Thank God for Colonization on Columbus Day

Indigenous people should, as every year, be thanking God for colonization on Columbus Day. The Great Commission as promised by Jesus – to spread his name and message throughout the world – has largely been the byproduct of the expansion of Christian empires through colonization. And through colonization, disadvantaged parts of the world have thrived by the influence of God-fearing nations.

As my sermon noted last year…

While not all “Christianization” of culture is done by actual Christians, there is no doubt that the influence of those at least claiming the religion of Christ, built the foundations of what we now know as world civilization…

The impact of Christianity on world history is unfathomable, incalculable and unconquerable. [Because of Christianized nations expanding] the impact of the religion of Christ, counted in millennia rather than decades, has been earth-shattering, foundation-laying and world-changing.

The impact of Columbus’ voyage to America has been inherently (and mostly) good. To deny this is to deny objective, historical fact. Ultimately, aside from the benefits of Western Civilization brought by the Catholic navigator Christopher Columbus, this also inadvertently opened the doors for mass Protestant evangelism of the Americas. God’s providence indeed

Native peoples around the world are far better off, more happy, more healthy, and more at peace than they ever would have been before, if it were not for colonization of the New World and the expanse of Christendom throughout the world. Although Columbus himself was a Romanist and not a real believer in Jesus, his voyage across the Atlantic brought the competition of religion between Romanists and Protestants, and set-off the race to Christianize the savage in the New World.

Ruth A. Tucker writes in From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya that…

“From the very beginning of English exploration of the new world there was a strong impulse to win the native population to Christianity. Writings of navigators, trading companies, and government magistrates indicate a calculated missionary zeal. Christianizing the natives became a powerful rationale for colonialism, and colonial charters emphasized Indian evangelism. The Virginia charter of 1606 opens with the king’s blessing on the colonists ‘in propagating the Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance.’ The Massachusetts Bay charter pledged to ‘win and incite the natives of the country to the knowledge and obedience of the only true God and Savior of mankind, and the Christian faith.’ And the seal of the colony testified to this need; its emblem was a figure of an Indian crying out ‘Come over and help us.’ The charter of Connecticut asserted that ‘evangelization’ was the ‘only and principal end’ for the colony’s establishment. Likewise Pennsylvania and other colonies were founded with the declared purpose of converting the Indians.” 

Edward Winslow, one of the early Pilgrims, wrote that “the spiritual condition of the savage is itself an argument for immigration. Every Christian has a duty…to spread the true religion among the Infidels, and to win many thousands of wandering sheep unto Christ’s fold.”

Neville Cryer writes, “Other early New England historians and diarists write in this vein: ‘Those men might as well be dead who lived in England for themselves alone and sit still with their talent in their napkin when that could be of service both to God and to their country by becoming colonists and using every effort to convert the heathen.”

We recognize, from our 21st century privileged perspectives, the great travesties upon First Nations people as side effects to glorious and civilization-advancing colonization.

While the majority of deaths of Indigenous peoples caused by the early days of European explorations occurred by disease, which is surely no one’s blame (and diseases went both ways), there were unfortunate skirmishes for resources, trading routes, and old inter-tribal grudges that were made worse (or more deadly) by advanced European weaponry. Perpetuated by Europeans in some cases, and in other cases perpetuated by fellow Indigenous people using European technology, bloodshed was harsh and severe.

The removal of Native Peoples from their traditional lands was also a tragic consequence of the advancement of civilization into the Americas. Events like the Trail of Tears surely burn into our cultural memory as tragedies indeed.

From a macro-perspective of history, however, no serious anthropologist could argue through unbiased evidence that Indigenous people are not better off because of Columbus’ voyage across the ocean.

Following Columbus came Christianized concepts like civil liberties, democracy, capitalism, and the rule of law. The blessings of Christianity include modern medicine, agricultural food production on a grand scale, and a standard of living that make the previous ways of life of Indigenous people – who routinely died in epidemic proportions due to pestilence and famine, often making unique people groups extinct in a single winter – seem hardly worth living at all by comparison.

Today, the Native Peoples have constitutional protections, benefits of tribal membership, and an identity that no longer involves ceaseless warfare with fellow tribes or mass extinctions due to unforgiving weather or uncontrollable disease.

Most important, the Native Peoples have something they did not have before Columbus made his journey across the Atlantic and the Protestants soon followed. Today, the Native Peoples have access to the Good News of Christ.

For God so loved the world, that he sent Christopher Columbus and fellow colonizing forces across the seas, to share the story of Christ and his atoning work for all tribes and nations.

Although colonization also includes stories of hardship, slavery, suffering, and prejudice, by God’s sovereign power, the story of Christian colonization ends in the conversion of the heathen and their ultimate salvation by Jesus Christ.

So this Columbus Day, as you hear the oft-told ‘down-side’ to Colonization, remember that it has been God’s tool and plan to bring a better quality of life, more health and prosperity, and most importantly – the Gospel – to people who otherwise would not know him.

Colonization has brought civilization and Christianity to savage people. Their small numbers in 2019 are not due to the tragic tolls of disease many centuries ago but because – by God’s goodness – they have assimilated into Civilization and many of us, are in fact, them. A 2014 Harvard study shows that almost every American of European descent has Native American ancestry.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Today, the indigenous population in the United States is about 6.5 million, which was roughly the same number as in 1650, and only slightly smaller than the 8 million or so estimate in 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Demographically, Native Peoples have not been dying off. The DNA in our bodies demonstrates that many have just become one of us, and joined other cultures and assumed other ethnic identities.

Once the dust settles on history and immediate tragedies forgotten, we should be able to take a step back and see the big picture. The big picture is that Native People are blessed and better off physically, materially, and spiritually because Columbus crossed the seas.

Thank God for colonization on this Columbus Day.

3 thoughts on “Thank God for Colonization on Columbus Day

  1. Is this article for real? I feel like I must be in the twilight zone.
    Thw following post written by Stephanie Sinclair Baker, truth.
    Body of Christ, consider this… 12 Jewish apostles were given the commission to spread the gospel unto the ends of the earth. During this time Israel was occupied by Rome and Caesar was the world ruler. During their ministry not one time did any of them plea with Caesar to get his people out of Israel so they could restore their land. Not one time did any of the apostles go back to Jerusalem and fight against the injustice of the Romans to take Israel back. Even Roman Christians who were being used as human torches to light the streets of Rome never banded together to take Rome back and restore it to a Godly nation. Also, Jesus put the ear back on the head of the soldier that was taking him captive after Peter had cut it off with a sword. He told Pilate this as well:

    Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

    The Apostles as well as other Christians in the scriptures contended for the faith of a kingdom not of this earth, and represented as ambassadors of that heavenly government on behalf of King Jesus. Paul says this:

    2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
    2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
    2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

    This is our mission statement, this is what we are to be telling others about and fighting for. That is it. You don’t want to be standing before Jesus and hear Him say to you “ You had one job to do and you didn’t do it.” The kingdoms of this world are trying their hardest to pull you into fighting for their kingdoms and into their will and doing so while wearing sheep’s clothing. They contain ideology which contradicts things that are in God’s Will for you as His ambassadors. We are being stirred up to fight for things that feel like the right thing to do, but a closer look will reveal it’s a trap. The only way to idiot- proof yourself from being a sucker is to study what God’s Will is for those of us who are in Christ. I would suggest reading Romans-Philemon bc there you will find His Will for us. Make sure the fight you choose to partake in is of the Lord.

    If you believe you are fighting on the Lord’s side, but hate others in doing so, you are being fooled. The very people you hate are the ones who need the light of the gospel the most. If what you stand for gets in the way of you doing that, you need to examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith.

    2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

    Salvation of souls far exceeds anything else to our Lord. He has freed us from the bondage of this world, and true liberty is only found in Him. Not a nation.

    2Co 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

    Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

    Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
    Gal 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    Gal 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

    The Word says:

    2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
    2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
    2Co 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
    2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    You think people who are on opposing sides won’t listen, but when Jesus walked the earth it was the most unlikely that believed:

    Mat 21:31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
    Mat 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

    Lastly,

    2Ti 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
    2Ti 4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
    2Ti 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
    2Ti 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

  2. Yup! No better way to preach the gospel to the unsaved than to go and murder them so they never have a chance of actually hearing it!!

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