Wheaton Scrubs “Savage” from Plaque

In the latest example of “evangelicals” who are following vain secular thinking instead of God’s Word, Wheaton College has removed a plaque commemorating the 1956 martyrdom of five of its graduates because the word “savage” is now considered offensive (“Wheaton College scrubs ‘savage,’ The Spectator, Mar. 17, 2021). The plaque, which was presented in 1957 by the student body class of 1949, stated, “Go and Preach the Gospel … For the Love of Christ Constraineth. Dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Edward McCully, President of the class of 1949, and James Elliot, likewise an outstanding athlete and leader. Because of the Great Commission, Ed and Jim, together with Nathanael Saint, Roger Youderian, and Peter Fleming, went to the mission field. Willing for ‘anything–anywhere regardless of cost,’ they chose the jungles of Ecuador inhabited by the Auca Indians. For generations all strangers were killed by these savage Indians. After many days of patient preparation and devout prayer, the missionaries made the first friendly contact known to history with the Aucas. On January 8, 1956, the five missionaries were brutally slain–martyrs for the love of God.” The new “woke” Wheaton College is far too worldly wise to use the term “savage” to describe lying murderers of peaceful missionaries, even though it is a perfectly apt description by even the most modern dictionary definition. It means “lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings, fierce, ferocious, wild, uncultivated, malicious” (Merriam-Webster). Wheaton president Philip Ryken says, “Recently, students, faculty, and staff have expressed concern about language on the plaque that is now recognized as offensive. Specifically, the word ‘savage’ is regarded as pejorative and has been used historically to dehumanize and mistreat indigenous peoples around the world.” But the missionaries were not dehumanizing or mistreating the Aucas; they loved them sacrificially and tried to warn them of eternal judgment and preach the good news of Jesus Christ to them. As for the Aucas of that day, the Bible itself uses terms such as “haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things … without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful … with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways … There is no fear of God before their eyes … children of disobedience … children of wrath … having no hope, and without God in the world” (Romans 1:29-31; 3:13, 14, 15, 16, 18; Ephesians 2:2, 3, 12). The good news is that the college has appointed a “task force to review the wording of the plaque and make a specific recommendation by May 1 for its careful rewording and replacement.” It will be interesting to see what they come up with to describe murdering savages inoffensively.

(Friday Church News Notes, March 26, 2021, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143)