Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Ron Clark, DMin

Second Advisor

Ekaterina Lomperis, PhD


The Evangelical Church in Brazil has grown in power in the last two decades. This new situation has revealed a church that seeks to change culture through power, resulting in violence and a dispute for cultural hegemony. This dissertation asserts that a contemplative practice of the Eucharist can produce renewed understandings of the atonement and can reorient the church toward a culture of reconciliation. Following the theoretical framework of René Girard, this thesis claims that we are the ones who need violence and sacrifice, not God. If we are not satisfied with the Eucharist, we will search for false atonements and scapegoating.

The first chapter presents a brief overview of how Protestantism in Brazil is revealing a theology of dominion. The following chapter casts the biblical foundations for a covenantal view of the doctrine of atonement and the progressive shift from Abel’s sacrifice to Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. In the third chapter, I attempt to offer an overview of the main theories of atonement throughout church history and their semiotic relationship to their cultural context. Followin this chapter, I present the mimetic theory of René Girard and his view of sacrifice as the origin of culture. The fifth chapter presents scapegoating rituals as forms of a false atonement and demonstrates how the Eucharist can transform a crowd into an atoned community. The final chapter demonstrates how a food pattern shapes a community, the therapeutical potential of the Eucharist, and the contemplative example of the monastic community of Taizé.

The way a church approaches the table shapes the way that church will relate to culture. If a church is not atoned in the Eucharist, that church will seek out false atonements. The Brazilian Evangelical Church has a great opportunity to learn the authority of suffering compassion with Jesus at his table.