“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
(from Bishop Desmond Tutu (born 1931), a South African cleric and activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid)
Sorry to be a spoil sport, but I think everyone is forgetting one thing: in the last few centuries of world history, Western Christian Missions hopped on the back of British and other European (and US) imperialism. And contrary to popular evangelical opinion, the majority of imperialists were card-carrying Christians. They paved the way for missionaries to enter China, India and other nations. And after they entered, their minds and actions were guided by a form of Social Darwinism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinism), not Scripture.
This Social Darwinism existed even before Darwin; it implied that Caucasians of Western European extraction were the most civilised, including on the religious plane, and had the divine or natural right to dominate other ethnicities and of course their land and resources. Actually, the Papal Bulls (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_papal_bulls) paved the way. These Bulls, which are actually “bull~~”, rallied the Spanish and Portuguese to steal, kill and destroy in the Americas and elsewhere. The Bulls set off a global free-for-all. Britain industrialised with money originally stolen from Peru, then wasted by Spain and Portugal. Holland, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany followed suit. They all went on a shopping spree, competing with each other to gain more pieces on their Monopoly board.
Britain, its colonies, and its junior partner the US, formed the world’s hugest, most powerful empire that ever existed. If there ever was a Babylon, this was and still is it.
And evangelical missions? Well, we just hung on to the imperialists coat-tails, and fulfilled their dream of conquering the “weaker” ethnicities not only geographically, intellectually, politically, culturally, socially and economically, but also spiritually. Leftover, stale Catholicism was re-branded and re-brewed into its exciting Protestant counterpart. And this is what the imperialists used to conquer peoples’ souls.
And where was Yeshua in all this? Angry. Weeping. Just like He did over Jerusalem. The very people who claimed to know and represent Him, caused genocides, slavery and oppression on the largest scale ever seen in human history.
And us? Well, we just give excuses:
– Oh, those guys weren’t really saved. Their confessions of faith, their prayers, their Bible readings, their Sunday Schools, their seminaries, their sermons, their church picnics – it was all fake.
– Well, it did happen, and it was an abuse of Christianity, for which we are truly sorry. But the religion is still true.
Or is it? If this is the faith Yeshua lived, died and resurrected for, surely it is a dismal failure. And so is the attempt to bring the White Man’s Gospel to all the world, to make disciples of all ethne, to preach the Good News to every creature, to plant churches that multiply, reproduce and change society and what not.
My point is:
– there is no glory in the history of Protestant missions. It was culpable in the world’s biggest land grab, which has been continued by Western governments and corporations. It was a chief engine in the massacre of millions of innocent people groups, simply because they followed the wrong religion. Were they not all created in the image of Yahweh?
– Americans, Canadians and other Westerners going out all over the world to preach the same religion of people who voted in Dick Cheney and George Bush Jr., and Stephen Harper in Canada, are continuing to spread Western imperialism rather than good news.
I know. I was an evangelical missionary in Asian countries. I did an MA in Cross Cultural Ministries at an evangelical seminary in North Turtle Island. Been there, done that. 30 years in evangelical churches. And after finding out the truth in history, I am advocating an entirely different approach to the Bible: MESSIANISM.
And you know what? Some time the global and local oppression had better stop. There is a point where you have to back up, look at the roots you come from, and cease to continue promoting an ideology that is anything but Biblical. Western evangelicalism, especially that of the US and Canada, is absolutely NOT the faith Yeshua promoted. It is a counterfeit. Sure, you believe in the 66 books of the Bible, that it is inerrant and divinely inspired. Sure, there is God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Sure, Yeshua is 100% God and 100% human, lived a sinless life, died to redeem us from our sins, and was raised from the dead for our justification. And sure, He is coming back again to judge the living and the dead.
But this Western faith does not even come close to obeying the 2 cardinal commands of Yahweh: love Him wholeheartedly, and love your neighbour. Instead, we Westerners love money, fame, stolen land, power. And we refuse to love our First Nations/Native American neighbours, and also those neighbours who are Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, agnostic, atheist, Sikh, Catholic, traditional native, Buddhist, gay, have had an abortion, don’t support Conservatives or Tea Party, etc. We are a religion of hatred. All our pious songs on Sunday morning, all our cool Christian pop, all our sermons, all our Pipers and Warrens and Osteens, etc. can’t cover up for the fact that we have stolen an entire continent from the original indigenous owners, and that we by and large massacred 90% of them. This piety can’t cover up the wars we have had against Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines, Mexico, France, African and Middle Eastern nations, Vietnam, Korea, the islands of the Caribbean and Pacific, etc. There is blood on our hands, and yet we still go worldwide to preach a so-called Good News. Don’t tell me we are not responsible, because the truth says differently.
Folks, before you go anywhere, heed the call of the OT prophets and the NT illuminaries such as Yeshua Himself, and Jude, 2 Peter, etc. Repent. That means a 180 degree turn. Anyone who voted for George Bush Jr and his Darth Vader-ish partner Dick Cheney, or Stephen Harper and his cronies, need to repent in dust and ashes. Uh, I guess Obama hasn’t been much better, has he? The point is, we have to take responsibility for what we Western so-called believers have done, and change our attitudes. It’s time to stop justifying ourselves, to cease making excuses.
Otherwise, the candle of our lives will be yanked out of our hands and be given to another.
What’s it going to be?
Dimitri Pravdin, dimitri.pravdin(at)mail.ru
Hmmm, even some evangelicals admit it, even if partially:
Study deep, study hard, find the truth,
live the truth, spread truth, be truth.