We Together?: A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism by R.C. Sproul
- Can I Know God’s Will? by R.C. Sproul
- Can I Trust the Bible? by R.C. Sproul
- Does Prayer Change Things? by R.C. Sproul
- Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul
- The Expository Genius of John Calvin by Steven J. Lawson
- The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther by Steven J. Lawson
- In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel-Centered Life by Sinclair Ferguson
- A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin
- None Other: Discovering the God of the Bible by John MacArthur
- Good News: The Gospel of Jesus Christ by John MacArthur
- Final Word: Why We Need the Bible by John MacArthur
- Surprised by Suffering by R.C. Sproul
- What Is Reformed Theology? by R.C. Sproul
- The Daring Mission of William Tyndale by Steven J. Lawson
- Who is the Holy Spirit? by R.C. Sproul
- What Does It Mean to By Born Again? by R.C. Sproul
- How Should I Live in this World? by R.C. Sproul
Our video teaching series help promote theological education in the Spanish-speaking world, and the accompanying study guides encourage students to interact with the material. More than forty of these series have already been translated into Spanish, and we plan to make them available through YouTube in the coming months.
Recently Translated Teaching Series
What Is Needed?
- Translation, production, and distribution of select Ligonier resources, including the Long Line of Godly Men Profile series, the Crucial Questions series, select children’s titles, and more — $65,700 USD
- Digital outreach — $18,000 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 through your financial gifts and prayers for the Spanish-speaking and global church. Your generosity helps us translate, print, and distribute trustworthy resources, providing countless opportunities to reach people with the truth of God’s Word.
"Almost fifty years after Ligonier’s founding, Latin America is primed and ready. With the impact this ministry has had in the States, there’s the potential for the same thing to happen in Latin America and for society to be transformed. The main goal is for the Lord to be glorified."
—Matt McGhee; Sr. Manager, Spanish, Portuguese and French Outreach
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 http://www.pewforum.org/2014/11/13/religion-in-latin-america/ as at May 17, 2018
2See http://www.pewforum.org/2014/11/13/religion-in-latin-america/ as at May 17, 2018
3See http://www.pewforum.org/2014/11/13/chapter-4-pentecostalism/ as at May 17, 2018
4See http://www.studycountry.com/guide/ES-religion.htm as at May 17, 2018