I want to talk about Southern Baptist ambulance chasers today. You see, sleazy Southern Baptists plan to use tragedy to lure the Sikhs into bed. Most folks would say that saying “I love you” to get somebody into bed is wrong – but not the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Okay, here’s my gripe: it’s bad enough that a neo-Nazi white supremacist walked into a Sikh temple and started shooting. That was truly heinous. Bryan Fischer then compounded the crime by taking the opportunity to blame it on liberalism. And now the Baptist Press has jumped in saying the time is ripe for a little cultural genocide – what better time to bring the poor benighted Sikh’s to the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” than after they get gunned down by a right-wing maniac?
What’s the message here? It’s wrong to kill them but okay to kill their religion?
In the wake of one of the greatest tragedies to hit the Sikh community in North America, Southern Baptists have an unprecedented opportunity to reach out to their Sikh neighbors with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, says Aslam Masih, North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) national coordinator for Muslim people groups and South Asians.
WTF? Remember the other day when I mentioned how much I dislike proselytizing? Yeah, this is what I was talking about – times ten:
“We have an opportunity now to turn this very sad situation into a life-changing encounter with the Gospel for Sikhs throughout North America,” Masih said.
Life-changing…don’t you think living under the threat of violence resulting from conservative Islamophobia is life-changing enough?
An ignorant and heavily-armed, fear and loathing-fed conservative population lurks out there eager to assert their “Second Amendment rights” at the first available opportunity – and rather than speaking up in defense of the Sikhs (let alone Muslims) and speaking out against hate and fear mongering, the Southern Baptists decide this is the time to push their gospel?
Really? That’s what you want to go with?
I mean, taking advantage just a little? Can I expect Baptist missionaries to start showing up like ambulance chasers at every funeral now? Get the family while they’re really down? We already know Evangelicals look at us like Christians once looked at Barbarian Europe but this is a bit extreme even for conservative Protestantism.
The term “target rich environment” comes to mind, in more ways than one: “Masih estimated there are more than 1.1 million Sikhs on the continent. Many of those Sikhs are concentrated in major metropolitan areas like New York City, Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles and Chicago. Yet,”
Most of us would think “great! Diversity!” But Southern Baptists see Dead Zones:
Masih says, Southern Baptists have no churches specifically focused on reaching Sikhs with the Gospel. Masih expressed hope that through Send North America, Southern Baptists with a passion to reach Sikhs will partner together to start new works among them.
Send North America is NAMB’s church planting and evangelism strategy to penetrate lostness in 29 urban areas in North America. Through Send North America, NAMB is connecting church planters with partner churches and church planters with places that need new churches.
Lostness…The Sikhs, atheists, Pagans, Muslims, Hindus – they’re not really people or religions – they represent areas of “lostness,” some sort of abnormality on the body of Christ to be expunged as expeditiously as possible. Well, that’s Crusader Era thinking for you.
This sort of Christianity sounds almost like some sort of flesh-eating parasite eager to consume whatever it can reach and when the body’s immune system is at its lowest, it strikes.
Of course, just as ancient and medieval missionaries knew the weaknesses of their target audience, so do the modern:
“Masih said that the Trinity and Incarnation are two beliefs that will be real stumbling blocks to Sikhs as evangelicals share Christ with them.”
Ya think? There are many people who’d ask, “Zombie gods shouldn’t be a stumbling block?” New Testament scholar Gerd Lüdemann will tell you that dead people stay dead – that’s the consensus scientific view. I think outside the realm of speculative fiction most people would struggle with that, the dictates of religion aside.
Next, would-be Gospel salesmen are helpfully informed that “Sikhs take a very strong belief in the unity of God from Islam and often struggle with Christian explanations of the Trinity.”
Who doesn’t struggle with the Christian explanations of the Trinity? Christians struggled with Christian explanations of the Trinity for most of Christian history. They’ve killed each other over it. And why do you think the Jews didn’t jump on board the Jesus-wagon?
Having been brought up a Christian, I can understand these problem areas – even as a Lutheran I did not understand the Trinity. It was one of my biggest problems with the religion of my birth. It made no sense and nobody, pastors included, could offer me a decent explanation of how God can be three things in once, let alone God and human at the same time.
We are told that “Sikhs also see God as more of an abstract principle that cannot be defined by a human incarnation and have trouble understanding the incarnate Jesus.” Therefore, some special techniques are in order:
Instead of focusing on the differences between Christianity and Sikhism, be prepared to share your testimony and show them in your attitudes and actions how much God loves them, Masih said.
“The language of love is understood by all cultures,” he added.
For more about how you can get involved in reaching Sikhs near you — or elsewhere in the United States and Canada — through Send North America, visit namb.net/mobilize-me.
We have seen examples of how aberrochristian love manifests, like kicking pregnant students out of school, or if you want Southern Baptist-specific love, telling us gays and lesbians don’t deserve equal rights, saying Satan is behind marriage equality; or supporting violence against women. Yes, love is understood by all cultures.
So is hate. Trust me as a member of a religious minority: we get it.
If I were a Sikh, I would be more than a little troubled by all this. As ethical behavior goes, this is about as low as you can get short of outright coercion. Fortunately, there are laws protecting us against that once-favorite approach of churches the world over.
A genuinely loving religion would offer love without strings attached, without hidden motives. It would not use love as a tool, as a means to an end, but like Jesus, would simply love for love’s sake.