Disrespecting borders for Jesus, power, and cash : Southern Baptist missions, the new immigration, and the churches of the Brazilian diaspora.


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This dissertation traces the history of the Brazilian Baptists from the initial presence of Southern Baptist missionaries in Brazil to the formation of Brazilian Baptist churches in the United States. By looking at shifts in the denominational identity of Brazilian Baptists, the study presents a transnational narrative that has at its center the historic relationship between Southern Baptist missions and Brazilian Baptist identity, an identity that is still largely defined in relation to Southern Baptists. Historically, Brazilian Baptist identity went through three major shifts, namely: 1) from missionary-controlled to Americanized (1882-1938); 2) from Americanized to Brazilianized (1938-1982); and, in regards to Brazilian Baptist churches in the United States, 3) from Brazilianized to Brazuca (1981- today). This research draws on denominational publications, missionary correspondence, oral history, and ethnographic work to document the often-neglected white supremacist side of Southern Baptist missions in Brazil and its historic connections to the yet-unexplored narrative of the transnational Brazilian Baptist networks that emerged in the United States beginning in the 1980s. As such, this project contributes to the literature on United States evangelical missions, the history of Latina/o Christianity, and the burgeoning research on transnational religiosity.



Missions, Evangelicalism, Baptist Studies, Transnational Religion, Religion and Immigration