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This is a complete and accurate transcript of the oral history interview of Carlos Rene Padilla (CN 361 T2) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations, such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. Readers should remember that this is a transcription of spoken English, which, of course, follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
. . . Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
. . . . Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription, made by Nathan Hollenbeck and Paul Ericksen, was completed in April 2000.
Collection 361, T2. Interview of C. Rene Padilla by Paul A. Ericksen on March 12, 1987.
ERICKSEN: Well, I'd like to back up just a little and find out how you got involved with IFES.
PADILLA: My first contact with the...the...the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students was through an Urbana [Missionary] Convention [triennial conference held at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, sponsored by Inter-Varsity for college students interested in missions]. I went to two Urbana Conventions while I was in the US as a student, first in 1954 and then in 1957. I guess in 1954 I was really challenged by the needs in the student world. As a matter of fact I started thinking of the possibility of going to Spain to study instead of staying in the US, but with the clear idea of helping in student work. I'm glad I didn't do it. Mainly, it was [pauses] a desire that developed, and all through college I started investigating the possibility of working with the students in Latin America. Then in 1957 I was approached by the...one of the pioneers of student work in Latin America, Bob Young, who was on the staff of the IFES. He had worked with the IVCF [Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship] in this country, and he said to me, "Well, Rene, I hope you join the staff as soon as you graduate." And right after that, I received a letter from Stacey Woods, who was the General Secretary of IFES, inviting me to join the staff right away. So he wanted an answer by the 31st of January of 1958. And he said, "You join the staff and go to Central America right away." He wanted me to go to Honduras. And, well, I was already starting the Graduate School here. And I...on the 31st of January I phoned him and said, "Well, no angel from heaven has appeared to tell me I should leave my studies. So I'm staying here." "Well," he said, "you don't need more studies. Why don't you just go? You'll learn more by doing." [I] say, "Well, Stacey, just give me time." And I'm glad I stayed.
ERICKSEN: What was the cause of his urgency? Was there...?
PADILLA: [sighs] There was no staff worker. Well, there was hardly anyone working with the IFES in Latin America. The first Latin American staff worker was Samuel Escobar, and he joined the IFES in 1958. He was the first one. There were....
ERICKSEN: Where was he stationed?
PADILLA: At first he was in Argentina, right at first. Then he was sent to Brazil for one year, and then he went back to Argentina. But I...I said to Stacey, in January of '58...I said, "Well, just give me one-and-a-half years of [chuckles]...to do the master's degree I started. I don't believe in leaving what I have started. So, since then we kept in touch, and as soon as I finished I left for Latin America. My first appointment...my...my first task was, well, as a traveling secretary for four countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. There was no student work in any of those countries established as such. Well, there were the beginnings in Peru. And in Venezuela there was one student group in Merida. So my...my task was to try to find Christian students in the churches and encourage them and train them to form groups in the universities. And for two years, actually, I...I had no home, everything, all my belongings except for books were with me in my suitcase. I was a gypsy and traveled up and down in these four countries, with a salary of one hundred dollars, and, well, I had friends who received me often times in their homes, and so the expenses were kept to a minimum. But it was a tremendous experience. Then we got married in 1961 and we settled in Bogota, Colombia, to begin with, and there we were for two years until we went to Manchester.
ERICKSEN: How had things changed in Colombia since the time you had been there as a child and been ill-treated.
PADILLA: Well, the [pauses]...the...the Evangelical churches had really, really grown under persecution. [pauses] There were new denominations also, for instance the Baptists, who had not been there when I was a child. I guess...I don't know what the percentage of Evangelical Christians was at that time, but it was, I'm sure, much higher than when I was a child. But it was a good thing for me to start in Colombia because, anyway, to me Bogata was my home. And I knew the people...I knew people there. I even had relatives there. So it was a good...a good starting point.
ERICKSEN: How did you find [pauses] helping the students start the [pauses]...their campus groups? How did that go?
PADILLA: It was difficult. Usually there would be very, very few. They would come from different churches and oftentimes the church...the churches were very, very antagonistic to one another [laughs quietly].
ERICKSEN: These are Evangelical churches?
PADILLA: Oh, yes. Uh-huh. There was very little understanding on the part of the leadership. Usually the pastors would not be very open to the idea of a...an interdenominational student group. There were very few missionaries interested in this type of ministry. But in many ways it was also encouraging. We saw [chuckles]...we saw the way in which the groups were formed and started growing. We saw the conversion of people, very, very capable people. I can think of a few even now. For instance, 1959, right after I arrived in Latin America, I had contact with a very capable fellow who was studying engineering in Merida, Venezuela. He came from a Roman Catholic background but he called himself an agnostic. He used to make fun of the Evangelical Christians who met for Bible study, and would go there and ask all kinds of difficult questions. And he was delighted to see how they could...they couldn't [chuckles] answer his questions. So, it was my first visit to Merida and I was told by some of the students, the Christian students, "We would like you to talk with this fellow. He's very capable. He's the best student in his class. But he calls himself ag...an agnostic. Could you talk with him?" So, I went to the dorm, and looked for him. And, well, the Lord had prepared the way. He was reading a book by Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian, trying to get more arguments. But he was concerned, you see. I mean, why bother with that kind of a book? So that was a very good starting point. I had read that book in connection with one of my courses here. [laughs] And so we had a long talk that night. And it really was tremendous how the Lord worked in his life. [pauses] Just two weeks afterwards he said to me, "I understand you are preaching in church tomorrow." (It was a Saturday.) So I said, "Yes, I am preaching." He said, "I wonder whether at the end of your sermon you would allow me to say a few words." I said, "What are you going to say?" He said, "Well, I just want to witness to my faith in Jesus Christ. I want to tell people how I have become a Christian." "Really, that's tremendous," you know. I mean, it was on his own initiative. So I...I preached on Jesus' words, "If anyone confesses me before man, I will confess him before my Father who is in heaven." [Matthew 10:32] And so I said, "Well, and there's a young man here who wants to do just that." He had invited...oh, about ten, twelve of his agnostic friends from university to come to the service and they were there. That really was a tremendous impact on the university, and, of course, on the little group. But that kind of experience was very encouraging.
ERICKSEN: How did the IFES groups in the different countries communicate or help each other or...?
PADILLA: Well, that was one of the duties we had as staff workers, of which...of whom there weren't many [chuckles]. We published a magazine, Certeza. That started way back in [pauses] '58. And we started publishing a few books. Ediciones Certeza was started then, also in '58. Then we published a prayer letter, Intercessor, we called it, which is still being published. And we had Bible study materials and that kind of thing coming out of the main office. The central office started in Buenos Aires, and Dr. John White was at that time the General Secretary for Latin America to start with.
ERICKSEN: Was that the John White who's the...who's written the books for Inter-Varsity?
PADILLA: That's right. Uh-hmm. Then we had also some international conferences. The first one was held in 1958 before I joined the staff. I went there from Wheaton and we had...oh, about fifty students or so from eleven countries, I think, at that time. Some of them were not really related to the IFES, but were trying to become a part of a...of a larger movement. And that meeting was very significant. It was held...
ERICKSEN: Where were you the meeting?
PADILLA: ...it was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia. And so, you know, we started developing relationships which kept up...kept on through correspondence, and we would write quite a bit as staff workers. That was one of the...the main aspects of our ministry, to write to the students everywhere we could. You know, occasionally we wo...we would hold a...an international or regional conference. So we moved quite a bit, I mean. You know, I was on the move all the time, all the time, traveling, organizing conferences and preaching in churches and making contact with pastors, and holding meetings with students, and giving lectures on the university campuses and that kind of thing.
ERICKSEN: What was a typical campus group like?
PADILLA: Well, at that time, usually would be between ten and fifteen students from different churches. They would meet for Bible study and prayer. Some of them were much more aggressive, if that is the best word for it. And they would try to organize things right on the university campus, which was usually forbidden even now. But they would organize the showing of a film, or, when I was there, a lecture, or sometimes even a series of lectures, three or four lectures. That was exciting [chuckles]. Took a lot of effort, and for very, very, very few students usually it was a tremendous task. But it was a very good experience, because then Christian students had to identify themselves as such. Oftentimes the universities would be very affected by Marxism, I think more so than now, at that time. There was a lot of Marxist influence in some of the universities.
ERICKSEN: You say it wa...it's less now.
PADILLA: That is my impression.
ERICKSEN: What's led to the diminishing influence?
PADILLA: Oh, probably what has happened in the last few years in terms of the failure of Marxism to provide an answer in countries like Poland, or [pauses] the history of the Soviet Union in the last few years, [pauses] Hungary, [pauses]. And then what has happened in Latin America itself. The inability of Marxists to organize things when they have had a chance to, although, of course, you could argue that they have never had a chance to. But that is an impression. I couldn't...I couldn't prove that there are less Marxists...Marxists today then there are...there were at that time.
ERICKSEN: You mentioned before that pastors weren't often willing to encourage their students to be involved in IFES. What about the relationship between IFES and other mission groups or para-church [pauses] organizations.
PADILLA: We had encouragement on the part of some missionaries who had more understanding of what we were trying to do. Sometimes missionaries who had had some kind of background, [pauses] even with Inter-Varsity in this country. [pauses] I...I think that it would not be unfair to say that to some missionaries, perhaps many [chuckles] missionaries, the student movement was a sort of a threat. We were discussing social issues. You could not [pauses]...you could...you could not do anything else than that. I mean, you...you had to discuss social issues, and try to begin to understand or at least explore the whole question of the relationship between the gospel and social justice. You see, in the midst of a revolutionary situation you cannot spiritualize the gospel. And I think that...that was one point at which oftentimes there was tension. We were probably the only ones that were trying to provide a Christian social ethic to the students, and help them think through questions related to our own concrete situation of poverty and injustice. We were often attacked by Marxists who said that we were, well, paid by the CIA or that kind of thing. And yet on the other hand we were accused by good brethren and sisters for being Marxist. I guess that...that is still true in many places. I remember arguing with the missionaries in more than one occasion on this whole question of how related is the Christian faith to capitalism. And for some of them, you know, there is no way you can separate the two [pauses] unfortunately. And that meant that the student movement sometimes was looked upon with suspicion on the part of missionaries. But that is the dark side of it. I mean, there were people who were supportive and encouraging, and even helping in a direct way. I mean, they would be the local sponsors of the group. Usually it would be people with university education, you see, and better yet if they came from a secular university [chuckles, pauses] than from a Bible school.
ERICKSEN: Because they had had to wrestle with all the same issues?
PADILLA: Right! They would have a wider world [pauses], a much better understanding of what the issues were, and they would be interested in student work.
ERICKSEN: [pauses] We were talking about IFES student groups. What led to your being appointed as the Associate General Secretary for Latin America?
PADILLA: Well, I suppose you would have to ask that question to the executive committee of the IFES, and especially to Stacey Woods, who is now with the Lord, anyhow. What I was told is that [pauses] I was very faithful in writing to people and I was...I had some kind of administrative abilities, and at the same time I was very much a part of the student movement in Latin America from the beginning. I represented history for the movement. I was committed [pauses] to this ministry without any reservations [pauses], so that appointment came in 196-... hmm...'60-something...'66. That's right. It was in 1966 after I came back from Manchester with my PhD. [pauses] So....
ERICKSEN: How did your job description...? Well, let me ask you another question. Did someone else become the traveling secretary?
PADILLA: Well, between 1959 and 1963, and even more in 1966 (but I said '63 because that's when I left for England), but in those four years, several movements were organized. And you know the IFES even now works not in becoming a big empire. Many people don't even know that the IFES exists. They would be familiar with the local, national student movement. And so you see, in...in those four years, when I was a traveling secretary, several movements were organized, and that meant that they had their own staff, their own finances, sometimes they would get some help from outside, but a lot of the financial backing came from within the country and so on. And in some cases, well, we had worked out...we had worked ourselves out of the job in terms of local student work. So, that was one factor. The other factor was that John White had resigned. He was the General Secretary from '59 to '63 or '64, I'm not sure, and there was no General Secretary. So my job description had a lot to do with that. It was a question of maintaining [pauses] a relationship with the...the staff workers, mainly general secretaries of the movements, oftentimes quite young and inexperienced. And it was a question also of coordinating international conferences, working on visitor...visits from outside for the various national movements, working on the question of finances, because the IFES would help financially those movements that needed some help but without imposing from above [chuckles] any kind of structures or...I mean, we tried to really allow the movement to develop with...with its own roots. And I kept in close touch with the national movements. There was also a literature program, and that was meant to be an arm of the student work to help with the magazine and books. That was also to be under my general supervision.
ERICKSEN: Did you like being an administrator?
PADILLA: I didn't mind it. [pauses] I wish I had had more help. [sound of train passing in the background] I never had a full-time secretary. That was hard. But I didn't mind my work as such. Besides, I was able to organize myself so that some of my time would be dedicated to studying and preparing materials and that kind of thing. I did not want to become an administrator and nothing else.
ERICKSEN: Now, di...when you...when you were first the Associate General Secretary you were in Lima [Peru].
PADILLA: That's right. Just for one year.
ERICKSEN: And then you moved to Buenos Aires [Argentina].
PADILLA: That's right.
ERICKSEN: What was the reason for that?
PADILLA: It was mainly because the literature program was going through a crisis. The man who had been appointed to administrate, manage the literature program as such, Paul Sheets, had had a heart attack, and as a result there was a lot to be done in that area of connecting the literature program to the student movement and seeing to it that the literature program got going, so I thought the best thing was to go to Buenos Aires and try to keep in close touch with people who were...were working with the literature.
ERICKSEN: Now, was the literature department...was that...what was the name of that?
PADILLA: It was Ediciones Certeza. And the magazine was Certeza. The editor of the magazine was an old friend of the movement, Alec Clifford, the son of missionaries. He was an Anglo-Argentine, very, very brilliant man. He had been professor at the University of Cordoba [Argentina] and a journalist. He was the founder of the magazine, and at that time he was also the editor of books. So the first few publications that came out for students were books that we translated from English: Basic Christianity, by John Stott, The Authority, by Martin Lloyd-Jones, The Authority of Scripture, and so on. [pauses] Those were the beginnings of our publishing program.
ERICKSEN: When did you start publishing books that were written by Latin Americans?
PADILLA: [chuckles] Well, that...that was my concern. And I guess it was a concern that other staff, especially Samuel Escobar shared with me. But it was not all that easy to find people who would write, so we started writing a few things ourselves. [Ericksen chuckles] Little by little we increased our Spanish...our line of Spanish originals. It was difficult. It's still difficult.
ERICKSEN: [pauses] What...you said that by the time that you were appointed Associate General Secretary there were...were national movements started in a number of countries; what countries were those?
PADILLA: Umm, hmm. I need to exercise my memory. We had a movement organized in Peru, another one in Venezuela, another one in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Argentina. I may be missing one or two. Those were...those were organized.
ERICKSEN: And what about over the period until you moved over to LAM [Latin America Mission] and more group...national groups started, some fallen out? What happened?
PADILLA: Yes, well, most of the groups grew. There was a...(I should have said this)...the oldest IFES related student movement in Latin America is the Mexican movement. It was started way back in the early 50s. I think the only...the only movement that was organized and then kind of folded up [chuckles] and disappeared was the student movement in Paraguay. In the last few years same thing has happened in Venezuela, but on the whole the movements have been organized and have kept on going and growing. We have been very, very thankful to see the way the...the...the new leadership develops. And everywhere we saw the emergence of staff workers, and also professionals who were backing the student work. So during the years that I was with the IFES, until '8...1981, more and more we saw that our own international ministry was becoming [pauses] not that necessary anymore. There's still the place for some kind of coordination of international events and, you know, an office that would help people feel a part of a larger movement and so on, but it was not a question of doing pioneer work anymore.
ERICKSEN: How is...how has work among university students changed since you started back in 1958?
PADILLA: [chuckles] Well, usually in every country now you have a nucleus of professional people, who back up the movement. In some countries it's better than in others, but there is a whole generation of professional people who take the gospel seriously, and are trying to help in every possible way with the student work, which was not true when we started. And in many cases now there are churches that are very supportive, more pastors who have become involved. Of course, some of the pastors have come right out of the student movement. There's a great change in terms of support, local support, and local staff.
ERICKSEN: From the local church, too?
PADILLA: Yes, uh-huh. Yes, in some areas...in some cases, as I say, even the pastor would have had some experience with the student movement.
PADILLA: In fact, some of them have become Christians through the student movement.
ERICKSEN: [pauses] Where does the Evangelical church fit into the whole framework of religious life in Latin America?
PADILLA: Well, that is a big question. [laughs]
ERICKSEN: [laughs] Maybe we should leave it alone.
PADILLA: [laughs] Umm.
ERICKSEN: I guess part of what I'm trying to see is just a comparison between what it was and what it's become.
PADILLA: Well, you see, the growth of...the numerical growth of the Evangelical churches is really fantastic, especially in some countries (not everywhere). And in the last few years more and more people have become sympathetic towards Evangelical...Evangelical churches. In some places it's no longer a question of becoming a second class citizen by becoming an Evangelical Christian. In countries like Guatemala or El Salvador or Brazil or Chile there is a very high percentage of Evangelical Christians. [pauses] There are...there are things that are very encouraging. I think there is much more local leadership, a lot of initiative oftentimes. On the other hand, we have run into the problem of churches that become rather Constantinian in their approach; that is they become ambitious of power, political power, and can be easily diverted from their real task. More and more, Christians assume that if you are an Evangelical Christian you can expect to be successful in life; materially successful in life. And many churches are concerned about [pauses] numerical growth, [pauses] influence in society in terms of having a say on things that relate to politics and social issues, but without a real understanding of what it means to be a church available to suffering people, [pauses] speaking for those who cannot speak, and getting close to those are oppressed. Is it sort of a triumphalistic approach which is not very healthy. And that is a matter of concern to me. Things have changed a great deal. We don't have the degree of commitment that we saw in Evangelical churches once upon a time. And the radical difference between Christians and non-Christians has to a great extent disappeared. [pauses] That is, of course, is speaking in very general terms.
ERICKSEN: What about willingness to cooperate [pauses] amongst Evangelicals?
PADILLA: I think you would have to talk more about unwillingness to cooperate. On the whole the picture is very dark. I think the church is specializing denominationalism. And we have divisions that have been imported, and divisions that we have created ourselves. So in some countries you have hundreds of denominations now. And I'm not exaggerating. I mean hundreds. That is a big...a big problem.
ERICKSEN: What about the relationship between Evangelicals and other segments of Christianity: Roman Catholics, charismatics. I don't want to exclude charismatics from Evangelicals, but....
PADILLA: Yes, on...on the whole there has been very, very little progress on the question of the relationship between Evangelical churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, the Roman Catholic Church has changed drastically, although you still find [chuckles] many clergymen, Roman Catholic bishops and priests, who continue to think in terms of a church that has the monopoly of truth and assume that Latin America cannot be anything else than Roman Catholic, pre-Vatican priests. But there is much more openness. There is much more willingness to relate to others. But I would say that it's one of the greatest weaknesses in the Roman Catholic Church, even now, that the...the...the question of church unity is not taken seriously. And it is assumed that if you are not Roman Catholic, you are not quite Latin American. Also, I think it is a great pity the way in which all kinds of religious groups and churches are put in the same bag. So you have for instance in the Puebla document [a product of the third Latin American Bishops General Conference in 1979 Puebla, Mexico, where the church leaders gathered to examine the state and future of the Catholic Church in the Latin American context; building on the Second Conference in 1968 in Medellin, Colombia the bishops reaffirmed the church's commitment to the poor and oppressed, coined the phrase in its document "the preferential option for the poor," and advanced the growth of Latin American theology and interaction with liberation theology] a listing of modern of religious movements and churches placed together [chuckles] as if there is no real distinction between them. So you find Methodists and Presbyterians and Baptists together with Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses and Family of God and Hare Krishna, whatever. But on the other hand, of course, you have much more [pauses] openness to listening to Evangelicals, especially among people who are interested in the...in Bible...in Bible reading and study. There is a biblical movement in the Roman Catholic church. Now on the Protestant side you have people who continue to think of the Roman Catholic church the way we thought of it twenty years ago or more, and they see no changes. I don't think you can deny the way in which the church, the Roman Catholic church, has changed. You could say at the level of doctrine things remain the same when it comes to dogma and so on. But there is a lot of change in terms of the place that the Bible has in the church, the participation of people, the concern of the ...of a segment, a large segment, a growing segment of the Roman Catholic...Catholic church for the poor, and of course, you have the influence of liberation theology and so on. So things have changed a great deal.
ERICKSEN: What's the state of theological education in Latin America [pauses] for Evangelicals?
PADILLA: Well, to begin with, a high percentage of pastors in Latin America have no formal theological education, and they are not interested in formal theological education. I couldn't give you the exact figures, but you can be sure that in Pentecostal circles, seminary graduates are the exception; they are not the rule. There are a few Evangelical seminaries that deserve the name, very few. Most seminaries in Latin America are sanctified Bible schools or glorified Bible schools. Still, in the field of theological education there is a tremendous influence of American institutions and approaches. Unfortunately, the financial problems...problem gets in the midst of it all. I think many of the decisions are taken on the basis of economics, not on the basis of what is best for the kingdom of God. I had a letter just recently, for instance, from a fellow who is well qualified. He has a degree from an educational...a theological institution in this country, and has been serving as a professor in a seminary in his own country. And he tells me how year after year the budget is cut down, the missionary society says, "You know, you have to support yourselves," and so on. And they send more missionaries to be teachers. So in the end what that means is that nationals who would have to be supported by the local churches have to resign because the churches are not really supporting the institution, either because they are not that interested in it, or because they cannot, they are unable to do so. And then you have Americans who come with their full support, no problem. Some years ago I was approached by an educational and theological institution and I was asked whether I would be willing to teach there, provided that I got my own support. I said, "No, well, I cannot get my own support. You would have to pay me." So they have...they appointed a German professor, who came with his support. So that is a problem. I feel that some Evangelical theological institutions are little copies of Fuller [Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California] or Dallas [Theological Seminary] or Westminster [Theological Seminary in Philadelphia] or...I don't know whether the Wheaton [College] Graduate School is represented there...but there is very little creative thinking to see how to adapt the curriculum to the needs of the country. That is the negative side of it. There is a positive side. There are some creative ways in which people are educating theologically. We have extension courses. Some churches have a very good program to help people who want to study more. You have the development of what is called Facultad Latin Americana Educacion Teologica, Latin American Faculty of Theological Education, which has, I understand, around ten thousand students all over Latin America. It's mainly an extension program, but with a lot of input by Latin Americans, and you find students everywhere who study on their own and in small groups and are visited by people who are on staff. I think that is filling a vacuum there. My own desire would be to see more and more people who are helped to think theologically, and that is to me the purpose of theological education, not just to give a package, but to help people develop the tools to think theologically on all kinds of questions.
ERICKSEN: What kind of contribution has the Latin American Evangelical church made in confronting liberation theology?
PADILLA: The...the influence of liberation theology has been minimum in Evangelical circles. You have people like Jose Miguez Boninio, who have come out of the Protestant camp to become a liberation theologian. In some seminaries I don't think they don't even bother to read anything related to liberation theology. There is the idea that that is Marxism, and that's it. Why bother with it? I think there's a very naive approach to liberation theology. There are people who are very much against it, but if you ask them what they have read about it, what they have read by the liberation theologians, they will tell you, "I haven...I haven't." So, you know, there is a lot of prejudice. In some cases, I think liberation theologians have helped, in that they have posed the right kind of questions. I have oftentimes said that questions related...relating to justice, social justice, and liberation are not really invented by Marxists or liberation theologians; they come right out of the situation. And Evangelicals haven't done their homework on those issues. There are some here and there who have attempted to do it, but you always run into the risk of being branded. If you talk about the poor, or social justice, you must be a Marxist.
ERICKSEN: Has that happened to you?
PADILLA: Yes, it has happened to me more than once. I have been accused of being a Marxist, but it's...it's nonsense. I think the only response to liberation theology that has been articulated has come out of the Latin American Theological Fraternity, which is a movement [pauses] working since 1970 trying to formulate or articulate some kind of Evangelical theology which is aware of issues and relevant to the Latin American situation. And I am related to the Latin American Theological Fraternity, at present time the General Secretary. We have about one hundred members or so all over Latin America. And I would say practically the only response to liberation theology that has been carefully thought through has come right out of the Latin American Theological Fraternity. And there are people who are publishing on the question, especially Samuel Escobar and Emilio Antonio Nunez, Pedro Arana.
ERICKSEN: What kind of influence are their writings having?
PADILLA: It's too early to say. [chuckles] In some cases, these writings are penetrating the theological institutions, but very, very, very slowly. I suppose you could say that not enough has been done as yet. I don't know what we're waiting for, but most of us are too busy doing other things.
END OF TAPE