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Chilean Baptists and the State

Baptists have always existed and flourished—independent of the state—and therefore are natural libertarians; thus making the new Independence Party (Partido Independencia) in Chile appropriate for promoting their ideals. In the British colonies before the founding of the United States of America, Baptists opposed (1) paying taxes to build churches for Anglicans, Congregationalists, etc., (2) the obligation to request licenses to preach from other religious authorities, and (3) to pay fines or suffer enslavement (in the case of Virignia) for not attending the worship services of other religions established by law, for example Anglican services in Colonial Virginia.

In the face of such threats, Baptist pastors of the era Isaac Backus and John Leland fought to ratify a Bill of Rights, which was later transformed into the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution in 1789. Those Baptists were true libertarians.

The same thing happened in Chile where early American Baptist missionaries and a Scottish Baptist opposed the link between the state and the church, especially the prohibition of conducting public worship services or preaching the gospel in Spanish. It is not surprising that the first missionaries who arrived in Chile from the United States (1917-1926), advocated changes leading up to the 1925 Chilean Constitution or became active members of the Radical Party of the time. They wanted the freedom from the state and its bride, the Roman Catholic Church.

These Baptists brought many dollars to Chile (undoubtedly in the form of U.S. gold coins commonly circulating before 1933), investing the equivalent today of many hundreds of millions of pesos in: (1) paying salaries of more than ten full-time missionaries, largely with advanced degrees, (2) building many churches and pastoral residences between Santiago and Chiloé and also in Antofagasta, (3) launching a publishing house called El Lucero, a Christian radio broadcast, and a monthly magazine La Voz Bautista, (4) erecting a seminary on Miguel Claro street (Providencia, Santiago), and (5) building a main school in Temuco (initially for girls only) in 1921, led by Miss Agnes Graham, with branch or satellite schools around Temuco.

This last project was very successful, according to missionary Dr. William Earl Davidson, “Time proved the wisdom of co-educational venture, Miss Graham’s school became the pilot co-educational school for all Chile.” His Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile 1917-1924, page 7[Photo credit]

Agnes Graham.PNG
For Chilean Baptists, activism against the state—and its most egregious manifestations like communism—was necessary. This fact was evidenced in many articles they wrote on the subject, published in La Voz Bautista in 1922 and 1923. Baptists do not want to force anyone to attend church services or follow religious precepts. On the contrary, they want to live in a free society where they can preach the Gospel in peace, persuading others to join them by converting to Christ. The Baptist religion is simple and biblical, providing no place for the state—an institution that was (and often still is) repugnant for many Baptists, if not openly satanic.

The Chilean state was an annoyance to the early Baptist missionaries and first Chilean pastors like Honorio Espinoza, a law school graduate from the University of Chile and first Chilean president of the Baptist seminary in Santiago. All these men had graduate degrees—some of them holding doctorates (Davidson, 1928; Moore, 1944; McGavock, 1961; Maer, before 1941). Espinoza and Isaías Valdivia were examples of Chilean Baptist pastors who studied in prestigious seminars in the United States before 1940, returning to Chile to participate in the struggle against personal and social sins pervasive in Chile, being aided by their degrees and preparation. The intellectual Baptists of the time had a very high level of education, even by today’s standards, and should be an example to follow for modern Baptists and other Evangelical, Protestant and Pentecostal Christians.

For example, the missionary Roberto Cecil Moore, who obtained his doctorate (Ph.D.) at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with his thesis The Economic Influence of Roman Catholicism in Chile, attributed mid-Twentieth Century Chilean poverty and backwardness to (1) useless dogma, (2) ecclesiastical corruption among the priests and other leaders, (3) the cruelty of the church to indigenous peoples, and (4) other abuses, such as the arbitrary extraction of money from ship captains arriving in Valparaíso under threat of excommunication.

After 25 years living in Chile, he wrote frankly in the same thesis:

Chile is infinitely behind other countries that have inferior resources, not because of inferior race, but because of a religion that gives inferior economic results. Is it too much to say that Chile is poor because it is Catholic? [p. 84]. Judged by the history of colonial Chile, Roman Catholicism is not conducive to intellectual liberty and exploration nor to inventiveness in any line. Catholicism is contrary to social change, and social change is essential to permanent economic well-being [p. 119]. [Italics not in the original; added by the blog software.]

He also wrote the book Men and Acts: Baptists of Chile (in Spanish, 1965), in which he recounts some difficulties that the missionaries had with the Chilean state. A famous example in his time, but almost forgotten today, is the case of the Baptist School located in Temuco, funded 100% by Southern Baptist churches in the United States, in order to eliminate illiteracy in the region and raise the academic level for girls. and (later) boys. Moore tells us on pages 101-102:

The State
Another problem for the Baptists, and perhaps of greater danger, was their relationship with the state. As they became more well-known and their influence increased, so did the problems pertaining to their relationship with the state.
Years ago, a well-meaning Chilean congressmen managed to apportion a considerable sum for the Baptist School’s budget, without first consulting with Agnes Graham. The provincial treasurer called her on the phone and said:
—”Miss Graham, your money is waiting for you.”
—”What money? What are you talking about?”
—”Well, it is the government’s subsidy for the Baptist School.”
Agnes Graham could hardly convince the kind treasurer that the school was not going to accept tax money to teach the Baptist creed. And the problem has yet to be resolved. The solution is not easy.
On the one hand, Baptists are citizens and they want to be able to participate in government and public affairs such as this one. And they must have the same privileges and guarantees as any other person. On the other hand, the government needs all the support and moral guidance that the believer in Christ can bring. [Italics not in the original; added by the blog software.]

Nevertheless, the Chilean state afflicted the Baptist School in Temuco, placing obstacles in its way and, apparently, compelling the closure of some satellites for being so “rebellious” by its refusal to accept state money [Moore, p. 85]. Like Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul, Baptists are often considered “rebels” in the eyes of the state.

Espinoza was the most prominent member of the first generation of Chilean Baptists who were trained by Baptist missionaries in the southern United States. He wrote: “Again and again formal means of social control such as government and law, with all their machinery and technique, fail to realize their purpose because they cannot deal with the spring of human action itself. Religion proves to be the force in that realm for social order [page 282].” (Source: “The Place of Religion in Social Control” (1940), Review & Expositor 37:3, pp. 282-285.) This reality is one of the reasons why state authorities are constantly looking for a way to control or manipulate religion—along with their private schools—in a way that furthers the state’s ends.

The idea that the church and its institutions might have been controlled or manipulated by the state was repugnant to the early Chilean Baptists. As true libertarians, receiving state funds for such ends is just as bad—for a consistent Baptist—as paying taxes to accomplish religious ends. This idea was still underscored nearly four decades later, in La Voz Bautista of July 1961 (53:7, page 6), where the opposition of the Baptist churches to subsidize religious schools was affirmed under the principle of separation of church and state.

According to Moore, “in 1920 illiteracy in Chile was almost 50%” [page 50]. Could Chileans understand the word of God without having being able to read? Hardly! Thus, a school was necessary, but one without influence or connection with the state [page 84]. Moore recounted, “Some—especially the missionaries and some others—thought that accepting such government assistance to subsidize a Baptist school violated the principle of separation of state and church” [page 85]. This position caused some discord among them, since some Chileans were (mistakenly) willing to accept this form of state financing. They did not understand their own doctrine well, just like many modern Chilean Baptists whose biblical formation is not good.

The Bible teaches how Christians should act before authorities, normally submisively (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13), but not always (Acts 5:29; 2 Kings 1:9-11; Judges 3:17-23): “lest we offend them” unnecessarily (Matthew 17:27), try to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18), and also seek out an adequate public policy prescription so “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:2), yet “if you can be made free, rather use it…You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men” (1 Corinthians 7:21,23). The Chilean Baptists of the first part of the Twentieth Century—such as Davidson, Moore, Graham, Espinoza and Valdivia—fulfilled this mandate.

It is high time for Chilean Baptists to recognize their biblical and historical roots and to act as “rebellious” libertarians instead of statists. Their faith should not depend on the state, nor should greater moral behavior in Chilean society. Their duty is to preach the Gospel and be political activists in the struggle to achieve freedom from the state and its most nefarious, vile and atheist manifestations—e.g., communism, radical ecology, radical feminism, gender identity or homosexuality, abortion rights, and the modern secular dogma of being politically correct. Like the Baptists, the Independence Party, without being a religious party, shares this same struggle against the state and its evil proactive policies.

I am certain that many consistent or dedicated Baptist activists in Chile, along with some of their counterparts in Presbyterian, Lutheran, Anglican, Opus Dei-style Catholic, etc. circles, will find this party to be the one that promotes their ideals and convictions.

Haz click aquí para ver la versión en español.

John Cobin, Ph.D. George Mason University Twitter
Co-founder Partido Independencia/Independence Party
www.libertarios.cl

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

First Southern Baptist Missionaries to Chile (1917-1926): Ten Americans and One Scot Turning in Their Graves!

Modern Chilean Baptists have fallen a long way from their missionary predecessors, at least in terms of the quality of their service, Calvinistic soteriology and biblical church practices. The initial missionaries that came to Chile from 1917 to 1926 were conservative theologically, very libertarian in their quest to separate church and state, and far more educated than typical American Baptist missionaries in Chile today or modern Chilean Baptist pastors. Moreover, many (if not all) of these missionary men read Greek and Hebrew fluently, and probably read (and some spoke) German, too.

The Early Missionaries

Since the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where all but two of the early missionary men to Chile studied, has never taught Dispensationalism or Pentecostalism, there is no reason to believe that any of the missionaries adopted either thing. As Ernie Reisinger once said about dispensationalists in the Southern Baptist Convention, “There are other good men in the Southern Baptist Convention who have Dispensational views, but they did not get these views in our schools or seminaries.” They were not hyper-Calvinists either.

Southern seminary was then, and is even now, world-renown for its serious biblical and Greek language scholarship, among other things, such as being serious about studying, preaching and obeying the Word of God. There is no evidence that these men were taught or later promoted unbiblical practices like ordaining women elders, preachers or establishing any other leadership role for women in Baptist services (a common sinful malady in Chile today—see 1 Corinthians 14:34 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15). They knew nothing of the prosperity gospel, seeker-sensitive preaching, or running skits, theater, or dancing in church services that often characterize modern Chilean Baptist services.

In 1939, a Baptist seminary was opened in Santiago, under the direction of missionary James McGavock, that initially upheld the doctrinal views of the early Baptists—likely akin to what he learned at Southern seminary. The seminary leadership was promptly handed-off to a brilliant Chilean Bible scholar and biblical languages expert, Honorio Espinoza, who had also studied at Southern from 1937 to 1940, and who was personally trained beforehand by missionary W. E. Davidson. (Espinoza and others in his generation of Chilean Baptists, like Isaías Valdivia, are the subject of another article.) Tragically, that Chilean institution has since seen the majority of its faculty fall into modernism and liberalism. At any rate, returning our focus to the early Baptists that got the ball rolling, in a previous article I wondered:

Who exactly were these ardent missionaries?
—1917 William Earl and Mary Davidson to Santiago (see page 27 of the missionary list).
—1919 Frank and Effie Marrs, missionaries to Mexico who went to help Earl Davidson in Santiago (see page 66 of the missionary list).
—1919 Robert Cecil and Mary Moore, first to help in Santiago for a year and then on to Concepción (see page 73 of the missionary list).
—1920 Agnes Nora Graham (see page 41 of the missionary list), head of the Baptist school in Temuco starting in 1922, construction and operations financed by the Southern Baptist Convention to combat the illiteracy rate of 50% and provide basic instruction.
—1921 Joe Lancaster (and wife Tennessee) Hart to Temuco to start a Bible institute, then to Concepción briefly and finally to Antofagasta (see page 46 of the missionary list).
—1922 James W. and Catherine McGavock to Talca (see page 70 of the missionary list)[but first to Temuco in 1923 to be with most of the other missionaries (page 214), much later heading the Baptist seminary in Santiago starting in 1939].
—1926 Wynne Quilon and Berta Lou (Tooms) Maer to Temuco for youth ministry commencing in 1929 (see page 66 of the missionary list).
They settled in Temuco, Concepción, Talca, Santiago and Antofagasta. MacDonald also became a recognized Southern Baptist missionary, and proceeded to establish churches in Freire, and the southeastern Ninth Region: Laureles, Villarrica, Pucón, Liucura, and Picahres (near Caburgua lake in the Andes foothills). Thus, the first organized Chilean Baptist churches, apart from the previous union with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, under the efforts of MacDonald and the Southern Baptist missionaries (later becoming the Baptist union or association UBACH) were, according to Aguilar (page 8): Temuco (1914), Valdivia (1917), Santiago 1st (1919, reorganized 1920), Concepción (1919), Santiago 2nd (1921, with the Davidsons), Talca (1926), Valparaíso (1936), and Antofagasta (1937).

I now have some further details. The following biographical excerpts were taken from: John S. Ramond (1936), Among Southern Baptists, Volume I, (compiler-publisher from Shreveport, Louisiana), Kansas City, Missouri: Western Baptist Publishing Company.

DAVIDSON, WILLIAM EARL [arrived in 1917]
Bible Department, Hannibal-La Grange College, Hannibal, Mo.; born, Freeman, Cass County, Mo., Sept. 6, 1891; son of Mary Elizabeth Holman of Albany, Ore., and Rev. Franklin Pierce Davidson of Freeman, Mo.; education, A.B., William Jewell College, Th.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; ordained, Savannah, Mo., August, 1917; married Mary Skidmore of Chillicothe, Mo., 1917, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Thayer Skidmore; children, Dorothy and Virginia; missionary, Timber Lake, S. D., 1913-1914; missionary, Valparaiso, Chile, 1917-1926; pastor, Gilliam, Mo., 1927; Bible Department, Hannibal-LaGrange College (1927 to date); author: “Catecismo de Doctrina Cristiana.” Address: Hannibal, Mo. Page 129 [Note: Davidson said he was a much better teacher than a preacher, and that his main contribution was to intensively train Chilean men with what they needed to be solid preachers theologically. “We had gone to Chile both times with the hope of being life-time missionaries there.” Nevertheless, he reported that he had to return to the United States instead of serving in Chile long term due to contracting acute miliary tuberculosis (“galloping consumption”) twice and the severe anemia, hypertension and angina of his wife, but that he always kept in touch with the mission, reading La Voz Bautista, a Chilean Baptist magazine run by the missionaries, writing “wacky ads” to the missionaries. Source: Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile (pages 38-39, 62-63, 76-77)]

MARRS, FRANK [arrived 1919]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at San Antonio, Texas (Mexico); born, Florence, Tex., April 18, 1869; education, Southwestern University, Eastman National Business College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., 1889; work in Baylor University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; appointed May 22, 1900; evangelistic work. Page 327 [Davidson wrote in his Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile (page 14), that Marrs “was not long for Chile” even though he had a strong desire to serve there after having worked so long among Mexicans in Texas. The climate constantly made him sick and he and his wife suffered from pathetic poverty. Thus, they soon returned to the Northern Hemisphere.]

MOYE, JOHN LUTHER
Pastor, Hunter Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala.; born, Patsburg, Ala., Nov. 23, 1892; son of Elizabeth Mills and George Washington Moye of Patsburg, Ala.; education, graduate State Normal College, Alabama; A.B., Howard College; Th.B., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; ordained, Arkadelphia, Ark., Dec. 20, 1917; married Esther Billingsley of Healing Springs, Ala., Aug. 23, 1921; daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clay Billingsley; children, Sarah Elizabeth, John Luther, Jr.; pastor, Killen, Ala., 1916-1917; pastor. [Note: Davidson remarked in his Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile (pages 35, 47), that Moye was in Santiago helping with the church planting when Davidson and McGavock were there but Moye does not appear on the list as an official or permanent missionary, and thus is not counted in the “eleven” in the article’s title. Photograph taken from La Voz Bautista (1923), 15:10 (October), cover]

L Moye y señora y dos otras misioneras.PNG

MOORE, ROBERT CECIL [arrived 1919]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Temuco, Chile; born, Fort Green, Fla., Jan. 28, 1894; education, Columbia College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; appointed June 11, 1919; evangelistic work. Page 361

GDT MacDonald.PNG
Pastor McDonald Chile 1908.jpg

MacDONALD, AVM. D. T. [arrived 1888, ordained under the Southern Baptists in 1919]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, retired on pension, formerly stationed at Temuco, Chile; born, Edinburgh, Scotland, i Aug. 8, 1851; educated, schools of Scotland; sailed for Chile 1888, an independent missionary to October, 1919, when appointed by F. M. B. Evangelistic Work. Address: Casilla 191, Temuco, Chile. Page 318 Photo credit

Agnes Graham.PNG

GRAHAM, MISS NORA AGNES [arrived in 1920]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Temuco, Chile; born, Yoakum, Tex., Feb. 22, 1888; educated, University of Texas, 1918; W. M. U. Training School, 1920; appointed June 10, 1920; Girls’ School. Page 197Photo credit

HART, JOSEPH L. [arrived in 1921]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Concepcion, Chile; born, Essex County, Virginia, Nov. 26, 1879; education, McGuire’s School, Richmond, Va.; Richmond College, 1900; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, three years; appointed December, 1903; Evangelistic and Educational Work. Page 222 Photo credit

JL Hart.PNG

HART, MRS. TENNESSEE H. [arrived 1921]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Concepcion, Chile; born, Meade County, Kentucky, Sept. 21, 1881; education, Brandenburg Normal Institute, 1897; Shelbyville College, 1901; appointed Mar. 15, 1904; married J. L. Hart, March, 1904; Educational and Evangelistic Work. Page 222

McGAVOCK, JAMES WILLIAM [arrived in 1922]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Santiago, Chile; born, Newberg, Ark., Oct. 30, 1888; education, Union University, A.B., 1918; S.B. Theological Seminary, Th.M., 1922; appointed May 17, 1922; Evangelistic Work. Page 342 Photo credit

McGAVOCK, MRS. CATHERINE, 3. [arrived in 1922]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Santiago, Chile; born, Obion, Tenn., Aug. 5, 1890; education, Hall Moody Normal; W. M. TJ. Training School, 1921; married J. W. McGavock, June, 1917; appointed, 1922- ; Evangelistic Work. Page 342

MAER, MRS. BERTHA TOOMS [arrived 1925]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Temuco, Chile; born, Medina, Tenn., June 4, 1898; education, Union University, A.B., 1920; W. M. U. Training School; B. M. T., 1923; married W. Q. Maer, January, 1921; appointed June, 1925; Educational Work. Page 320

MAER, WYNNE QUILON [arrived in 1926]
Southern Baptist Foreign Missionary, stationed at Temuco, Chile; born, Europa, Miss., June 14, 1897; education, Mississippi College; Union University, A.B., 1921; A.B. Theological Seminary, Th.M., 1924; appointed June 10, 1925; Educational Work. Page 320

The Missionaries’ Theological and Ministerial Training

Having come from all over the South (except for the missionary from Scotland), most of them were trained at Southern Seminary in Louisville, and eventually sent out from under the Virginia chapter of the Southern Baptist Convention (Foreign Missions Board). One of the key seminary teachers at Southern for most of these men was Archibald Thomas Robertson, who was one of the greatest New Testament and koine Greek scholars of all time. His most famous, massive work was A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research, which is still highly regarded today. Source: William Baird (2003), New Testament Research in the Era of Global Conflict, vol. 2, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, pp. 412-414. Another book that grants similar accolades is, Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study by James Leo Garrett, Jr., (2009), Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, pp. 347-350.

A.T. Robertson (pictured below) was a Calvinist in terms of his soteriology, just as was the rest of the faculty. Accordingly to Gregory A. Wills (2010), Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859-2009 (New York: Oxford University Press), “A. T. Robertson held that the fundamental Baptist doctrine was the necessity of the new birth, which included the doctrine of justification by faith and ‘acceptance of the system of doctrine known as Calvinism'” (page 240). Congruently, Frank S. Mead, in his 1954 book The Baptists, reminded us that “we were Protestants before the Reformation, before the birth of Martin Luther” (page 7), although after the Reformation the particular Baptists of England and North America were particular and therefore Calvinistic (pages 19, 23).

AT Robertson.jpg
In terms of eschatology among Southern Baptists, historic premillennialism and postmillennialism were the dominant viewpoints during the Nineteenth Century with amillennialism displacing postmillennialism from 1930 to 1980, which is around the same timeframe that dispensational premillennialism became dominant in American Baptist churches. From this framework, one might conjecture that the early American Baptist missionaries probably held to either a historic premillennial or postmillennial eschatology. However, judging from what missionary Davidson wrote, they might well have been amillennial. One 1922 article dealing with eschatology that was published by missionary Hart, editor of La Voz Bautista, was Juan C. Varetto’s “Come out of her my people” [Revelation 18:4]. He was clearly not dispensational by virtue of his allegorical interpretation of the book of Revelation, although it is unclear exactly what his millennial position was. He stated: “The Apocalypse is a symbolic book, so here it is not about the famous city of Babylon built on both sides of the Euphrates, but of Rome, and not of pagan Rome, but Papal Rome.” Source: La Voz Bautista(1922), 14:10 (October), page 7.

W. Earl Davidson

The most prominent theologian of the group of missionaries was, clearly, Davidson (pictured below with his wife), followed by Moore. In addition to writing his 1928 dissertation entitled, The Early History of the Idea of Penance, from which Davidson doubtless exemplified some of his practical expertise in Roman Catholic doctrine after living in Chile for a decade, along with his erudite knowledge of church history and New Testament Greek. He recounts a story of a prayer-warrior woman in Chile, who showed preference for a missionary stricken with typhus by asking God to afflict one of her own instead. Her husband died from the same disease shortly thereafter, while the missionary recovered. Her daughter never forgave her (p. 65). All of this to show just how much Davidson was endeared to Chile and had fond memories of his experiences there.

He also published a Catechism of Bible Doctrine, translated from Catecismo de Doctrina Cristiana that was used to train Chilean pastors and disciple new believers. He was keenly interested in teaching others at all levels, showing that fact by writing an article for La Voz Bautista (The Baptist Voice) in January 1923, while on furlough in the United States, on how to set up a purposeful and successful Sunday School program in the local church. At the seminary level, his lecture notes taken under A. T. Robertson, New Testament Interpretation: Notes on Lectures of Dr. A. T. Robertson, 1914-1915 (1916), were also published, as well as some theological journal articles:

WE Davidson.PNG
In one short journal article, “On the Atonement,” Review & Expositor 24.3 (July 1927): 318-320, Davidson builds on the doctrine particular redemption—just as one might have expected coming from a scholar who graduated from a famously Calvinistic Baptist seminary. He wrote it while still in Santiago, Chile—prior to finishing his doctorate in Louisville. Davidson keys in on King David’s claim, “Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight,” (Psalm 51:4) in drawing parallels to Christ’s redemption. “Time would bring to light what was to make it possible for God to be both the justifier of the criminal and just to his victims” (p. 319).

In his earthly ministry, Jesus Christ transformed Himself “from Judge of men to man’s chief victim” (p. 320), and by making all of our crimes against other men against His person, the door was opened for Him to forgive us personally by grace and mercy rather than strictly act as our Judge, and thus mete out what we deserve. Our greatest victim thus became out greatest forgiver. Therefore, King David was right. Davidson stated that he did not regard his thinking as embarking on a new theory of the atonement, but rather served to supplement the doctrine of the substitutionary sacrifice. In his concluding remarks, Particular Baptist Davidson’s Calvinism seems to shine through: substitutionary theory “becomes even more meaningful if the substitute who should satisfy for us is the Judge himself, and if the victim for our sins is also the victim of our sins” (p. 320).

Apparently, Davidson taught the sovereignty of God in salvation as a missionary in Santiago. Whatever happened, then, to the disciples and pastors he trained and their spiritual progeny to have eventually generated such widespread Arminianism among Chilean Baptists in 2018?

The preface to Davidson’s aforementioned Catechism (English) states that, “It was prepared for the instruction of young ministers and Christian workers in the Chilean Mission, and has since 1930 been used as a manual for the training of young Christians in Bible fundamentals and in study classes in Chilean churches.” Again, what happened to this teaching over the past 85 years? In reading Davidson’s Catechism, I find little difference between it and the Southern Baptist Convention’s coeval 1925 edition of the Baptist Faith and Message. As a Particular Baptist creed, it is hardly surprising to find articles such as the following:

Article III: “He [man] was created in a state of holiness under the law of his Maker, but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.” (emphasis added)

Article IV: “The salvation of sinners is wholly of grace, through the mediatorial office of the Son of God, who by the Holy Spirit was born of the Virgin Mary and took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience and made atonement for our sins by his death. Being risen from the dead, he is now enthroned in Heaven, and, uniting in his person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfections, he is in every way qualified to be a compassionate and all-sufficient Saviour.” (emphasis added)

Article V: “Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of righteousness of all sinners who believe in Christ. This blessing is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but through the redemption that is in and through Jesus Christ. It brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other needed blessing.” (emphasis added)

Article VIII: “We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, and relying on him alone as the only and all-sufficient Saviour.” (emphasis added)

Article IX: “Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which he regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners. It is perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility. It encourages the use of means in the highest degree.” (emphasis added)

Article XI: “All real believers endure to the end. Their continuance in well-doing is the mark which distinguishes them from mere professors. A special Providence cares for them, and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” (emphasis added)

Consider, then, some pertinent excerpts from Davidson’s A Catechism of Bible Doctrine that by-and-large prove his Calvinism, and show that he did not deviate from the recently-published Baptist Faith and Message:

Section 1, Question 6 states, “…we are so tainted with sin that we cannot please God.” Questions 8-11 of Section 2 imply particular redemption, that Jesus laid down His life for us, although somewhat less explicitly than earlier Baptist confessions (i.e., London, Philadelphia and New Hampshire). However, Section 2, Question 13 states that, “God loves men in their sins and yearns to save them from their sins,” which is somewhat ambiguous, as is Section 5, Question 8: “God is loving and good toward all his creatures,” and Section 7, Question 9 that Jesus bore “in body and soul the wrath of God against the whole human race,” and Section 7, Question 10, “Christ died for every man to redeem us from everlasting damnation.” Yet, Question 1 of Section 3 is a bit clearer: “Are all men saved by the death of Christ? No; those who continue in sin remain under the wrath of God.”

Section 6, Question 5 states emphatically that nothing happens by accident or chance but rather “from the fatherly hand of God.” Section 9, Question 11 unambiguously says that, “God gives his renewing Spirit to those whom he has always purposed to save” but in the very next Question 12 there is ambiguity to the point of contradiction, “Is any man excluded from salvation by the will of God? No; God loves all mankind and for their salvation has given his only begotten Son; he would have all men to be saved…he offers salvation freely to every man” yet is so worded as to not outright deny a Calvinistic soteriology. He clearly holds to the perseverance of the saints in Section 11, questions 7 and 8.

Perhaps the oddest part of it is Section 1, Question 10 (related to Section 3, Question 10) which says (akin to C. H. Spurgeon’s belief about infants) that unbelieving children will not go to hell if they die prior to knowing the difference between good and evil, but instead will be saved by grace without believing. In addition, in his Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile (pages 18, 22, 27), Davidson insinuated that he might have been a teetotaller, and also that he considered that Baptists were “Protestants”—neither view being a general, or historically Baptist perspective.

Also note that Davidson’s orthodox, simple, general eschatological pronouncement about Christ’s return—perfectly aligned with amillenialism—is seen in Section 7, Question 17. He gives no hint whatever of adopting a dispensational hermeneutic or eschatology with a millennium, great tribulation, or rapture (which is often taught in modern Chilean Baptist churches).

In another article, “Paradise Regained and Recent Criticism,” Review & Expositor30.4 (Oct. 1933): 381-402, Davidson showed his (obviously) keen interest in British literature, tackling critiques of John Milton’s Paradise Regained (1671). He basically argued that Milton was not unsound for focusing his attention on Luke’s account of the temptation of Christ, especially his disproportionately long treatment of the second temptation in Luke 4:6-7, “And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority [of the kingdoms of this world] I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’” Davidson, by then Professor of Bible at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Missouri, concluded that Milton was orthodox in his interpretation and actually drew clever parallels with the trials and temptations of Job who, like Christ, ended up overcoming the devil. It was, indeed, a logical sequel to Milton’s other great literary work, Paradise Lost (1667). While one might see some weak and tacit links to political activism in his defense of Milton, no inkling of Davidson’s soteriology given. It does show that Davidson was a scholar in fields beyond Bible, church history, and theology alone.

R. Cecil Moore

The second regular Southern Baptist missionary to come to Chile in 1919, Robert Cecil Moore, stayed in the field far longer than Davidson. He wrote his 1944 Ph.D. dissertation, The Economic Influence of Roman Catholicism in Chile, at Southern Baptist Theological seminary, around 25 years after his arrival. As such, it was fully related to his field experience. He cites Chile’s low wages and overall backwardness as being direct results of the false doctrine or manipulative polices supported by the Roman Church, e.g., high taxes, brutal treatment of Indians, grants of unequal land privileges, and greed and exploitation in the name of religion.

There is an interesting quotation in his introduction (p. 2) that sums up the link between property, capitalism and a Christian Worldview: “A man’s religion, and a man’s goods are two of the most dynamic forces in his existence, and they are closely related at many points. What a man believes will affect his acquisitive desires, as it will modify also the distributive use of the goods he will make of his goods once acquired.” He then goes on to talk about the importance of observing the Ten Commandments, especially resting on the Lord’s Day and partaking in charitable activities (also see Davidson’s dissertation, p. 69). Too, he applies Max Weber’s theory in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of CapitalismPhoto credit

RC Moore.PNG
Moore concluded that, “…the Roman Catholic Church releases the lowest brutal passions of avarice and cruelty by its sanctions and even its participation. The potential wealth represented by the Indian population is squandered, beaten down by inhumane cruelty, and wasteful, selfish exploitation” (p. 46). Colonial curates (priests) in Valparaíso would also levy hefty taxes on visiting ship captains under threat of excommunication (p. 57). Moreover, under the Jesuits, Moore concluded, “Roman Catholicism, as a religious way of thinking, does not conduce to the best economic welfare of a country or a people” (p. 71). Indeed, “Chile is infinitely behind other countries that have inferior resources, not because of inferior race, but because of a religion that gives inferior economic results. Is it too much to say that Chile is poor because it is Catholic?” (p. 84). “Judged by the history of colonial Chile, Roman Catholicism is not conducive to intellectual liberty and exploration nor to inventiveness in any line. Catholicism is contrary to social change, and social change is essential to permanent economic well-being” (p. 119). In sum, Chile would have been a vastly different place had it not be dominated by Catholicism for so long (p. 124).

Moore wrote for the Chilean Baptist magazine La Voz Bautista (The Baptist Voice) frequently as he spent decades trying to impact the Chilean people. As an activist, seemingly with similiar inclinations as Pastor John Leland decades before him, he kept an eye on world happenings for the brethren and, in the January 1923 issue, even noted gleefully that Russian communism had “failed.” Moreover, the dedication at the beginning of his thesis indicates that his wife was equally devoted to serving the Lord among the Chilean people. Furthermore, he wrote (in Spanish), Men and Acts: Baptists of Chile in 1965, a history of Baptist missionaries and work in Chile, along with other books and tracts.

The Rest: Some Circumstantial Evidence about Their Theology

From the writings of Moore and Davidson, it is clear in the case of Davidson and likely in the case of the others, that the early American Baptist missionaries were theologically savvy, multi-lingual, Calvinistic and non-dispensational, non-charismatic men, who were also intellectuals that enjoyed political activism and studies in church history, economic history and classic English literature. They were hardly men of low preparation, but rather—as thinking men—dedicated themselves to the evangelization and lifting up of people living in an impoverished country. Would it be too much of a stretch to think that the other initial missionaries—MacDonald, Marrs, Moye, Hart, McGavock, Maer—were also of similar character and preparation, or at least just as true and dedicated in their diligent service for Christ in Chile? MacDonald had evidently learned his doctrine directly from C. H. Spurgeon in London (Biography, page 19), and was surely an active Calvinistic preacher. In summarizing “The Baptist Message to Chile” in La Voz Bautista (February 1922), MacDonald stated that apart from decreeing and controlling all things that come to pass, “predestination is the eternal election that God makes for some people to eternal life, by virtue of which they are called, justified, and glorified,” affirming emphatically the perseverence of the saints, too. I hope that further study into the lives and work of these men will better reveal both their precise theological views and their passion for “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Nonetheless, at least by considering the circumstantial evidence of their training, the missionaries’ belief in the sovereignty of God in salvation should come as no surprise. According to William A. Mueller, in his 1959 book A History of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Nashville: Broadman Press), the faculty working at the seminary when Davidson, Moore, McGavock, and Hart studied there were (page 242): John Richard Sampy (1863-1946), faculty member 1887-1942; Archibald Thomas Robertson (1863-1934), 1890-1934; William Joseph McGlothlin (1867-1933), 1896-1919; William Owen Carver (1868-1954), 1898-1943 who, according to Wills (2010), manifested some liberal sympathies, like entertaining the idea that hell does not exist (pages 260-267, 322); Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928), 1899-1928, who, according to Wills (2010), was clearly a Calvinist (page 240); George Boardman Eager (1847-1929), 1900-1920; Charles Spurgeon Gardner (1859-1948), 1907-1929 who, according to Wills (2010), was open to a few liberal sympathies, but less than his mentor Carver (pages 237-241); Harry Clifford Wayman (1881-1959), 1915-1923; and Landrum Pinson Leavell (1874-1929), 1915-1920. According to Wills (2010), Sampy, Wayman, Robertson and Dargon, along with Byron Hoover Dement (1863-1933), 1906-1914 (President of Baptist Bible Institute and future seminary in New Orleans starting in 1917); “represented the more conservative wing of the faculty” in 1907, with Whitsitt, Harris, and Kerfoot being gone by then (page 268).

J McGavock.PNG
A few other professors possibly influenced later graduates like McGavock (pictured above, who graduated five years after Davidson): Frank Marion Powell (1886-1973), 1918-1941; Gaines Stanley Dobbins (1886-1978), 1920-1956; William Hersey Davis (1887-1950), 1920-1950; James McKee Adams (1886-1945), 1921-1945; and conservative preacher (Wills, 2010:325) Kyle Monroe Yates (1895-1975), 1922-1942. Note that McGavock was a mason, like unto so many Baptists during the Twentieth Century (e.g., Honorio Espinoza) and Presbyterian Pastor Trumbull in Valparaíso during the Nineteenth Century (see photograph of the seminary’s masons below).

Earlier graduates Hart (who was editor of The Baptist Voice for a time) and Marrs were likely also influenced by William H. Whitsitt (1841-1911), 1872-1899; Henry Herbert Harris (1837-1897), 1896-1897; Franklin Howard Kerfoot (1847-1901), 1887-1899; and Edwin Charles Dargan (1852-1930), 1892-1907—all of whom ended their seminary careers prior to Davidson entering the seminary—but did not have courses with Byron Hoover Dement, Harry Clifford Wayman, Landrum Pinson Leavell, Charles Spurgeon Gardner, Frank Marion Powell; Gaines Stanley Dobbins, William Hersey Davis, James McKee Adams, or Kyle Monroe Yates, who taught after Hart and Marrs had finished their studies. These professors were undoubtedly Calvinists. According to Wills (2010), “Whitsitt frequently emphasized the Calvinistic character of baptist doctrine in his church history classes and praised the soundly Calvinistic Philadelphia Confession of Faith” and Dargan’s 1905 book Doctrines of Our Faith clearly indicated that he was a Calvinist, too (p. 240). Presumably, Hart broadly agreed with the Calvinism, local churches practices and issues of morality espoused by the other missionaries, along with translated articles written by theologians outside of Chile that were reprinted in the journal he edited. He likely held, for example, that the role of deacons was merely to serve rather than to rule the local church, which is a doctrine that is quite different than what is practiced today, where deacons are the leaders of the local church.

The deacons are not elders or directors, but rather servants of the church, who must care for the temporal interests of the same. We have no commandment to determine how many deacons there should be in a church, nor how long they should remain in office. The officers of the church are there more to serve than to exercise power. The official positions of the church are not titles, nor ranks, nor means to achieve exaltation, but instead exist for service. Officers and members form part of a unity and their actions are both joint and mutual. [Dr. JLM Curri, “An Important Difference: A Baptist Church Is Radically Different from Paido-Baptist Churches,” reprinted in La Voz Bautista, 15:2 (February 1923), Temuco, Chile, page 11, translated from Spanish.]

Chile’s early Baptist missionaries were trained in Calvinist soteriology and taught the doctrines of grace from the pulpit, in its seminary and in discipleship classes. There is no evidence that they were taught in seminary either a dispensational hermeneutic or eschatology, and certainly not a charismatic perspective on the continuation of the revelatory and other spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12-14, Acts 2 and 8, and Romans 12, or that they promoted such teachings to their churches in Chile. In fact, Davidson commented several times in his Reminiscences of Our Mission to Chile (pages 7-9, 17) that missionaries Davidson and Moore (and presumably others) rebuffed incursions by pentecostals, e.g., a self-professed, boisterous, Greek-reading “prophet” Mr. Shulpig, and faith healer named Mr. Bunster from Concepción who had led the Baptist church there astray, calling the former “heretical.” Yet, one would never know those facts when visiting one of the Chilean Baptist churches in 2018 that was directly or indirectly spawned by their efforts almost a century earlier. Indeed, they would turn in their graves upon witnessing the modern Baptist debacle.

The World Situation When the Early Missionaries Arrived in Chile

Remember, too, that the 1910s and “roaring” 1920s were tumultuous decades in the world, affecting both the United States and Chile, each of which had been receiving (and continued to receive) many new European immigrants. On the world stage, World War 1 (1914-1918), the Russian communist revolution (1917), the sinking of the Titanic (1912) and the Lusitania (1915), and the opening of the Panama Canal (1914), had been changing the course of history. Christian seminaries worldwide experienced the onslaught of theological liberalism during these decades, spurred on by the growing teaching of Darwinian evolution (affecting Carver, Gardner and Toy at the Southern Baptist Seminary), with conservatives splitting off from them to form new ones, such as Dallas Theological Seminary (1924) and (in the case of the conservative Presbyterians) Westminster Theological Seminary (1929). The uprising against theological liberalism and the defeat of postmillennialism that had dominated Baptists and many Protestants for centuries due to the devastation of two world wars, permitted the rise and spread of conservative dispensationalist teachings that profoundly impacted both Baptists and Presbyterians in the mid-Twentieth Century.

Chilean history had been forever altered by the aftermath of the great Valparaíso earthquake and fire (1906), the synthesizing of saltpeter (nitrates) by the Germans (1915) that destroyed their greatest export business, the sinking of British ships by the German ship Dresden (1914) and subsequent blockade of Chilean ports by the British during World War 1, internal strife between German and British, French or other European immigrants who sent their sons from Chile to fight in Europe, the dwindling of its economic power and the golden age of Valparaíso, along with the rise of Santiago’s preeminence, and the 1925 Constitution which separated church and state and allowed common men to vote—and Baptist men to preach publicly in Spanish.

The United States started its central bank (1913), passed a permanent national income tax for the first time (1913), fought in World War 1 (1917-1918), granted women’s suffrage (1920), started producing automobiles via the assembly line (1913), enacted and then rescinded alcoholic beverage prohibition (1919-1933), and saw the first commercial airlines begin service (1914).

One cannot fully understand the situation of the missionaries without first appreciating the world in which they lived and studied, and that of the land where they arrived. In addition, one must have a better understanding of what they believed and sought to establish in Chile to really comprehend the effort. To that end, I hope this article has been enlightening, given that no one would have ever guessed what the early missionaries represented considering the degenerate state of modern Chilean Baptist churches and the Baptist seminary in Santiago today.

Leer la versión en español

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

A Grateful Immigrant

Some people are surprised to learn that not only did I immigrate to Chile, but I also renounced my American citizenship after I became a Chilean. Indeed, I prefer freedom, and with all its faults Chile is an even freer place than the United States of America. I do not mean to say that the Chilean state is good or without its faults; not at all. I am a libertarian and according to my experience, the theoretical framework of my Worldview, and the empirical results that I have seen many scholars come up with: all States are vile.

In Chile there is no justice, there is crime; it is a lying, dishonest, deceitful and distrustful society with an odious bureaucracy that is coupled with annoying hassles and hurdles to get anything done. People tend to be overtly selfish, especially when driving or shopping. A large percentage of professionals and tradesmen seem to be incompetent. The Marxist minority is disgusting and irksome. These things are annoying. However, there are dozens of excellent reasons to be in Chile: beautiful landscapes, good medical care, low taxes, privatization of pensions and former state-run enterprises, affordable housing (in Chilean First World places), the best anti-seismic construction in the world, good food, a large number of libertarians, little political correctness, scant radical ecology or radical feminist policies, a strong family focus, strong opposition to abortion, etc.

I left the U.S.A. and I eliminated my citizenship because I did not want to be linked with that state and I adopted the considerably less malignant Chilean one. I am certainly more optimistic about the future of Chile than that of North America. Chile is my homeland now and I am working to make it even more libertarian.

What do I think about the old country? Not much; I do not feel any moral obligation to liberate the U.S.A. from its evil, nor raise funds from here to free its serfs from their regulatory, tax and politcally-correct slavery. Am I a degenerate or indolent for not caring about fixing the big mess up yonder? I do not think so. Instead, I recommend that North Americans (and Europeans) come to Chile.

For me, life is clearly a struggle between good and evil, in general trying to help others be a little freer, even though my main desire is for Chile to move towards greater liberty. Such freedom is a strong magnet that will automatically attract oppressed immigrants—similar to Hong Kong in the Twentieth Century. My idea is not original, since during the Nineteenth Century and the first decades of the Twentieth, Valparaíso, Chile fulfilled that magnetic function. I want Valparaíso to regain that virtue during the Twenty-First Century so that, once again, the world’s oppressed, poor, ignorant and persecuted will reach its shores alon with the rest of the country.

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I am a grateful immigrant because Chile welcomed me on March of 1996 when I was thrity-three years old—without a job, with less than USD$10,000 in savings, with five children under eight years old (and another one to be born that July), and without being able to speak much Spanish. We all had a temporary visas when we arrived, obtained before boarding the plane, but nothing else of significant earthly value besides courage, resourcefulness, dedication and diligence.

In addition, I have been rather serious about promoting Chile to others. Since 2006, I have publicized and “sold” the country to many Americans (and several Europeans), with many of them having come down to stay (a few in conditions similar mine in 1996). Now, most of these folks speak, more or less, in Spanish. Many of them work here and are applying for Chilean nationality. I am happy for them and I hope they serve as great blessings for Chile.

With the help of some fabulous individuals (i.e., Chicago boys or, in one case, a UCLA boy) who trusted me and hired me even though I spoke Spanish poorly, boosted my career growth and later facilitated the development of some projects in Chile. I would be remiss not to mention and thank, in a special way, Álvaro Vial, who even signed up to be my personal guarantor, allowing to lease my first home in 1997, as well as Harald Beyer, Cristian Laurroulet, and later (in 2008) Francisco Labbé, among others.

In mentioning these fine men, I am not implying that I got work on account of favoritism. For instance, to get my first full time job in Chile I had to pass a “test” before being hired by the Finis Terra University. It consisted in me teaching a semester-long course (in English) about free market and public policy topics, for authorities and professors of the university. Thus, I earned the job based on my merits. I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity they gave me. Also, nobody claimed that I was going to take away the work of a Chilean that might have otherwise gotten my university post. Its authorities, with the exception of Adelio Pipino, were pro-immigrant.

Now, I want to help other immigrants as others have helped me—especially considering the great influx of immigrants that has arrived since 2015. Accordingly, I am especially happy to see Baptists (of which I am one) working with Haitian immigrants to learn Spanish and the Bible. I am libertarian in word and deed, and there is no man more naturally libertarian than a Baptist.

Unlike other Chileans who disdain immigrants, how could I be anti-immigrant after having such a good reception in Chile? I have been settled in the country for the better part of twenty-two years, working, paying taxes, participating in politics and active in church, writing 1,505 letters to the editor, hundreds of blog entries pertaining to Chile, and have been the subject of many press interviews. My language skills still leave something tp be desired. Yet, I was relatively comfortable writing this article in Spanish (having had people who helped me correct mistakes), before putting it into English. Another issue: note that my second daughter (Rachel) was born here, in Quilpué, on July 7, 1996 and is a Chilean citizen, too. I have another son who opted for nationality as well. For so many reasons, I have always felt welcome to Chile.

Álvaro Vial and Héctor Hevia (among others) told me that when they went to study at the universities of Chicago and Western Michigan, respectively, they were surprised by how well the gringos received them, willing to help and show kindness to an unknown foreigner. I must agree that the generosity and volunteerism of Americans is unparalleled in the world. (It is, after all, a country made up of once persecuted, oppressed and poor ignorant immigrants or their descendants, right?)

Upon seeing me in 1996, they told me that they were goig to take the opportunity to return the favor of what they had received in America by being generous and helpful to me, without expecting anything in return. At other times, different men helped me, too, especially in 2008 and 2015-2016. It is worth mentioning that Pablo Baraona, Hermógenes Pérez de Arce and super-libertario Álvaro Bardón nearly became my fans by helping me become yet another emblematic (or enigmatic?) Chilean libertarian who believed in the economic policies they envoked under Pinochet, and who showed his preference to live in these furthest confines of the world instead of the “fabulous” United States. I’m grateful for them too.

Blurb in <i>La Estrella</i> (The Star) of Valparaíso in January 1996 alerting people to the fact that the "<i>gringo loco</i>" was going to arrive.jpg

They put this notice for me at La Estrella in Valparaíso (January 1996). Mrs. Marta Ramírez (another fabulous person) answered and leased us a country house in Lo Hidalgo, between Limache and Villa Alemana. I am grateful again because he was interested in my case. From there, I launched my life in Chile. It has not been easy, but I have shown that you can achieve success as an immigrant in Chile.

Having considered the main provisions of the bill championed by President Piñera (April 2018) to modify Chilean immigration legislation, I think it will cause more distortions than solutions. Would it not be better to privatize the border? In what sense am I different from the Haitian immigrant so frequently despised today? My skin is white, my eyes are greenish, and my university and postgraduate education (coupled with my professional career) is far better than theirs. Are those the reasons why I was preferred? The differences I have with immigrants from Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela are relatively minor compared to the massive ones I have with Haitians—except that those folks already speak Spanish as their first language, unlike my unpolished drivel—wherein they beat me hands-down. All of that evidence leads me to believe that there is an immigrant prototype that the Chilean government under Piñera likes.

At any rate, I have empathy for the immigrants who have been coming to Chile since 2015. I hope that Chile is beneficial to them, and that they will consider becoming part of our pro-life libertarian political party (and perhaps ponder becoming Baptists, too!). Normally those who have fled oppression and social malice, having been persecuted by the Left, come to their new homeland willing to oppose the slavish, often violent and bloodthristy Left that beleaguered it. Just how beneficial would attracting so many new adherents that detest the Left be for the libertarian Right?

This article was published (in Spanish) by the popular, left-wing Chilean magazine The Clinic, on April 13, 2018.

Haz click aquí para ver la versión en español de este artículo.

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Early Chilean Baptists Supported by Libertarian Ones from America

The early Baptists that arrived in Chile likely brought with them some strong libertarian tendencies. Virginian Baptists were the first Americans to support Chilean Baptists works in 1917. Accordingly, there was probably a tacit link with to the influential activism of Pastor John Leland, who preached thousands of sermons in Virginia and took an activist role in both the association of Baptists—that would later send missionaries Earl and Mary Davidson to Chile (see page 27 of the missionary list)—and the promotion of libertarian ideals for the newly-formed United States. Indeed, it is unlikely that American Baptists sent socialists or communists to Chile, and surely not any pacifists.

According to Ricardo Becerra Inostroza in Invitando a Conocer la Historia de una Comunidad Cristiana (2006:18-22), (which translates to “An invitation to know the history of a Christian community”), the first Baptists arrived in Chile in 1884 from Hamburg and Berlin, Germany. More followed in 1892, establishing a church in the southern 8th Region in the town Contulmo, and then spread to the western 9th Region, with the second church in “El Salto” (north of Temuco) opening in 1894, with others soon being established in Quillén, Púa, and Victoria. They preached in German and struggled to preach in Spanish, which had to be improved over time. Their main goal ended up being to evangelize German-speaking Roman Catholic immigrants that had settled in southern Chile. Similarly, English-speaking Baptists William (Guillermo) MacDonald and his wife Julia arrived from Scotland in 1888, having been invited by Chilean President Balmaceda to serve as a professor in the English colony in Púa (between Victoria and Temuco). He was paid by the Bible Society in Valparaíso started by Presbyterian (and Mason, Pereira, page 12) Dr. David Trumbull and received a parcel of land in Freire from the Chilean governemnt for his efforts. MacDonald ended up establishing Baptist churches from Victoria to Valdivia, and then jumped further south to Chiloé island.

Of course, before 1925, Chile was an officially Roman Catholic country and, as such, it was illegal to preach the Gospel in Spanish—even though legislation in 1865 y 1883-1885 had permitted private worship by Evangelicals in homes. As usual, the early Chilean Baptists found themselves outside the law for preaching the Gospel illegally, starting perhaps around 1895 when they began to hold Spanish-language services. They also faced other threats. The region was still a wilderness full of hostile Mapuche Indians, and it is likely that the Baptists were armed and ready to defend themselves if necessary—just like all the other European settlers around them from France, Belgium, Italy, Britain, Switzerland, Germany and elsewhere.

My wife Pamela’s maternal great grandfather, Pastor Wenceslao Valdivia (1886-1935), “the first Chilean Baptist,” was converted from Roman Catholicism upon hearing the simple Gospel message from Spanish immigrant (perhaps of French origin) Jorge Canete in Pailahueque (Ercilla province), just north of Victoria (central 9th Region), according to the biography Wenceslao Valdivia: Primer Bautista Chileno (1947). This book was written by his son, Pamela’s maternal great uncle, Pastor Isaías Valdivia Sanhueza in Valparaíso. Wenceslao was baptized in 1896 in the Quillén Baptist church and later went on to pastor thirty-four Baptist congregations in Contulmo, the 9th Region (Temuco) and 14th (Valdivia) Region during his life.

Isaías, who was the founding pastor of the first Baptist church in Valparaíso (1936), eventually went to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for further training and never returned to Chile. He and his father were probably close to the core doctrine imported by the Davidsons (and probably the other missionaries from Virginia in Chile at the time: Joe Hart, Robert Moore, Frank Marrs), presumably trained by calvinistic Baptists and libertarians in Virginia, and whom presumably would not have been opposed to employing self-defense against menacing Indians in either the United States or Chile. In a recent blog entry about Pastor John Leland, who ministered in both Virginia and Massachusetts, I concluded:

…early American Baptists like pastors Leland and Backus would not have been opposed to carrying concealed weapons, much to the chagrin of some of their modern progeny in Europe, North America and South American countries like Chile. Were the historical Baptists right regarding taking up arms in self-defense? How different would modern countries in North America, Europe and South America be if Baptists would only adhere to the doctrine of Christ and corresponding Worldview championed by their activist Baptist predecessors?

While the ends do not justify the means, it is quite clear that Baptist prosperity since 1790, including Bible-based seminaries and the enormous missionary surge over the last two centuries—along with similar blessings that spilled over to many other groups—was built on the defensive actions of activist Baptists. The courageous American Baptists of the late 1700s may have originally aligned themselves with Presbyterians (mainly) and others like the “black robe regiment” Lutherans during the battle for freedom in Colonial America, but they later stood alone when insisting on protecting the rights of men generally via the Bill of Rights. Accordingly, libertarians in North America, Chile, Europe and elsewhere around the world owe a debt of gratitude to Baptists, the most libertarian and neoliberal of all the branches of Christianity.

I do not know for certain what the Davidsons or Canete believed, but given what I do know about the history of Virginian baptists (in the tradition of Leland), and other southern baptists of that 1880-1920 era in North America and Europe, it is likely that the missionaries from Virginia brought a relatively libertarian and calvinistic perspective to the Valdivias and other Chileans. Nevertheless, modern Chilean Baptists generally know little of the Valdivias, close to nothing of Leland, or even much about the support from the Virginian Baptists initially given a century ago—bolstering Chilean Baptist churches. Looking at how weak Chilean Baptist churches are today, replete with their theatrical acts, charismatic tendencies, arminianism, pacifism, and women in leadership or coordinating the services, one can imagine the Valdivias turning in their graves.

Are Chilean Baptists anything like John Leland and their libertarian-minded, calvinistic Virginian forefathers? Or are they courageous like the Valdivias, Canetes or Davidsons? When considering a bacon-and-eggs breakfast, we see that the hen sacrifices a lot (her egg), but the pig is committed to the ultimate sacrifice to get the job done. The American Founders were committed like “pigs” are, especially the Baptist ones. Are Chileans more like “hens” or “pigs” in this sad scenario today, wanting to fight for liberty and historic Baptist doctrine? The question is rhetorical. The obvious implication is that Chilean Baptists would do well to learn their libertarian and calvinistic roots, reconsider the biblical doctrine that makes them distinct and their message powerful, thereby moving forward once again to transform their culture.

Ver la versión en español acá.

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Chilean Ethnicity and Ancestry: A Somewhat Surprising Mixture

A lot of things are surprising about Chile, especially its natural beauty. Relatively few people seem to be aware of just how stunning the coastal and mountain/lake landscapes can be. The same is true about Chile’s ethnicity, ancestry and culture, which is decidedly European and certainly not Mexican or Central American (e.g., the tacos and burritos in Chile might disappoint you!). Indeed, along with the other two “southern cone” countries, Argentina and Uruguay, Chile is racially far “whiter” and culturally far more European than any other place in Latin America.

That aspect of Chile is due to the fact that between 15% and 29% of its people are direct descendants of Europeans. Note that while those percentages are far higher in Argentina, and even in Uruguay, they still have had quite a significant impact on Chile. And the diversity of Europeans that have come to Chile is somewhat surprising, too. Mostly, one hears about the British and Germans who came. But there were many other sizable, important immigrant groups from places like Switzerland, Austria, Palestine, Armenia, France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Holland, Belgium and Croatia.

Chile’s New World story is not entirely different than America’s: people escaping oppression or looking for better economic opportunities. That fact is most certainly true of the vast majority of Latin American immigrants that have arrived since the 1990s, but it was also true from 1850-1950 for Eastern European Jews, Palestinian refugees, Armenian and Greek genocide refugees, German libertarians, anti-communist eastern Europeans fleeing the Soviets, Russian Molokans (non-Trinitarian Pentecostals) looking for religious liberty, persecuted Baptists seeking relief, and myriad poor central European farmers, miners or fishermen that fled their aristocratic homelands in search of peace and prosperity. Many thousands of them found a new home in Chile. The same is true for well-to-do European and Asian merchants and professional that settled in Chile, hoping to find fortune and opportunity in a new land full of natural resources.

The table below summarizes Chilean ethnicity and ancestry information. The sources of information were articles encountered on the internet, as well as Wikipedia. I found rather large differences in figures between sources, so I have reported the findings as ranges. Please do not take this article as either good history or good science. It is neither thing. The objective is to provide those interested in Chile with a general idea of the topic, based on presumably reliable and easily accessible sources. There are also cultural elements today which collaborate the figures: ethnic clubs, ethnic firemen in Valparaíso and Santiago, ethnic schools, tombstones in Valparaíso and Punta Arenas cemeteries written in various European languages, and a variety of European last names. The impact of Far Eastern immigration has been far less, but there are still notable traces, especially seen in Chinese “malls” and restaurants.

As I have said repeatedly, those who plan to come to Chile as a freer, saner alternative to Northern Hemispheric empires and vassal states would do well to learn something about Chile’s culture and history. That history has been changing in the 21st Century with hundreds of thousands of black immigrants from Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia, as well as hundreds of thousands more from other parts of South America, especially Peru and Venezuela. In just two years, 2016-2017, 150,901 (net) Venezuelans and 144,589 (net) Haitians immigrated to Chile. Those migrations will change Chile’s national skin color a little more, making it less “white” and more diverse. Chile is changing, mostly for the best, and newcomers should be apprised of where Chile has been and where it is going. I hope that this article has helped facilitate that quest at least a little.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Historical Immigration to Chile: Overview of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Like the United States, Brazil and Argentina, and many other countries in the New World, Chile is a country deeply indebted to immigration. In the last few decades, the great majority of immigrants have come from Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Columbia, and, to a lesser extent, Ecuador, Brazil and Mexico. However, in the last five years especially, these countries have been nearly eclipsed by the combined influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Maduro’s Venezuela, along with hundreds of thousands of poor people from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They are all coming to Chile to try to find a better life (joining the ranks of poorer Peruvians, Bolivian and Colombians that have continued their influx). Chile’s 21st Century has been marked by massive inflows of immigrants. Not all of these folks stay, of course. Perhaps a third of them leave, after having worked in Chile for a year or two.

Source: Samuel Vial M., 1998, Historia y Geografía de Chile, page 115, 5th ed. Ediciones Universidad Católica.

Just as the reach of Chilean territory has changed over the past two centuries, mainly due to wars with the combined forces of Bolivia and Peru in the 19th Century, and treachery or squabbles with Argentina (in the image above notice how Chile reached to the Atlantic for the first seventy years of its existence), so has the mixture of its people. A lot has happened since Pedro de Valdivia arrived as a Spanish conquistador (from southwestern Spain), along with 150 men, and founded the cities of Santiago, La Serena, Valparaíso, Concepción and Valdivia during the 1540s.

There is a lot of questionable history, if not popular mythology, that states that many of Valdivia’s men were prisoners in Spain who were given a shot a freedom by fighting under the conquistador. Unlike imperial penal colonies like Australia that received 160,000 prisoners, there is little evidence to corroborate the apparently fictitious claim that Chile’s founders were criminals and, by extension, a genetic reason exists for why so many Chileans are liars, thieves, adulterers and cheaters. If the story were true, it seems that there would be significant historical evidence to be found. There is not.

What is clear is that these men from southern Spain (regions of Andalusia and Extremadura mainly) mixed with the native American (female, obviously) population with whom they constantly fought and attempted to subdue. While many more Spaniards would eventually make their way to Chile, especially from the Basque country, but also from Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia and elsewhere, the Spanish race was hardly left “pure” during the centuries of Chile’s imperial subjugation (1540-1810). From the time of Chile’s complete independence from Spain, it was comprised of a largely mestizo race. Sure, a few Portuguese, Italians, English, Croatians, French and other Europeans had also been added to the mix during the colonial period, but their influence was hardly significant.

However, after independence, the new Chilean government made a smart policy move. Like New York during the same period, several ports were made free ports, starting in 1820, attracting many Europeans (along with a few Chinese Coolies in the north) who sought their fortunes in saltpeter, iodine, gold, silver, wines, retailing and sheep ranching. Valparaíso became especially important, and large businesses grew up in that port to warehouse goods for transient foreign ships securely, making sea voyages more profitable and keeping goods safer on land rather than in a ship’s hull. Valparaíso blossomed and quickly became the most important port on the Pacific Ocean. It was a tax haven, with secure property rights and a wonderful climate.

In 1845, the government also instituted a program to recruit Europeans to settle areas of the south central part of the country. It mainly took off a decade later, placing settlers from Lebu-Angol-Victoria (north of Temuco) down to Puerto Montt and the island of Chiloé, what are today the lower 8th, 9th, 14th and 10th regions of Chile. This brought in several important waves of German immigration, but also poorer Czech, Austrian and Swiss settlers. Meanwhile, Valparaíso swelled with British, Irish, Italians, Swiss, Germans, French, Croatians, Americans and Spaniards, along with a smattering of other nationalities, from the mid-19th Century through the time that the Panama Canal opened and World War 1 commenced in 1914. Significant immigration did not stop until the 1930s, when the saltpeter crisis occurred.

Smaller towns like Punta Arenas swelled with Croats, British and some Portuguese looking for gold and eventually doing well with massive sheep ranches in the late 19th Century, while Iquique and Antofagasta (after Chile won those territories in the War of the Pacific, ending in 1883) became a saltpeter mining magnet for Croats, British and some Italians, Swiss and Chinese.

I am no historian, and the table below is simply a summary of what I read in sources that came from internet searching and Wikipedia. But I hope one can get an idea about the significant immigrant groups that made their way to Chile. This country is hardly Brazil, Uruguay or especially Argentina, whose European immigration numbers completely dwarf Chile’s. Still, European, and to a lesser extent Middle Eastern (Mediterranean, largely non-Muslim, mostly Orthodox or Jewish), immigration significantly impacted Chile’s ethnic and racial makeup. Please note, too, that I leave out many minute details in this sort of presentation. For instance, I do not mention the Danish engineers that came to Valparaíso and Antofagasta, or the first Baptists to settle in Chile, in the lower 8th and 9th regions from 1892 to 1896 (Contulmo, Victoria, Quillén station, etc.), having come from Germany. One other thing: when considering the figures in the table, note that Chile’s population was only 3.2 million in 1907.

If one plans to live in Chile, it pays to know at least something about the country’s history. I hope this article helps facilitate that objective.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Turning a Blind Eye to the Evils of One’s Homeland

In spite of recent positive election results in Chile, there are still many people who refuse to consider immigrating to this country on account of its national sins and defects, apparently ignoring the magnitude of problems where they presently live. For instance, in response to my previous blog entry (December 2017), a man posted on Facebook: “Regardless of who is in office Chile is still not a safe place to live. lying and stealing are rampant everywhere. Stealing from their neighbors and then bragging about it is part of their culture. Piñera or anyone else cannot change that.”

Nevertheless, this man’s perspective is riddled with questionable logic and seems to be turning a blind eye to the evils of his own land. There is no doubt about egregious extent of lying, stealing and cheating in Chile. I have written about such repugnant practices extensively. Yet, no place on earth is perfect. We must choose places that serve up the least amount of badness. And most people cannot afford Hong Kong, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Andorra or San Marino, nor do they want to live out their days on a small island somewhere. So what place is better than Chile for most people?

The dismissive Facebook comment begs the question: are things really better anywhere else?

I mean, Chilean dishonesty may top the list of notable evils compared to all other countries, but that commentator apparently forgot that other countries have problems that are at least as bad if not far worse: abortion, political correctness, warfarism, welfare statism, quantitative easing (central bank intrusiveness), Draconian business regulation, high murder rates, violence and police brutality, drone killings, NSA surveillance, family court and DSS/CSD atrocities, confiscatory taxation (along with Gestapo tactics), EPA mandates, radical ecology policy, political correctness, and much more. Chile comes in remarkably low on all of those scores.

So, why is the gainsayer willing to put up with all those evils just to avoid having to deal with rampant lying, cheating and stealing? Pretty selective in his sin avoidance/intolerance, no? He seems to be making an implicit decision that Chile’s negative aspects are far worse than a whole host of other evils. It also seems like he is making up excuses for why he wants to stay in a far eviler place than Chile.

Denial is a prevalent trait among Northern Hemisphere dwellers. I recommend that my readers unshackle themselves from such denial. As Ayn Rand famously said, you can deny reality, but you cannot deny the consequences of reality. You doubtless see all the warning signs. Why take the chance?

A more insightful comment was posted elsewhere: “Given Chileans are as dishonest and backstabbing as you suggest, I don’t understand how the average North American or European could ever integrate and live comfortably. Violent crime is rampant in large American cities (trust me, Chileans would faint in parts of Detroit or Baltimore!), but watching our backs at every corner for slick, well-dressed scam artists is quite another matter. Any advice on how to cope? Do Chileans ever take genuine, good-natured interest in foreigners, or is it almost always a ploy?”

There is no easy way to cope in Chile other than to train yourself to not take people at their word or trust anyone you have known for under a year. So, while difficult, it can be done. Also, a reasonable minority (maybe 10%) of Chileans are nice, trustworthy people, at least in my experience. Remember, too, what your alternatives are staying in the U.S.A. Consider the previous points that should be useful in shaking up your thinking and clarifying what you need to do. Chile may be bad, but probably everywhere else you can think of is worse. And that is the stark reality we face in a fallen world.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Recent Trends in Chilean Immigration

Chile is a great country to live in; just ask its nearly 500,000 immigrants (3% of its population). That figure is likely to double by 2025 as even more immigrants pour into the new El Dorado on account of its economic prosperity. According to La Migración en Chile: Breve Reporte y Caracterización, or report on the characteristics of Chilean migration, since 2001, Chile has become the leading migrant destination in Latin America. This trend has also held true for First World immigrants this century, with significant increases in South Koreans, French, Germans, Dutch, Austrians, Czechs and Americans, with honorable mention going to British, Italian and Japanese immigrants.

Although the percentage of First World (OECD) immigrants from places like the U.S.A. and Spain sharply declined during the now outgoing Bachelet administration, it should reverse itself now that the leftist threat has subsided and President Piñera will be back in office, and Latin American and Caribbean immigration has not stopped soaring—and that trend continues. No country in Latin America has experienced a higher boom in immigration recently than Chile. Although the lion’s share of immigrants are workers in their 20s, 30s and 40s, they are not entirely uneducated. In fact, the Chilean government states that the average education level of an immigrant is higher than that of a Chilean citizen—a fact which bodes well for Chile’s economic future.

Furthermore, many immigrants will take any job. I personally have met Venezuelans fleeing the horrors of life under Maduro in once-prosperous Venezuela. Many of them are now working as maids, auto mechanics and electricians in Chile, having earned university degrees from their homeland in education, construction engineering, and industrial engineering, respectively. They are also earning wages that are perhaps 10% lower than Chileans earn.

Such is the cost of being a refugee and one reason I have always advocated getting a second passport (besides the Chilean one). One never knows when things can turn bad and it becomes necessary to leave. How much better is it to arrive in a new place as a citizen rather than a refugee?

According to Población Migrante en Chile, roughly translated as “immigration yearbook,” published by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peruvians still comprise the largest immigration group, making up 27.5%/21.2% of total initial visa applications approved/applied for in 2016. They are followed by Colombians (17.8%/17.7%). The Colombian case is interesting since I would say, along with many others, that Colombia may be the second most desirable place to go to in Latin America, neck-and-neck with Panama. Yet the “market” indicates that large numbers of Colombians would rather live in Chile, a figure which has continued to increase dramatically in recent years—even surpassing Bolivian immigrants—implying that Chile is a far more attractive place.

Bolivia comes next (17.1%/13.3%), which, along with Peru, has easy connectivity with the far north of Chile. Indeed, while the Santiago area attracts 61.6% of new, legal immigrants, the far north (Antofagasta, Calama, Iquique and Arica) attracts an impressive 23.3%, especially remarkable when compared to only 4.0% for Valparaíso/Viña del Mar (Chile’s second largest metropolitan area). They are followed by Haitians (5.8%/16.0%), Venezuelans (5.7%/14.7%), Argentines (4.8%/3.7%), many from the latter two countries being professionals, then Ecuador (3.1%/3.0%), Spain (2.6%/1.4%), the U.S.A. (2.5%/1.4%) and Brazil (1.7%/1.2%). Some of the Spaniards and Americans are freedom-seekers, but most are either retirees or working professionals coming down to work for a few years and then return to their home countries.

Note the figures (percentages) represent requests for initial, temporary visas. The country rankings are somewhat similar when considering applications for permanent residency, with Bolivians leapfrogging Colombians, and Haitians falling below everyone (2.0%, just ahead of Brazil), followed by strong rises in applications made by Argentines, Spaniards and Ecuadorans. The U.S.A. dropping out of the top ten at that stage (reflecting that most Americans in Chile come for short-term assignments with their firms then go back), being eclipsed by other nations, even the Chinese (2.3%) which are on the rise at this stage—along with people from the Dominican Republic. About 10% to 12% of new immigrants settle in wealthier sections like Las Condes or Providencia; most of the rest live in poorer or lower-middle-class sections of Santiago and cities in northern Chile, indicating that the great majority of immigrants are not wealthy, nor qualify as upper-middle class.

I remember how unusual it was to see a black person in Chile during the 1990s. Nearly everyone stared at Negro visitors on the Metro out of curiosity. In 2008, I mentioned in an Escape America Now blog entry that Chile has very few black people. That has totally changed since 2015—especially in the last year. Blacks from Haiti and Colombia are now seen everywhere. There is no institutionalized welfare state in Chile, so these people come to work, even though Colombian women often end up being prostitutes. They are seen doing menial cleanup jobs, heavy lifting and loading, house cleaning, and selling candy at intersections with longer-wait stoplights. The Haitians hardly speak Spanish.

From 2015 to 2016, the number of Colombians applying for visas increased by 40.7% (28,361), Haitians by a whopping 419.0% (35,277), and Venezuelans by a remarkable 323.7% (30,751). Working as much as we do with immigration services for our clients, we have every reason to believe that these large increases skyrocketed even further during 2017. At immigration offices in downtown Santiago, the line to enter (since 2017) now stretches around the block, largely full of immigrants from these three countries. Note that the figures cited do not include illegal or undocumented immigrants, whose number is surely significant, especially from Peru and Bolivia.

In the same way that Chile discriminates against 51% of the world’s countries by making it much harder for them to come to Chile, the ease of getting a visa once in country also varies according to Chile’s revealed preference for First World or professional immigrants. For instance, the average wait time for the initial temporary visa for Venezuelans is 63.2 days, with Americans slightly behind at 65.2 days, followed by Argentines (66.9), Spaniards (70.3), and Brazilians (74.2). However, the wait times are much longer for people from countries that send poorer people: Peruvians (152.7), Colombians (133.9), Ecuadorians (119.3), and Haitians (99.4).

Chile needs immigrants. Nowadays, Chilean women produce only 1.9 children on average, which is not enough to replace the country’s population. And immigrants, especially educated ones, tend to be a boon to the economy (Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2, 1996). Moreover, Chile’s demographic makeup is changing racially and politically. Skin color is not quite a white as it was a few years ago. And people from Venezuela and Argentina, and possibly Argentina and Brazil, are likely to support anti-left, anti-communist candidates, given the fact that they fled countries that have been beleaguered and damaged by them. That fact bodes well for libertarians and constitutional conservatives in Chile, since we may expect a rightward or freedom-minded political shift over the coming decade. (Remember that one may vote in Chile after achieving five years of permanent residency.)

Overall, therefore, we should welcome the recent demographic changes caused by immigration to Chile. Even the government, employers and even huge labor unions agree. Chile has passed the “market test,” as growing thousands pour into the territory seeking a better life. Is not that a good indicator for you? While you ponder the grave situation you face in the Northern Hemisphere, now is as good a time as any to consider setting down roots (or at least a “Plan B” residence with visa) in Chile. Visit Escape America Now to find out more about or residency and consultancy services. You will be welcomed and well-liked in this country situated at the end of the world.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Presidential Election 2017: Chile Turns Right

About seven million Chileans and permanent residents voted in today’s runoff election (December 17, 2017), about 700,000 more than a month ago in the November 2017 general election. Still, voter turnout was remarkably low (48.7%), probably meaning that the disgusted hard Left largely stayed home; contrary to those folks, early indications are that the Right went to the polls in force. The candidate from the Right, Sebastián Piñera, won handily 54.5% to 45.5%, keeping pace with the general rightward political shift in all of Latin America. The nine-point spread is significant given that Chile has often been considered to be a leftist nation. Exuberant celebrations shut down major arteries in Santiago, Viña del Mar and elsewhere.

Piñera beat Alejandro Guillier (despite the journalist’s strong gestures to communist party members and a promise to soak the rich) in the Santiago metro area and 12 of the 14 regions of the country (his two regional losses were in the deep south: Punta Arenas and Coyhaique; he also lost in leftist hotspots like Castro on Chiloé, Valdivia and San Antonio). Piñera simply killed it in Northeastern Santiago, Concón/Viña del Mar, Concepción/Talcahuano, Iquique, Puerto Varas, Santa Bárbara, Los Angeles and Temuco, and did well in the farm belt of the Central Valley (Rancagua, Curicó, Talca, Chillán, etc.).

He surprisingly won in traditionally hard-Left mining areas in the north and southcentral part of the country (La Serena/Coquimbo, Antofagasta, Calama, Copiapó, Coronel, Arauco). He lost as expected in leftist Valparaíso (44.5%-55.5%) but dominated in Concepción/Talcahuano (56.5%-43.5%, surprisingly) and the entire 8th region (58.5%-41.5%), Viña del Mar (57%-43%) and Concón (64%-36%), as well as the inland central 5th Region areas of Quilpué and Villa Alemana, Olmué, Limache, Quillota, La Calera, San Felipe and Los Andes. Even lackluster Osorno and Puerto Montt went for Piñera.

All of Northeastern Santiago was dominated by votes in his favor, with the three largest comunas handing Piñera 81% to 88% of the vote in a lopsided victory (no surprise other than the margin). He won the other four Northeastern Santiago comunas handily, too, and also downtown Santiago. His only surprising Santiago metro area losses were in Estación Central, Puente Alto and La Florida.

Two-thirds of the effectively-irrelevant worldwide votes cast in Chilean consulates (15,766) went for Guillier, most of them coming from families exiled under Pinochet. The Left’s hope that votes from Chileans living abroad would be a significant boon turned out to be unfounded.

Libertarians, Christian ones or otherwise, should be cautiously happy with the outcome for several reasons. First, although the Chilean Congress is sharply divided, there is a chance that the three exceptions for legal abortion might be overturned with the (now puny) Christian Democrats crossing over and voting with the Right. Second, there is also a possibility that taxes will be reduced, participation in politically-correct left-wing groups like the United Nations will be diminished, as well as radical environmentalist policies cooled, and that immigration will be encouraged. Third, there is now a greater chance that regions (including areas like Viña del Mar, Concón, Concepción and La Serena) will get more infrastructure funding. Fourth, there is now a chance to cut down Chile’s external debt—which has risen under recent leftist rule—and to take the heat off of private universities’ profits. Fifth, Chile should now take a slightly harder stand against criminals, especially thieves, with the police given a freer hand. Finally, there should be a huge uptick in the economy as the world returns to invest in Chile’s production of natural resources. Look for the next four years to feature an economic boom in Chile, as the country returns to being the clear “go-to” place of choice for freedom-loving North Americans and Europeans.

The Chilean Left is rather insipid, ignorant, calloused and even silly, and libertarians should be happy to not have to deal with them for the time being. We need to hope that presidential candidate José Antonio Kast, the closest man to a libertarian in the 2017 race, receives a prominent post in the Piñera cabinet, setting him up for another presidential run in 2021. Minister of Public Works would be a logical choice. Remember that Kast garnered 7.9% of the vote in the 8-way presidential race last month, running as an independent. Compare that to Ron Paul or Libertarian Party and Constitution Party candidates in the U.S.A. in national elections (that might get 1% to 3% in a 4-way or 5-way race) and one can immediately sense that there is a much stronger constitutionalist/libertarian tendency, percentage-wise, in Chile than in other parts of the world (even America).

We also need to take advantage of the new congressional election rules that allowed candidates with as little as 2.8% to win a seat in Congress last month, putting truly libertarian candidates forward in the larger places where Piñera won big (that have 7 or 8 seats up for grabs) and let them get dragged in on the coattails of the victorious right-wing (Chile Vamos) candidates in 2021. The congressional vote of a 7th place vote-getter counts just as much as that of the one who came in 1st place! Now is the time to select our candidates (six or eight of them if possible), running as libertarians or independents but coalitioned with the Right’s parties, and raise money for their campaigns.  We might actually have a shot at winning a few seats across the country in Northeastern Santiago, Concón/Viña del Mar, Concepción, Los Angeles, Temuco, Rancagua, and perhaps Talca. Remember that, in Chile, a congressman does not have to live in his district. Having a post-Pinochet era presidential candidate from the Right win twice has now set up a whole new political landscape for Chile that is thus generally favorable for libertarians. This 2017 victory was absolutely good for Chile.

However, let’s be careful not to get too excited. Piñera is a very rich centrist at best, even though he is supposedly representing the Right. The median voter theory indicates that national election winners need to be centrists and pragmatists in two-way run-off races, and Piñera fits that mold. Piñera is not going to promote liberty and free markets. He is not going to fully champion personal liberties. He favored corporate tax rate hike during his last term, the “morning after pill,” egregious gender-based labor laws, small handouts to the poor, and gay civil unions (instead of getting government out of the marriage business altogether). He is not going to legalize drugs, nor reduce taxes and regulation to nearly zero.

The only libertarian-leaning policies we can expect might be seen in more liberal immigration, less state-control of enterprises, the salvation of existing private medical insurance and private social security plans, slightly lower taxes and maybe slightly less-Draconian labor laws than his predecessor championed. In short, Piñera is not our man. His own past is hardly spotless, and many have doubts about his character and vainglorious motivations, as he carves out his spot in Chilean history. Some outright say that he is disingenuous or even evil and a former embezzler (from a bank Talca long ago).

Such is the nature of the state and its key leaders, at least for libertarians. Consequently, libertarians should be delighted to have gotten rid of the leftist threat and the expected improvements on account of Piñera’s victory, but should hardly get their hopes up for a significantly more libertarian Chile via his policies. Our most exciting horizon has to do with winning some congressional seats in 2021 and that should be our focus. Come on down and join the party!

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Speedy Online Service in Chile

I never thought I would see the day when email would show signs of becoming a dinosaur, but it seems like other social media and certain cell-phone-based applications are becoming the preferred media for general communications and business around the world. Most of the world uses WhatsApp now–at least outside of the USA (SnapChat, etc.) and China (WeChat). In Chile, businesses advertise their WhatApp numbers as preferred means of contact. Supposedly ultra-private Signal has been making great inroads, too, eating away at WhatsApp’s market share a little, further cementing this category of communication’s phenomenal rise.

For the first time in decades my regular monthly cell phone bill has dropped to USD$11. I am just not using the thing to make many voice calls any longer, and I do not use that much data away from Wi-Fi zones or at home. I barely speak 100 minutes per month on the cell phone outside my home. I do make other calls from my landline, since I mostly work from home now. I spend a few extra bucks a month for my internet provider (VTR) to give me a cell-phone-enabled landline, which is cheaper and more convenient than using cell phones at home. VTR won the 2017 OOKLA speedtest award for Chile, apparently dominating its six competitors with average speeds being at least twice as fast.

My cell service (Virgin Mobile) gives me unlimited WhatsApp use (non-voice) with my cheap “antiplan” and I find that the overwhelming majority of my daily communication for business, church, friends and other contacts is done via WhatsApp. Sure, I still use email, but it is no longer the most important communication medium for me.

The internet itself is the only consumable that has increased more than WhatsApp in my life. I now generate even more of my income from internet-based activity than ever before. Whether it is IT, crypto-currencies, day trading, blogging, editing/proofreading, or teaching English online, more people than ever are generating portable, tax-advantaged incomes over the internet. Who would have thought that such a world would have existed in the mid-1990s when I first left the Land of the Free?

Speaking of the internet, I thought it would be worthwhile mentioning how extremely pleased I have been with internet speeds in Chile, a country which has had fiber optics installed everywhere for over three decades. So long as the service is connected correctly, we can easily attain plans that feature 160mbps to 320mbps download, and 8mbps to 15mbps upload, in any of Chile’s major population centers. The monthly cost is usually somewhere between USD$55 and USD$65, which includes the aforementioned landline phone. Basically, all newcomers to either Santiago or Viña del Mar (which is probably 98% of them) can enjoy fantastic, reliable internet connectivity. Data services on cell phones, and the hot spots they can create are also decent and often very good.

Admittedly, I have not been in the United States (thank God) for going on ten years. So I may not really be able to “feel” the difference in connectivity speeds between here and there. But as far as I can remember, Internet service speeds and quality have been better in Chile than the Land of the Free since the end of the Twentieth Century. Newcomers and more recent clients that I have interviewed on the subject confirm that the same is still true. In fact many cannot believe that I get speedtest.com download numbers around 180mbps. I could pay another ten bucks a month and get over 320mbps, but why? I will just use the savings to pay my ever-declining cell phone bill. For what I use the internet for, I probably would never notice the difference between 180mbps and 320mbps anyway.

When it comes to Europe, especially Italy, which I seem to visit once or twice a year, I have had more recent comparative data for internet speeds. I also have experience from my occasional visits to Germany, Spain, Switzerland, France and other parts of Europe. Maybe it is just bad luck, but wherever I stay up there I am lucky to get between 2mbps and 10mbps (download or upload). Indeed, my internet connection in Chile is vastly superior. Now, I am sure that if I had been staying longer term in Milan or Munich I would find great access to the internet somewhere, but it is simply does not seem to be as widespread as it is in Chile. I hear from others that China and Japan also have generally better connectivity speeds than southern/central Europe or North America. Perhaps they do.

Nonetheless, I was looking at Speedtest’s global rankings of 131 countries for internet download speeds by either fixed or mobile services and was actually surprised that Chile is ranked as low as it is: 47th (fixed broadband) and 66th (mobile data). The United States is 9th/45th. Italy is 51st/35th. Germany is 24th/43rd. China is 22nd/24th. Hong Kong is 2nd/26th. Japan is 14th/55th. I guess my travel experience, that of the family in the USA and clients and newcomers I know, is not indicative of general reality elsewhere.

However, I think a more plausible explanation is that Chileans opt for lower broadband speeds for economic reasons. Although Chile is a lower-end OECD country (30th out of 35), not everyone here is willing to pay US$60 per month for internet service. For people in Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway, that cost is a minuscule part of average monthly income. I am sure the opposite is true in smaller cities in Italy, where many people “squeak by” on monthly incomes under 1,500 Euros, and perhaps the same holds for block apartment dwellers its larger cities there. Does the same dynamic likewise prevail in America and Canada, where so many North Americas live on less than US$2,000 per month? Maybe massive use by businesses and big city dwellers skew the statistics in those places? My guess is that per capita GDP is highly correlated with average sustained internet speeds. Unlike America or Italy, Chile only has one big city that generates business-related internet usage.

Accordingly, Chile’s internet speed rankings are plausibly lower on account of consumer choice rather than technological limitations or barriers in the country. Therefore, the upper classes, not to mention nearly all immigrants from “First Word” countries, will have no problem whatsoever attaining Hong Kong-level performance in Chile’s larger cities. As a result, newcomers who depend on the internet need not worry that they will have difficulty getting connected in Chile.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

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