Early missionaries awarded all adults who participated in baptism, Sunday worship or the school system with a pinch of tobacco. The Fathers of the Sacred Heart used this method in particular to baptize hundreds of individuals knowing that the Protestants would soon be arriving. In the village of Ayam, for example, five hundred people were baptized in haste as soon as Protestant plans to set up camp were learned of. The Bishop of Merauke, Father Hermann Tillemans MSC, was known for showing up in a given village, baptizing two or three people and then declaring the village Catholic.
According to the Crosiers, there was nothing original about this; Protestants followed the same procedures though they contest this.
Protestant missionaries, however, used different evangelization strategies. Missionaries trained in missionary medicine used incentives more focused on medical care, while prohibiting tobacco and alcohol consumption. The pernicious aura of the Asmat region certainly played a role in this eagerness to stop headhunting 3. The practices of dancing, drumming, sculpting and participating in enduring rituals, thought to be closely linked to headhunting, were banned between and , and the Asmat region was closed off from the rest of the neighbouring regions.
Missionaries remain convinced today that enduring rituals were still held in the jungle, far from military settlements. In a similar vein, the government destroyed whole villages to punish increasingly frequent headhunting raids Frazier Alphonse Sowada OSC, the first Crosier to graduate in anthropology, was appointed as the first bishop of the diocese of Agats-Asmat in As an anthropologist and a missionary, he faced a dilemma: how to transform Asmat society without ruining it completely? Auction sales were organized to benefit both museums.
According to Alphonse Sowada, the neighbouring Kamoro, Mimika, Muyu, and Awyu people, whose artistic production was comparable to that of the Asmat in the s, are currently nothing but destroyed cultures, as they did not have people like the Crosiers to fight for their preservation.
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Like inculturation, the goal of contextualization is to encourage target populations to adopt Christianity Zorn This criticism applies to inculturation as it is carried out by the Crosiers, which puts value on the material relics of headhunting. For the Protestants, promoting syncretism is a form of heresy because its presence in Asmat society shows that Satan is still operating within it.
The Protestants also accuse the Catholics of establishing a cult of the ancestors that was not present before their arrival. They are not anthropologists — even if some of them say they are — but their knowledge of the Asmat language enabled them to determine which cultural practices would be compatible with the gospel. For example, one frequently hears headhunting songs in a Catholic church, but Protestants started translating them and decided that such songs do not belong in church.
Even if Protestant ministers appreciate carvings and sometimes collect them, it is unusual to see any element, such as shields or ancestor bisj poles, in the church. These objects are obviously related to headhunting as they formerly reminded the Asmat to go on raids to avenge their dead Zegwaard While Catholics are interested in culture for itself, Protestants study it in order to be able to select what is appropriate for Christianity and encourage believers to give up what does not please God.
The third volume of the principal thesis on Fredrik Franson is worth considering. The Indirect Philanthropical Evangelization Method is designed for societies considered resistant to Christianity, such as the Asmat, and envisions medicine as the main instrument of conversion. Missionaries provide the know-how and the services needed by the society in order to solicit a positive response rather than resistance when they introduce the population to the Scriptures.
Franson noted promising results in a number of societies although the physical condition of his patients was sometimes too poor for them to carry on apostolic activity. Before going to university, future Protestant missionaries first reflect on which job would be useful to their vocation, and then choose to become doctors, nurses, or linguists with additional training in missionary medicine. First contact between Protestants and the Asmat people occurred in the context of a vaccination campaign against measles carried out by the Dutch government, whereas for the Catholics it was with the arrival of the first missionary to come to Asmat in , Father G.
Above anything else, Protestant missionaries dedicate themselves to medicine and Catholics to censuses, baptism and schools, which the Protestants view as less significant. Thus, since the mids, Protestants have primarily been perceived as doctors and Catholics as priests. Another factor involved in this difference of perception of missionaries by the Asmat is that Protestant missionaries prefer to avoid cultural mixing, so they refuse to be adopted by Asmat families and to intervene in matters such as child delivery or sex education.
Their role, being outside Asmat society, appears to be more precisely defined than that of the Catholics, which is more diffuse. In order to understand the possible reasons for this misunderstanding, we will briefly discuss how disease and misfortune are dealt with in Asmat society.
Since then, he has been called Abraham. From to , he led the local Protestant Church and then resigned in favour of his sons. Because his two wives cannot stay together without fighting, they live in separate houses. Like the other Asmat Christians, Abraham takes an active part in rituals prohibited by his Church, such as the spirit masks ritual or the ancestor bisj poles ritual. American ministers, the founders of the Protestant Church in Asmat, say those who behave like this have two gods.
But Abraham does not care. He simply agrees that he has two gods, and so what? The eeram is a spell with multiple facets that can be taught during male initiation; today, it is mostly used for therapeutic purposes. Formerly eeram were also used to ensure victory in headhunting. The Asmat people begin to cry and wail as soon as damur occurs, i. Protestant missionaries tried to discourage Asmat from wailing directly after a loss of consciousness — e.
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Moreover, they had no interest in the creation of the world because it is not in the Asmat myths. They did not feel concerned by these two basic arguments for Christianity, which caused huge concern among the missionary community. He is able to see the recent spirits of the dead and he can also perform exorcisms.
He is sometimes accused of having sexual relations with evil spirits dat in exchange for their support. The most widespread technique used to chase disease out of the body consists in making vertical, tightly spaced cuts ofe of approximately one centimetre, arranged in lines one above the other. The skin is cut with a shell used for lime, chewed with betel nut, sprayed on carvings.
The cuts are then rubbed with an ointment in order to create an infection which is believed to expel the disease. Made out of leaves, bark, wood, roots, jungle fruits or lianas, this ointment is heated before application and is replaced if the first ointment fails to work. These treatments remain visible on the neck and on the face of many villagers, whose skin is literally covered with burns and cuts, each wound having a distinct word in the Asmat language.
This is also the reason for rubbing the body with big nettle leaves, a remedy particularly efficient against tiredness, headache and skin diseases. This belief is perceived by the missionaries as a lack of medical knowledge. Guthrie's memoirs gives a personal look at one man's relationship with God and how that guided him throughout his life. Wherever he went, he had the ability to look through outward appearances and connect with people, all people, regardless of age, race, circumstances or religious belief.
His journey begins in the hills and hollows of Missouri and Illinois. There, he transforms from a church skipping, pool-hall haunting youth into a somewhat over-serious young minister. No stranger to hard times, his story reveals occasions of near tragedy and despair averted through prayer. In clear and vivid details he recounts healings and other miracles which could only have been brought about by a loving God.
Although Bill believed in miracles and the power of prayer, he also believed in the value of hard work. He sawed wood, pounded nails, and did any manner of hard labor to ensure that people had a place to worship. Sometimes people would stay with him all day and were often converted after one sermon. Some days we went from house to house, conversing with the people on the things of the kingdom, and by such a course were instrumental in convincing many of the truth. I have known as many as twenty persons baptized in one day who have been convinced on such occasions.
As Elder Kimball and his companions administered baptism, scores of additional prospective converts were found. The Holy Spirit can work a convincing effect through congregations of people. One such event occurred during the mission of Dan Jones, a Welshman who served in the nineteenth century. As noted previously, the word and the Spirit, when used together, can effect the convincing power. Thus, the word of God including, and especially, the Book of Mormon is the fundamental text and message that leads mankind to conversion.
Maxwell taught:. For all who heed it, the Book of Mormon is like the flinging open of long-closed doors on what was assumed to be a complete canon of scripture.
The Joy and Suffering of Christian Ministry | Dr. Paul T. P. Wong's Autobiography
How sharp-edged that promise! Now we need an increasing number who will use the Book of Mormon to become committed to Christ. We need to be convinced and committed. Indeed, the simplicity of the gospel is powerful. When accompanied by the influence of the Spirit, the first principles of the gospel are persuasive. Effective missionaries have always based their preaching on these principles.
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- The Spirit to Convince Mankind.
Kimball and his companions, during their mission to England in , began their efforts with a visit to the brother of Joseph Fielding one of the missionaries , a minister in Preston. Others bore testimony of the restored gospel. Considered by many to be one of the greatest missionaries of all time, Elder Woodruff worked so closely with the Spirit that over six hundred people were baptized during his relatively short stay. Of all the topics Elder Woodruff could have chosen to preach, it is noteworthy that this model missionary centered his teachings on the first principles of the gospel and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
Some gospel students desire miracles or signs instead of the convincing power of the Spirit, mistaking such evidences as more forceful proofs of truth. Elder George A.