Religion, Resistance, and Reform: The Protestant Revolution in Mexico

Eucario M. Sein’s contributions to Mexican Protestantism are of great importance. From 1893 to 1914, his ministry in Mexico yielded hundreds of teachers, thousands of converts, and over 20,000 Sunday school students. He was celebrated by evangelicals, targeted by Roman Catholics, and beloved by a copious number of Mexicans. The Protestant networks he established connected multitudes of people to organized groups of resistance against state officials, prompting many to consider him among the most important religious figures in the nation. Thus, he served as a symbol of defiance against the Catholic Church in Mexico as his Protestant conversion birthed a lifelong battle with his former ecclesial affiliation. Religious ideological warfare conditioned him to view his faith as a form of resistance to the tyranny of nation-state hegemonies. This is integral to the development of his theological convictions which became a political dogma devised to combat ecclesial oppression. By examining how Sein situated Protestantism in direct contrast to Catholicism, we can learn how Mexicans exercised religion as a tool of agency to oppose the state. The importance of this narrative is significant because the Mexican Revolution was in part a religious war of ideologies. This expands our understanding of Protestantism’s importance in the evolution of Mexico’s history. Situating the nation’s evangelical imaginary into larger conversations about politics, education, and liberalism, gives us greater insight into the transnational resonance of his theological ideals which impacted Mexico’s values, politics, and society. Thus, Sein’s life is ultimately a cultural history of progressive Mexicans at the turn of the twentieth century; a faction of radical dissenters whose battle against the government and Roman church resulted in the Mexican Revolution.

My paper is timely and important because it addresses the birth of Mexican evangelicalism in the Global South. The prominence of this genesis cannot be overstated as the movement has gone on to become the fastest growing religious nexus in modern-day global Christianity. This marks a necessity to better understand the inception of Mexican evangelicalism. While many scholars have focused on Pentecostalism or Catholicism, there has not been sufficient scholarly attention given to Protestantism. My research aims to fill this gap in the literature by unearthing the contribution of Mexican actors to Protestantism’s prominence in the Global South.

4 thoughts on “Religion, Resistance, and Reform: The Protestant Revolution in Mexico”

  1. Very Good; Has potential
    Excellent abstract; paper should be included at ETS.
    Topic broadly fits into our session (post 1700 Christian “History” and Thought), yet it is not a normal topic we usually entertain as a section. It has potential to be included in our open session; might fit better if other related papers are found in the bunch we’re reviewing.

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  2. Good topic
    I agree that this paper makes a helpful contribution and should be offered at ETS. While it does fit our session, and I would be happy to include it, I, too, wonder if there is another session with which it might have a natural connection.

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  3. Good paper to include
    This should definitely be given at ETS and I think it would be good for us to broaden our the types of papers we include, unless it can be grouped with more like papers to draw an even bigger audience.

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  4. I agree with the other comments
    I’d really like to hear this paper at ETS. Whether it belongs in our session rather than another, where it would benefit from some synergy with other papers, I’m not so sure. How would we know?

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