I enjoy reading Ann Coulter’s columns. Agree or disagree, she is entertaining and always clearly defends her position. But her latest column is off base. Coulter questions in her most recent post, titled “Ebola Docs Condition Downgraded to Idiotic”, why Dr. Kent Brantly, an American missionary, chose to go to Africa to combat the Ebola outbreak when there are people suffering in America. She makes the argument, through sarcasm, that there is much to do in America – why leave home?
Then she postulates why it is that Americans like Brantly go on mission trips:
Which explains why American Christians go on “mission trips” to disease-ridden cesspools. They’re tired of fighting the culture war in the U.S., tired of being called homophobes, racists, sexists and bigots. So they slink off to Third World countries, away from American culture to do good works…
The mistake the Ms. Coulter is making is elementary. She is forgetting a basic tenant of Christian mission: the call of God.
In the Bible God called Jonah to take the good news to Nineveh. He called Paul to take the gospel to the world outside of Israel. And he still calls people today to go to other lands and serve him. We call these people missionaries. They do not “slink off” because of a pragmatic opportunity to work overseas.
Coulter goes on to say that mission work in Third World countries does little good:
the first rule of life on a riverbank is that any good that one attempts downstream is quickly overtaken by what happens upstream
This is also an elementary error, namely historical. As I noted in a blog post previously, studies have shown that missionaries do have an impact on societies. Evangelical missions has been shown to impact politics and governments, the area of Ms. Coulter’s specialty.
She goes on in her post to suggest that the reason Dr. Brantly was in Liberia was to make himself look good, or what she calls “Christian narcissism”. I don’t know Dr. Brantly or his family, and probably never will. But I do know the organizations Samaritan’s Purse and SIM, which she references Dr. Brantly as working with. I know these organizations have a common goal of bringing people to a knowledge of Christ as Savior.
I seriously doubt if Dr. Brantly was in Liberia out of pride. I suspect that he was there because of the call of God on his life.
It is not easy to leave home and family in obedience to God. No one said it would be. But Jesus said the reward for doing so is great:
Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who arefirst will be last, and the last firstAnd what he was doing, ministering to people in Christ’s name, does make a difference. Christ said so Himself. Mark 10:29-30
In closing, and in defense of the mission that Dr. Brantly, Samaritan’s Purse, and others are engaged in: it does matter. What they are doing does make a difference. Jesus reminds us of that as well:
Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. Matthew 25:40
I believe the column from Ann Coulter is at best inaccurate and at worst highly offensive to the thousands of families around the world serving God as missionaries. Someone needs to set the record straight. This is my attempt.