Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Happenings: Jim Elliot speaks about foundations of martyrdom

The videos & interviews about 5 missionaries killed by the Aucas are all well & good. But have we yet heard what really gave those men the strength to sacrifice their lives? A vintage recording of martyr Jim Elliot HIMSELF, speaking fairly shortly before his death, shines some light ...

We can hear it from Elliot's own mouth, rather than needing to look only to second-hand information, which, no matter how well intended, is bound to get somewhat shaded by other people's thoughts and perceptions.

A very key point about the confrontation between Aucas and those five Missionaries, is that those five men had guns available. At least two of the missionaries were definitely carrying guns at the time of the attack. And they had plenty of time to use those guns against the small group of spear-carrying tribesmen.

It's fine and admirable to have good intentions and a desire to even give one's life in order to try and reach out to a tribe of people who don't yet know the Love of the Lord and what He's done for them.

But Bear longed to know what gave these five men the strength and power to continue to stand under those circumstances and not use those guns? What gave them power to watch each other being stabbed, over some minutes, and still not shoot those Aucas?

It's known and recorded that one of the missionaries fired a gun that was pointed away from the Aucas, as a warning. So obviously, he could have shot them, and had plenty of time to do so. Yet he did not.

Bear puts herself in their shoes. Tribesmen coming at Bear with spears. Best friends and brothers in the Lord being brutally stabbed, one by one. Blood and guts flowing everywhere. (The tribesmen had to actually cross back and forth across the river to reach all the missionaries -- they weren't killed all at the same time.) Bear has a loaded gun in hand. Bear shoots it over her head as a warning. The tribesmen ignore that warning, and are headed for Bear or one of Bear's brothers in the Lord. There's no time for lengthy prayers and seeking the Lord's will and settling on this one. It's got to be a decision made fast, based on .... what?

Bear's done everything to approach these people in peace. No matter what Bear does now, someone is going to die. It's either brothers/friends in the Lord, or the tribes people that are unfairly and senselessly slaughtering those brothers with spears.

Wouldn't God want the Bear to defend her friends under these circumstances?

At one point in the movie, "The End of the Spear", that documents some of the events surrounding the death of the missionaries; Steve, the young son of Nate Saint (one of the five missionaries) asks his dad, "If the Waodani [Aucas] attack, will you defend yourselves? Will you use your guns?"

Nate replies, "Son, we can't shoot the Waodani. They are not ready for Heaven. We are."

At another point in the movie, Steve, now an adult, speaks again, telling someone, "No one took my father's life -- He gave it."

Again, this is all well and good.

But still; where did Nate Saint and Jim Elliot and the others get that power to stand under such a long, drawn out attack, and still lay down their lives?

Ideals are wonderful things. Christian talk and quoting of Scriptures is great stuff. And Bear also knows that the Holy Spirit is there to help and strengthen in time of need.

But Bear suspected there was still more to be found in answer to that very big But how did they actually accomplish it under those circumstances? question ...

And Bear believes she found a large part of that answer in this old vintage recording of Jim Elliot speaking. He doesn't specifically say, "I'm going to walk out these doors and soon become a martyr for my Lord, and, with gun in hand, give my life and those of my friends even when facing a prolonged and deadly attack by spears." But anyone who listens to this recording will understand much more how Jim Elliot and the other four drew on that Power beyond themselves to continuously and victoriously stand under such circumstances. It answered so many of Bear's questions.

However, this is no Hollywood version ... This comes from the actual lips of the real person ... And it's not watered down, or made light or dramatized with pictures for the listeners. This is not "milk" this guy's preaching, as he talks about the Resurrection and what it means in the life of every Christian, but solid "meat" ... Bear has listened to it several times, and will likely listen many times more, eventually. This man's words and voice and heart give life to the Scriptures in a way seldom heard in modern-day life.

(NOTE: If you don't see the media player here, you aren't on the Den's Homepage and need to click on Bear's Writing Den and look there for it).

(Also, for anyone who hasn't been following posts at the Den the last couple of Sundays, there's an introduction and several videos and recordings concerning these events and the five missionaries, all available at these two links: Sunday -- Happenings: The hopes of 5 murdered missionaries fulfilled through the "Power of His Love" and Sunday Happenings: We used to kill each other with spears all the time...)

Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den


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