we’re doing it again

Yesterday Matt Lauer interviewed Nancy Writebol in front of a banner that read SIM. It was so third century.

In The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark argues the Christian faith exploded in part because early Christians sacrificially helped their neighbors in times of crisis. Pagan religion had no answer for the deadly plague that struck North Africa. Even their priests fled from the contaminated cities. But average Christians risked their lives to nurse and comfort the sick, and the pagans noticed. Stark estimates that by the middle of the fourth century, more than half of the Roman Empire had converted to Christianity (p. 6-10, 73-94).

Then, as now, the dominant culture thinks our Christian beliefs are a threat to society. But they have no answer for the missionaries who caught Ebola while serving those who had the disease. So they put them on TV, in front of the banner that advertises their mission agency.

Let us thank God for Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly and pray for the recovery of Rick Sacra. They are heroes who of the faith who are making “the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10).

6 Comments

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  1. Whatever good Dr. Kent Brantly did in Liberia has now been overwhelmed by the more than $2 million already paid by the Christian charities Samaritan’s Purse and SIM USA just to fly him and his nurse home in separate Gulfstream jets, specially equipped with medical tents, and to care for them at one of America’s premier hospitals. (This trip may be the first real-world demonstration of the economics of Obamacare.)

  2. Err…
    That’s what Ann Coulter said.
    http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2014-08-06.html
    (This column may the the latest real-world demonstration of people having no answer for why Christians risk their lives for the sake of others.)

  3. I found it interesting how a conservative “Christian” could say the work Dr. Brantly and Mrs. Writebol were doing was cowardly! This is what is wrong with modern American evangelicalism, it’s nothing more than the “Cult of ‘Merica.” Most couldn’t care less about the souls of others, as long as they are comfortable!

  4. I don’t understand the criticism of caring for someone who has given her life to care for others? We look at the cost of flying them back here for medical care but what would it take to get you to potentially sacrifice your life in service to others? These people, with no fanfare and little remunerations, have given their lives to help others body and soul. They didn’t go to escape western civilization. Also, the money that was spent to bring them back was not from the government coffers but from private donations of other Christians who love the people in Africa and those selfless workers who have committed to live in the face of danger to care for them.

    If the donors to that ministry complain on how their money was spent they have a right to. But it would be my guess that most of them would gladly donate more to care for these two missionaries and I suspect that this has moved in the hearts of many more to give. It is difficult for people to understand the motives of one who believes in Christ either in the going across the globe to help others or in the giving sacrificially to see people go. I for one applaud the missionaries for going and I applaud the ministry for taking care of those who go!

    If you have personally donated to SIM and feel that they should have left their missionaries to die then write them, complain, and withdraw your donation. But if you are looking in from the outside then ask yourself what you would do if it was your son, daughter, or spouse. Would you love them enough to sacrificially give to care for them? I know I would and I think you would too.

  5. If you are arguing over the cost of missions work, then you miss the point of the mission.

  6. One of my friends grew up on the ELWA compound, where these missionaries are working. It is the only effective treatment center for Ebola in Liberia since the outbreak. As I understand it, the life expectancy of victims seen at that hospital is a around 40%, while the life expectancy of the rest of the victims is around 10%.

    My friend and his parents now work at the US office for SIM. His dad may travel to ELWA soon to help expand the hospital’s infrastructure. It is not a hard decision for SIM or for him about whether to go. Yet, it is a challenging situation, because of the potential costs of more evacuations.

    If I were still single, I know that I’d be willing to be in the midst of the outbreak. I’d even hesitate to be evacuated if I got infected. Now that my wife depends on me, I don’t know if I would go at all (assuming I had the right skills), and I would certainly want the best treatment possible if I got infected.

    It is a very complex situation. The most foolish thing one could do is make snap judgments about the actions of those in the middle of it. So, I would say that the commentator mentioned earlier is quite the fool. 🙂

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