August 17, 2011

Baptists want to save indigenous souls

Southern Baptists call for missions to endangered indigenous tribes

By JohnThomas DidymusFollowing news that a remote indigenous tribe unreached by the Gospel, in the Brazilian Amazon region, might have been wiped out after an assault by drug traffickers, the Southern Baptist mission has renewed its urgency for evangelizing missions among indigenous peoples it terms UUPGS, that is, unengaged, unreached people groups.

The report by the International Missions Board of Southern Baptist Convention was with emphasis on the American continent which it estimates has roughly about 300 "UUPGS," with some of the groups as small as five individuals and others up to thousands. The International Missions Board (IMB) estimates that there are about 50 to 70 of such groups in the Amazon basin alone, and a statement by Terry Lassiter in charge of IMB strategy for evangelizing American peoples bemoans the misfortune of tribal groups that were not reached by the Gospel before they were exterminated. According to Terry Lassiter, tribal peoples who were exterminated before they were reached by the gospel represent a "new level of darkness" which "should break the hearts of any Christian" because if the gospel does not reach a group before it is exterminated they are lost forever and "don't have the hope of salvation."

According to Lassiter:…That's really sad when you think that 2,000 years after the Great Commission we have people groups that don't have the Gospel and haven't even been contacted by the outside world. This is a whole new level of darkness. It breaks my heart and should break the hearts of any Christians to know that there are peoples like this that may have been exterminated—and they don't have the hope of salvation.
Didymus notes the obvious problem with this:The rights of endangered indigenous peoples include respect for their secular and religious worldviews and providing them protection from groups who think that their way of life represents a "whole new level of darkness." Evangelizers who go to an endangered culture with such chauvinistic and patronizingly condescending ethno-racist pre-conception as that "these are peoples that have been in the (spiritual )darkness of the evil one for their entire existence," and that they need the Christian evangelist to bring out of a "whole new level of darkness" (being people who, otherwise, "don't have hope of salvation,") cannot be trusted to protect the rights of indigenous peoples.Comment:  So the Baptists plan emergency missions to save Indians. Not their bodies--who cares about those?--but their heathen souls. Because Jesus wants them to be Christians before they die.

"We're not sure Indians have souls," added one Baptist. "But we'll try to save them anyway."

A couple of relevant postings from Facebook:Eskimo:  If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to Hell?

Priest:  Not if you did not know.

Eskimo:  Then why did you tell me?Annie DillardHow sad it is to think of the multitudes who have gone to their graves in this beautiful island and never knew there was a hell.Mark Twain, lecture on the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii)
For more on Christian missionaries, see Critics Slam Fischer's Racism and Kidnapping Children for Jesus.


Anonymous said...

The concept of the "souL" per se does not exist in many indigenous belief systems, but that irrelevant, I do find it unsurprising that it's Southern Baptists. Weren't they the ones who issued an apologia for slavery?

Jaine said...

he summed it up at the end of the video - it should be their choice if they want to make contact or not.