By: Frank L. Hoffman
The Associated Press reported on 3 July 1998 that Tanzania deported three American missionaries:
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) - The government deported three American missionaries accused of illegal hunting, state-run radio reported Friday.
The Americans were deported in late May for allegedly hunting in a restricted area and illegal possession of wildlife remains, said Commissioner Stephen Mashinga from the Tabora region of central Tanzania.
The three men were identified as Bruce Fivecoat, Jonathan Mayo and Philip Knight, all from the World Mission Gospel Aid group in Tabora, central Tanzania...
If this report is true, which it most likely is, then we must ask ourselves, "What message does this action convey?" It certainly isn't the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. It tells the world that ambassadors of Christ are no different than many other people in the world. It tells them it's all right to break the law. It tells them it's all right to take pleasure in killing another living, feeling, sensitive, being. It tells them it's all right to cause pain and suffering. It tells them the wrong message.
According to Christian - Biblical teaching (2 Corinthians 5:20-21), "Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Somewhere this message was lost on these three men. An ambassador is to represent the interests of the nation he or she is from.
Missionaries are to be ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven, a place where there will be no pain or suffering or death (Revelation 21:4). Missionaries are to be ambassadors of Jesus Christ who taught us to pray (Matthew 5:10), "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." This is not the kingdom that these missionaries were representing. Missionaries are to be ambassadors (examples) of Jesus Christ, who did not sin, and yet these ambassadors broke the law.
The Church has been extremely weak in its stand against violence, violence of all kinds, violence directed toward the whole of God's creation, toward people, toward the animals, and toward the environment.
As long as the Church goes along with the sanitizing of violence in our society, we will continue to shoot ourselves in the foot. It's time we change!