Johann Baegert Addresses More Questions “to the Gentlemen of the Protestant Faith” (2nd of 3)
“How Much More Can We Take from this Baegert Fellow?”
Johann Baegert was a Jesuit missionary who lived among the Guaycura Indians of Baja California. The reader may remember hearing from him in this recent post. In 1771 Baegert wrote a small book, Observations in Lower California (The University of California at Berkeley republished his Observations because of Baegert’s superb scientific and anthropological record of the way of life of the Indians who lived at that time in that part of Mexico. You had read the entire book on line here.)
In Part 3 Chapter Eight Baegert recounts the story of two Jesuit missionaries “who met the fortunate fate of martyrdom,” and in Chapter Nine he directed six questions to “the theologians of Wittenberg and Geneva” who, he said, “were sitting behind the stove” instead of sending missionaries to the non-Christian nations of the world. We are reposting Baegert’s questions, for they seem to me biblical and reasonable. We posted Baegert’s first two questions here. His second pair of questions follows below.
Some Questions Directed to the Gentlemen of the Protestant Faith and Particularly to Protestant Ministers. By Johann Baegert
Third: I shall not speak of the hundred other prophecies concerning the conversions of heathens. (They would all have to be false if it depended upon Protestants) . . But, may I ask, what of the particular prophecy of Christ in Matthew 24 that, before the end of the world arrives, the Gospel shall be preached everywhere and to all nations? It is certain that if, on the one hand, the Protestants have the only true Gospel and religion in their possession, and on the other hand, their preachers will not do better in the future than they have done in the past two and a half centuries in preaching the Gospel among the heathen, then the Judgment Day will never dawn. They want no part in the work of converting heathen and, to all appearances, will do even less of it in the future. Among them, indifference and tolerance for all religions and superstitions, including theism and atheism, are increasing from day to day. These deformities, which originated among the Protestants, are nothing but “mali corvi malum ovum,” that is, evil fruit from an evil tree. Of course these gentlemen know quite well how to scatter their seed on the already plowed and seeded field of the Catholic Church . . . They catch the fish which are near to the shore . . . yet eagerly avoid sailing on the high, raging sea of idolatry . . . in Canada, China, Japan, Malabaria [India], or in the land of the Caffres. For such work they have neither courage nor imagination.
Fourth: I am asking you, What do you think of Christ’s saying in Luke 11: “He who is not with Christ is against Him, and he who does not help Him to gather, scatters and destroys”? The Protestant gentlemen, their clergy as well as their worldly authorities, truly do not help Christ bring all the pagans into the fold of the Church. They let the good shepherd sweat and run, but they themselves do not lift a foot to lead the erring sheep on the right path and to unite them under the shepherd’s staff of Christ. Their pilots and seamen have been trying to find a northern route to the Orient for almost two hundred years, so that their merchant ships may reach Japan and China in less time; but their preachers do not search for any ways to penetrate into Abyssinia, Tibet, the Great and Lesser Tartary, there to enlighten age-old heretics or to baptize idolaters or other unbelievers. What conclusion may be drawn from that? As was said before, and as Christ Himself has said, the Protestants are not for Christ; therefore they are against Him. In no way do they help to gather the heathen into His Church …..
Blincoe: Dear Reader, how do you feel about Baegert’s questions? Are they Biblically sound? Are they reasonable?
Next: Johann Baegert Addresses Even More Questions “to the Gentlemen of the Protestant Faith” (3rd of 3). The “Enviable Synthesis” that enabled Catholic Missionaries to Sail in Great Numbers to the Regions Beyond.