Informationen über Chile
|Santiago de Chile
|Roman Catholic 77%, Prot. 13%, Jewish 0.2%, others 4.2%
Originally inhabited by Indians (Araucans), Chile was conquered by the Spaniards in the middle of the 16th century. Santiago de Chile was founded in 1541, but Chile remained under the administration of Lima until 1778. The country became independent in 1818. The constitutions of 1833 and 1925 assured a democratic system. Increasingly the country became economically dependent on foreign powers. Attempts of the Democracia Cristiana (Edoardo Frei 1964-1970) and, later, of the socialist Unidad Popolar (Salvador Allende 1970-73) to introduce economic reforms failed. With the support of the United States, General Pinochet took power in 1973 and exercised repressive rule until 1990. Democratic elections were again held in 1994.
The RCath Church began to take root in the 16th century. The diocese of Santiago was founded in 1559. Until the middle of the 19th century the RCath was recognized as the state church. In 1865 religious freedom was granted to other religious communities; in 1875 the first non-Catholic community was registered as a juridical entity (Anglican Church). Today a wide variety of religious groups can be found in Chile. About 42 communities belong to the Concilio Evangélico de Chile.
Chilean Presbyterianism began with the arrival in Chile of Dr. David Trumbull in 1845. Trumbull, who was sent to Chile by the American and Foreign Missions Society of the Congregational Churches in the United States, began his work in Valparaiso, Chile’s principal port. He was the first Protestant in Chile to engage in evangelism of the Spanish-speaking population. In the early years of his ministry his efforts focused on gaining legal and civil rights for non-Catholics in Chile. Supported since 1870 by the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the church gradually established congr in the principal cities, particularly in Santiago, the central valley of Chile, and the northern nitratemining areas, where English influence was strong.
Following Trumbull’s death in 1889, other Presbyterian missionaries assumed direction of the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Chile (no. 1), which was at that time the Chile Presbytery under the Synod of New York of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. During the 20th century tensions became increasingly apparent between the American missionaries and the Chilean national pastors and elders. In the mid-1930s, younger Chilean pastors formed an evangelistic group which eventually allied itself with fundamentalist forces in the US. A first division occurred in 1944, when the Iglesia Presbiteriana Nacional (no. 2) separated from the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Chile.
The Iglesia Presbiteriana Nacional established its congregations in Santiago, Valparaiso, and the central valley. Many of these were new congr, formed with a nucleus of persons who had left the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Chile. By the 1950s there was increasing questioning of fundamentalist theology in the Iglesia Presbiteriana Nacional. As a consequence, in 1960 the fundamentalists left the church and formed the Iglesia Presbiteriana Nacional Fundamentalista (no. 3). They maintained relations with Carl McIntire’s ICCC, while the Iglesia Presbiteriana Nacional established relations with the Presbyterian Church in America and with the Mission League of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, tensions continued in the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Chile between Chilean nationals and the American missionaries. By the late 1950s the US church began to reduce the number of missionaries assigned to Chile. In 1964 the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Chile became an independent and completely self-supporting denomination.
However, the end of the relationship with American missionaries did not put an end to division in the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Chile, and in 1972 the church divided yet again, with the congregations in the north of Chile and many in Valparaiso forming the Iglesia Evangelica Presbiteriana (no. 4). The Iglesia Evangelica Presbiteriana renewed relationships with the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, and became active in the WARC as well as in the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) and other ecumenical groups.
In the late 1980s the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), a new denomination which split off from the PCUS (cf. United States no. 31) decided that missionaries in Chile ought to dedicate themselves to the establishment of new congregations instead of working in existing ones, and this resulted in the departure of the PCA missionaries from the Presby of the Iglesia Presbiteriana Nacional and the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America (in Chile) (cf. no. 5). The PCA missionaries have been successful in establishing several new congregations, particularly in Santiago. The 1980s also saw the arrival of several missionaries of the Presbyterian Church of Korea in Chile. The Korean Presbyterian Church (no. 6) was founded in 1982 by Rev. Lim Soon-Sam, a missionary sent by the Presbyterian Church in Korea —TongHap (cf. Korea no. 14). While this church mainly consisted of Koreans living in Chile, the Christian Presbyterian Church of Chile (no. 7) owes its existence to an effort of evangelization among Spanish-speaking people. The Korean United Church in Chile (no. 8) was founded by missionaries of the Presby-terian Church in Korea — HapDong (cf. Korea no. 15); later it established relations with the Korean American Presbyterian Church (cf. United States no. 23). Recently, it has been joined by missionaries of Pentecostal churches; its character has thus been transformed.