Mexico - (América del Norte)

Información sobre Mexico

Mexico City
1953162 kilómetros cuadrados
nominally Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%, other 5%
Cristianos (%)
Protestantes (%)
Reformados (%)

From the Conquista (by the Spaniards) until the 19th century, the RCath church was the only accepted religion. A new era began with the independence from Spain (1810-1821) and the rise of the militant anticlerical liberalism of Benito Juárez (1806-1872), who granted religious freedom in 1857. From that time Prot influence from the USA made itself increasingly felt in Mexico. Around 1872 four Ref churches started mission work in Mexico: the Presbyterian Church USA (Northern Presbyterian Church), the Presbyterian Church US (Southern Presbyterian Church), the Associate Presbyterian Church (ARPC), and the Congregationalist Church in the United States. These churches built on work that had been accomplished by missionaries during the previous years. For instance, an important role for the nascent Presbyterian Church was played by Arcadio Morales Escalona (1850-1922). He was a Mexican who came to a living faith in 1869 and was ordained pastor in 1878 with ten other national leaders.
The Northern Presbyterian Church USA began work in Mexico City, Villa de Cos, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosi. From Mexico City it extended its efforts to other parts of the Federal District and from there to the states of Mexico, Morelos, Hidalgo, Puebla, Guerrero, Michoacan, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatan. The Southern Presbyterian Church was active in Matamoros Tamaulipas and spread to the whole state of Brownsville, Texas, a region that then still belonged to Mexico.
The work of these churches developed rapidly. The first presbyteries were established in Zacatecas (1883), Tamaulipas (1884), Mexico City (1885), and Comalcalco, Tabasco (1896). In 1882 a theological seminary was opened in Mexico City, where Mexican pastors began to be trained. In 1894 the two Presbyterian missions decided to unite their work, and in 1901 the first synod of the National Presbyterian Church in Mexico (1) was held. At that time the church had 5,500 members, 73 churches, and 190 smaller congregations, which were served by 46 ministers. Strong emphasis was placed on educational and medical work; several schools and Presbyterian hospitals were established.
The Associate Presbyterian work resulted in the formation of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church of Mexico (2), mainly in the area of the states of San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, and Hidalgo. The Congreg work started in 1872 in the states of Jalisco, mainly Guadalajara, Sinaloa, Mazatlan, and some small towns of these states. The Christian Congregational Churches in Mexico (3) are the fruit of these efforts.
The Mexican revolution, which culminated in the adoption of a new constitution in 1917 hastened the indigenization of the church. More and more responsibility had to be taken over by Mexicans. In the 1920s a new field of expansion opened in Chiapas. With the help of missionaries John and Mabel Kempers of the Reformed Church in America (RCA), the National Presbyterian Church in Mexico developed important evangelistic work in Chiapas, first among the Spanish-speaking population and then in the 1950s among the Mayan-speaking people, such as Chol, Tzotil, and Tzeltzal indigenous groups. Today Chiapas is one of the strongholds of the National Presbyterian Church.
In the years after World War II two splits occurred in the National Presbyterian Church. First, in 1947, due to doctrinal, administrative, and personality conflicts, the Independent Presbyterian Church was formed, and in the early ’50s, largely through the activities of Carl McIntire, the National Conservative Pres-byterian Church (4) came into existence.
In 1962 the Independent Presbyterian Church entered into relations with the Christian Reformed Church in North America, which sent missionaries to strengthen its evangelistic work. After a period of stagnation it began to expand its work to the south. In 1984 it suffered further division; while the larger group changed its name in 1992 to Presbyterian Ref Church (5), the other maintained the name Independent Presbyterian Church (6).
In recent times initiatives have been taken to bring the various Presbyterian churches in Mexico closer to one another. On July 4, 1995, three Presbyterian Churches — the National Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Reformed Church, and the Associate Presbyterian Reformed Church — decided to form the Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches in the Republic of Mexico (La Alianza de Iglesias Presbiterianas y Reformadas de la Republica Mexicana — AIPREM).


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