Imagine you are a people group that has been victimized by the religiously justified acts of annihilation, rape, systematic murder, and plunder of your people and lands. Such atrocities were done in the name and under the banner of your tormentor’s “god.”
Would you come to believe in such a religion? Would you worship their god? Would you value their Scriptures?
For First Nation people, this is the paradox of the Christian faith. It is a faith not owned by the Westerners that destroyed First nation lands, ravaged their women, murdered their people, and took what was theirs, but it was a faith wielded by these invaders with devastating intent.
As we think about the history of this land, the unsettling truth of Western European’s pillage, rape, and destruction of the native peoples and this land, it feels impossible to separate this legacy from their religious justification for such atrocities.
The history of the sacred text and subjugated people groups is quite troubling. Some might be familiar with the history of the Slave Bible, which was a carefully edited version of the Scriptures given to the enslaved population but with the removal of passages that might hint at freedom or equality.
We sat down with Terry Wildman, who serves as the Director of Spiritual Growth and Leadership Development for Native InterVarsity. Terry has led the translation, editing, and project management of the First Nations Version.
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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy