The White Man in the Suit

A few questions:

1. Why is he wearing a suit?

2. Why are all those people sitting around staring off into space?

3. Can his wife talk?

4. How exactly does one go “soulwinning” in Africa?

5. What did West Africa do to deserve having a Hyles-Anderson college started in it?

159 thoughts on “The White Man in the Suit”

  1. Ahhhh. Why is he wearing a suit? Because you can’t spread the gospel without a KJV Bible and American Fundamentalist culture.

    After all, they aren’t really saved if they still act like natives of their own country. He will have the converts singing English-language hymns in no time!

    1. When I lived in an Inupiat Eskimo village for 2 years, we attended the local IFB church pastored by a wonderful man (still one of my best friends). The IFB hymns had been translated into Inupiaq, and were sung enthusiastically.

      Having said that, the pastor in this video does have beautiful children. But the suit, the speechless wife, the children who have ZERO choice in where they are raised, all make me sad. And it saddens me to know that rtgmath is right. The local people will be taught a form of godliness: pray the prayer, men dress in shirts and ties, women in dresses, and children like Little House on the Prairie. And POOF you go to heaven when you die.

      1. I appreciate hearing about the work of your friend in Alaska. There *are* some people who “get it.”

        The problem is that they are all too few.

        When I was young I collected books on missionary stories. They often talked about the great trials the missionaries endured for Jesus, the persecution by the local peoples (“natives”), and how eventually their faith won out because a lot of people came to believe the gospel.

        But the most enduring work of foreign missions was never mentioned — colonialism. Foreign governments used missionaries to clear the opposition, to introduce different cultural ideas so they could go in, rule, and gain resources. Once the colony was established, the government supported the missionary effort to spread the gospel of submission to authority.

        And there were worse things.

        Ever wonder why the Chinese government is so opposed to Christian missions? Because the missionaries who went to China were duped into paving the way for drug merchants, the introduction of opium to the Chinese people, and the promoting of authority structures which gained their support from the British (including arms dealers). The Chinese saw the associations these missionaries had with people that had caused riot and trouble.

        A lot of the missionaries had gone to China without any knowledge of language or culture. So when they needed help, they all too often wound up taking help from bad people, who used the missionaries’ contacts with the local people to further smuggling operations.

        The Boxer Rebellion was a Chinese nationalistic purge of corrupt officials and missionaries whose loyalty was to England and other world powers. The great powers came together to stomp it out and establish their own rulers in China. The subsequent occupation locked in Christianity’s association with foreign occupation, theft and looting of the nation’s treasures, and corruption in government.

        It is a pity that Christian missions has allowed itself to be used to enrich the wealthy and enslave people they were ostensibly serving. But it has happened over and over again.

        1. Last year, I read “Unfamiliar Fishes,” by Sarah Vowell. It’s about how U.S. missionaries and their children played a key role in the foreign conquest and cultural genocide of Hawaii.

          Much of the bad stuff that happened to the Hawaiians probably would have happened anyway. But the missionary families were usually on the wrong side of any crisis.

        2. Dear Christian Socialist,

          You do have another socialist here. Or at least one in the making.

          Me.

          To be sure, I certainly have changed over the years! I expect the process will continue. Where most adults get more conservative as they get older, I find myself getting more liberal.

        3. Oh, I should have mentioned–the Orthodox Church has a different take on the rebellion, one that shows their prejudices and what not. Still, I love the icon!

      2. Bless you, there are some Baptists who get it. So many of them and their ilk are still womping on about Native Alaskan heraldry is demonic dance masks are satanic destroy all evidence that you were ever anything but a pretend white person blar blar blar.

        And as with Hawaii, American missionaries were co-opted as assistants in destroying the Native way of life. Put a kid in a government school, forbid him to see his parents, beat him when he speaks his own language, make it clear that you think he’d do his own sister if given the chance, and tell him it’s for God . . . yeah, very holy.

        1. Jenny, I think you’re aware of the book “Alaska” by Sheldon Jackson (1880). It’s the archetypical depiction of native cultures as depraved and demonic, and the blueprint for demolition of those cultures. It is long out of print, but the Title Wave bookstore in Anchorage found me a copy. It makes interesting, and horrific, reading even now.

          Jackson was a Presbyterian minister, but it was about the same with Baptist missionaries.

          Jackson started a boarding “school” for native children where their native languages and dress were banned and they were compelled to work about 14 hours a day (I’m not sure of that number, but it was something like that) with a token amount of actual education. When a federal court declared that parents could take their children out of that school if they chose, 100% (every single one) of the students left the school and went home to their villages.
          Today, there is a school named for Jackson in Fairbanks, and there was a Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka until 2007.

        2. Jenny Islander – your statement hits very, very much to home for a Canadian. From the 1800s right up until 1996 (!!!), Canadian churches, with the full support and enforcing power of the Canadian government, operated ‘Residential Schools’ – they stole First Nations children from their families, beat them if they used their own languages, abused them horribly, and led to the deaths of AT LEAST 4,000 children, all in the name of God. http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/01/03/at-least-4000-aboriginal-children-died-in-residential-schools-commission-finds/
          That First Nations culture still exists and persists is a testament to how stinking strong First Nations people are.
          I’m a criminology student, I’ve studied forensics, I casually work with human bones. I have a strong stomach for unfortunate things. But a book that featured the retelling of some people’s experiences in Residential Schools is the only book I’ve had to stop reading because it bothered me so much.
          Christians have a sick, sick history. And dear God, so do Canadians. And it’s not just history, either.

      3. While I agree 100 percent with the gist of your comment, do any kids have a choice in where they’re raised? I sure didn’t as a child when we were being carted all over the globe courtesy of the USAF, and my kids don’t, either. They live where we live.

        1. It’s not the children who choose; it’s their parents (and sometimes other family members). One of the many very difficult choices parents have to make.

          My parents thought they were choosing a good place for us to grow up and go to school. I didn’t experience it that way, though.

        2. I was referencing this comment: “the children who have ZERO choice in where they are raised, all make me sad. ”

          I guess I just don’t know why that particularly issue would cause sadness since it’s essentially the way most families (probably not all) operate. No one ever asked my opinion before uprooting me and moving me out of the country or across the country. And while I don’t plan on moving across the country any time soon, if we felt that that was best for our family, the kids probably wouldn’t have much of a say (although considering their ages, I would encourage input on their part).

          There are plenty of things that fundy parents get wrong, wrong, wrong. I just don’t know that this is one of them.

        3. Dear A.,
          I was remembering my own childhood. Once dad was “called to preach” and attended BJU he moved us to a different state average every 3 years. I hated it. To this day, I’m a man without a country. Maybe some kids it wouldn’t bother, but it bothered me a lot. I have no friends from childhood, because I always had to move away. No choice about it. It was God’s will.

        4. I was an Air Force Brat. I never, ever, finished a school year where I started.

          So I have no childhood friends, either. I understand how you feel.

        5. Oh, I didn’t say it didn’t bother me as a child, but I honestly didn’t know better. Everyone I knew also moved regularly, so it seemed completely normal. I didn’t even know that there were some kids who actually knew their grandparents and cousins until I was a teen. ๐Ÿ™‚

          I guess there’s a difference between the government telling you to move (or an employer) and a God you can’t see or hear telling your parents to move yet again for a reason that may not make sense to you.

        6. A., I’m probably a good deal older than you. I’ve found both from my own experience and from talking to my peers that as we age some of us have an inborn desire to get back to our geographical roots. I think of it as the “being gathered to his fathers” syndrome.

    2. “Why is he wearing a suit? Because you canโ€™t spread the gospel without a KJV Bible and American Fundamentalist culture.”

      Done in one. I remember when I used to think that way, and now find it unbelievable that it’s the mindset of so many churches and fundy mission organizations. I’m extremely thankful that the [fundy-lite] missionary I visited in Brazil when I was in my early 20’s didn’t have that mindset, and ranted against those who did.

      1. Engish Breakfast tea, preferably Ty-Phoo, is the morning drink for me!

        Only a teaspoon or two of milk is enough.

        Yup, I’m an elitist leebrul Democrat!

        1. British joke:
          Q: Why do radicals drink only herbal teas?
          A: Because all proper tea is theft.

        2. I’m a hot tea in the morning novice, I’ve started on Yorkshire, two sugars, no milk. It may change.

  2. I wonder what the subject was of the the young doctors dissertation, and where he earned it. (he said with a straight face, tongue firmly planted in cheek)

    1. “Missionary Style” reports that the degree was conferred by Schaap (presumably at HAC), so obviously, his dissertation title was “Observations on the Texture of Jack Schaap’s Buttocks, As Measured With the Author’s Lips.”

  3. Q & A:

    1. Why is he wearing a suit?

    He went to Hyles-Anderson College, so he doesn’t have enough literacy to interpret a weather report, nor enough initiative to figure out what to wear for himself.

    2. Why are all those people sitting around staring off into space?

    They’re waiting for the AR-15 raffle they were promised after the meeting.

    3. Can his wife talk?

    Not if she doesn’t want a beating.

    4. How exactly does one go โ€œsoulwinningโ€ in Africa?

    It has to do with collecting the subject’s hair and nail parings and then burying them in a sacred grove on a moonlit night along with certain herbs.

    5. What did West Africa do to deserve having a Hyles-Anderson college started in it?

    Maintained a lax immigration policy.

    1. Addendum to #4:
      … which is far less magical a way of thinking than getting someone to pray a canned “sinner’s prayer,” and then declaring that you have saved that person for eternity.

    2. so he doesnโ€™t have enough literacy to interpret a weather report

      LOL. Reminds me of Mrs. Jellyby in Bleak House, tirelessly laboring to bring woolen waistcoats and coffee cultivation to the poor natives of the mythical African country of Borioboola-gha.

  4. Ah yes, so many that we ran into on deputation had the “westernization is the only form of Christianity” syndrome and this guy looks no different. His poor wife seems quite “out” of it – another frequent side effect of Fundy mission life-style….

    1. These kids are what, in their early 20s? And they are trapped in a country they don’t comprehend, with two children already and another on the way (see “The Poisonwood Bible”). Mostly, I feel sorry for them.

        1. Yay! Then they can use them to make balloon animals for the African children!

          Just think how their little spirits will be lifted high.

      1. They have given up everything for the “call” – now whether it was her choice to have 3 kids on the field or not is up for debate but you can be sure he isn’t doing anything to stop it…..

        Its not that I feel sorry for them, but that I feel sorry for the people they are attempting to “reach” by placing them under the bondage of fundyism versus the bondage-freeing love of Christ.

        1. Accounting or business management. At HAC he was an administrative something or other, not a teacher

  5. He was my dorm sup in college for 2 years. Married up……has a sweet wife that he doesn’t deserve. Schaap conferred a doctorate upon Sarver so that he could look important as he started HAC-WA

  6. Is it time for another article on “honorary degrees” yet? Please?

    Seriously though, as one who lives in an area with lots of dairies, the only response to this kind of thing is, “moo.”

        1. One of my faves, too.
          My wife and I have it down to where when one of us interrupts the other, we just say “Moo.”

  7. 5. Ghana definitely does not deserve a hyles Anderson college, but if u lived in Ghana and you had no other options, possibly unemployed , wanted to meet some foreign friends, and work on your English skills, let your kids have an “American” education, then you might just attend this cult, I mean church…

    1. In Africa, sometimes the alternative to this kind of “education” is no education.
      And in some countries, Christians (especially ministers) tend to have higher status than average citizens.
      So it’s not that hard to understand why people might attend this “church” and “college” when their options are limited.

  8. His poor wife looks absolutely miserable. Did anyone notice her making the little girl turn around. It’s like an IFB version of the Stepford Wives.

  9. There is also a Bob Jones Memorial Bible College in the Philippines, name for Bob Jones, Jr. Why take the gospel to a foreign land and point people to a fundamentalist Christian personality in U.S.?

      1. Most are, but some of the Philippine islands have predominantly Muslim populations (called “Moros” in the Philippines), and there are still a few animists way out in the boondocks (a word of Philippine origin, by the way).

  10. 5. What did West Africa do to deserve having a Hyles-Anderson college started in it?

    Everybody knows the answer to that. It’s the curse of Ham, Hay-men?!

    I Just can’t figure out what Korea did…

  11. Dear Mr. Sarvers:

    If that classroom is one of your favorite spots in Africa, you SERIOUSLY need to get out more often.

    Table Mountain, Republic of South Africa
    Nxia Pan National Park, Botswana
    Sossusvlei Dunes, Namibia
    Nyiragongo Volcano, Virunga National Park, Eastern Congo
    Sahara dunes, Morocco
    Mount Mulanje, Malawi
    Lake Malawi, Malawi
    Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe
    Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
    Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

    Christian Socialist

    1. That’s what I noticed the most. I think he was told to sit still and smile throughout the video. He’s not acting like a 7-year-old naturally would, in my opinion.

  12. If the family is healthy and happy as they appear to be, that goes a long way toward making me think these are decent people despite the messed up soteriology and missiology. I wouldn’t want him for a pastor, but he’d make a good neighbor and I’d let my kids play with his is all I’m saying.

    1. How can you tell if the family is happy and healthy by looking at them for a few seconds?

      I mean, they don’t have any visible open sores or missing body parts, but other than that, I don’t know much about their state of health or happiness.

    2. Iโ€™ve only taken a few phycology/counseling classes, but the wife’s smile looked forced to me.
      I hope I’m wrong, and that they are happy (I think the boy might be). However, in that brand of fundamentalism, the dress code includes your face. Smiles are required dress.

    3. I know this couple, and they are sweet, sincere Christians. Mr. Sarver wearing a suit is kind of silly, but is by nature a very serious guy and probably wanted to look official.

      1. If Sarver wearing a suit is silly, then dressing the 7 yr old in a suit is even sillier. Why is it that in fundistan kids have to be little adults, and can’t just be kids? This makes me ill.
        the Admiral

  13. Brings back interesting memories of a missions trip I took while I was still in Fundyland. I was on my way out, so I found some problems with what was going on (though please note I did not try to hinder it in any way, just noted to myself).

    1. We were required to wear long pants for everything. Sunday we had to wear a tie. In Africa. Though the weather was nice, some of the things we did were more difficult to do in long pants.

    2. accurately describes me during Fundy church. Especially the guy in white on the left, interested to see if anything was gonna happen for a minute, then just starts playing on his phone.

    4. The way we did it was to invite a bunch of kids to a vbs to say a magical prayer, and if they didn’t want to, coerce them subtly their sins were bad and everyone has done it.

    5. I didn’t know there was more than one. [shudder]

    To top it all off, there was the most awkward talk I and about 7 other guys had ever been given by the “head missionary” aka Grand Poobah Of Life (he wasn’t the on location missionary, but the one in charge of Africa for the missions group). I don’t wanna go into detail, but I’ll just say “Onan”. While on a missions trip.

      1. Somewhere in my boxes of memories I have a pamphlet written by the founder of the Bible institute I attended. It’s called, “The Sin That No One Preaches About.” Yes, it’s about that evil villain Master Bater. They handed them out to all the students. That was 25 yrs. ago, but from memory this is my summary of the plot: Never shake hands with Master Bater. He means you harm.

        1. Ironic how the sin that no one preaches about is the one apparently everybody preaches about. Typical dorm sup, Tony Miller, Jim Berg, camp split service; it was like step 1 of every counseling session.

        2. I find it fascinating that I don’t ever recall being warned about the evils of Master Bater during the dorm meetings or the segregated camp services.

        3. BG, on the (very long) bus ride back from camp, I had a boy ask me exactly how girls “did that.”

          I just told him, “We use our hands.” ๐Ÿ˜›

          I think he was disappointed with my response.

        4. Ok, here I COULD link the video of that scene in American Pie where What’s Her Name mentions her unorthodox use of a flute at summer camp, but out of consideration for the more modest readers of SFL I’ll refrain. Let me just say that in my (rather limited but fully investigated) experience, the girls should have received the pamphlet just as the boys did. ๐Ÿ™‚

        5. Dr. J: He was hoping for a live demonstration.
          (Insert joke about “hands on” learning here.)

        6. as long as master baiter washed his hands afterwards I think it’s rude to refuse a hand shake

      2. Yes, I seem to remember the Dorm Sup calling a meeting at night to talk about such things.

        Of course, it wasn’t the act of coitus interruptus that got Onan judged. It was the fact that he didn’t want to father children that wouldn’t be his, but would represent his dead brother. But as usual, where sex is involved, people tend to focus on the wrong things.

        1. My pastor actually preached on Onan – or rather, thank God, he preached on Tamar. And skimmed over the ooky bits, focussing on the idea that in that society, it SUCKED to be a widow, and these men were trying to cheat her out of the protection she was due, and that what she did WAS righteous, even though it seems crazy to us right now. And how this humbling experience changed Judah into a decent man who was willing to sacrifice himself for the rest of his family when they all went to Joseph. And it was actually really cool.
          But I like the idea that the sin that Onan did was being a doorknob to Tamar. He used her. Just used her. And didn’t give her what was due to her. The creep. I’m glad he’s dead ๐Ÿ˜›

        2. Francine River’s book on Tamar in her Lineage of Grace series highlighted that. The idea that this experience probably changed Judah, influencing him to be the one who manned up to offer himself in Benjamin’s place in Egypt, was new to me but definitely made sense.

        1. Heh, wrote that before I read rtgmath’s contribution above. I could have just said “Yup.”

      3. Oh thank God for SFL and Monty Python. I hadn’t seen that clip in over 25 years. Best laugh I’ve had in days. I will be rewatching The Meaning of Life again very soon.
        the Admiral

        1. Now that song is stuck in my head. Oh well, it’s a welcome break from the usual CCM earworms.

  14. 2. Why are all those people sitting around staring off into space?

    To hazard a guess, it is because they were not asked for permission to photograph or video them. They were also not asked to participate.

    There is a cultural trait that one should always ask if one wants to photograph. So if he did not ask or invite, he was acting rudely. And he probably doesn’t have a clue. Had he asked their permission, or invited them to participate, they would probably have been enthusiastic, showing their support. As it was, they may simply be embarrassed for him, or offended by his rudeness.

    Instead of representing Hyles-Anderson College, he should adopt Paul’s model of being all things to all men. With the people of Ghana, he should be a person of Ghana, understanding them and the things they see as important.

  15. “1. Why is he wearing a suit?”

    Because a suit is the secular symbol of power. It’s what powerful men of the world wear (CEO’s, politicians, high-level government agents) and hence is the most desired and appreciated attire in circles that worship Authority. At least that’s my take on it.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen an IFB power figure wearing a casual sport jacket with a knit shirt or turtleneck and cotton pants. It’s always the Suit of Power. I remember at PCC that MoGs and MoGs-in-training even obsessed about what *tie* projected power…

    1. In fundyland, we we’re always told to dress up in order to be a testimony to the world. But what if the clothes we were wearing made us look like powerful business people? Isn’t that just another form of worldliness? The people who think that “power suit” just means respect are living in the 1950s mentally.

  16. I had a friend @ BJU who was a Sarver. She was from Texas & had a younger brother who went elsewhere to college. I can’t help but wonder if this is her kin. :/

    Also, I may be projecting, but at times in the video, the missionary’s wife looks as if she’s about to burst into tears. I remember the days of playing piano, teaching children, & helping w/adult classes. Talk about rough. ๐Ÿ™

      1. Oh, you just took me back to when I was doing immigration legal assistance and I had a Nigerian client applying for political asylum.
        The hearing was going fine until one of the witnesses told the judge that my client’s enemies were in communion with evil spirits and had demonic powers. The judge rolled his eyes and denied the asylum application.

        1. In Nigeria, belief in evil demons and their powers is pretty much the default worldview. Not all Nigerians see the world that way, just as some Americans do see the world that way, but it’s not remarkable in West Africa to say seriously that you’re having problems with curses or malevolent spirits.
          The witness just didn’t realize that most Americans of the judicial class have a different frame of reference.

        2. It’s just a pre-modern view of the world.

          Brings to mind of Carl Jung’s writings. Modern thinking may be more strictly true in an empirical sense, but denies human beings the ability to psychologically adjust to the world they live in.

  17. “Can his wife talk?”

    I want to know if she can change her facial expression. My mom always told me that if I made faces like that they would stick that way. Maybe she canโ€™t talk because that smile is stuck.

  18. Answers to questions:

    1A) Because it’s how he was taught by his pope to dress to honor God
    1B) Because he is afraid that if he looks like he has “gone liberal” by trying to “fit in”, churches will drop his suppport

    2) We paid them to be in this video; in retrospect, perhaps we should have had them take a drug test

    3) Yes, but as a missionary’s wife , she knows that she should not talk unless asked a direct question or invited to talk

    4) The same way that his leader told him – door to door the Hyles way (and try not to choke any dogs)

    5A) They lost to Chernobyl for the nuclear reactor
    5B) Nothing; the poor, poor people
    5C) Do they require four years of memorizing the minutia of The Hyles Church Manual

        1. So sad. So sad…My heart breaks that these people memorize the words of a fallen pervert than to memorize the Word of God and know the awesome transforming power of the God of heaven.

        2. To be fair, that video clip is dated 2009, so Schaap wasn’t officially “fallen” yet by then.
          He was pretty obviously already a pervert, though, as expressed in just about every one of his sermons.

        3. Two thoughts here — first, Jack Schaap nothing – talkin’ about Jack Hyles…

          Second, it was clear from anyone listening with an ear to hear that Jack Schaap had some kind of sexual obsession pretty early.

  19. Fundamental Baptist Missions International????

    When I was in fundy circles they railed against the International Mission Board of the SBC.

    They did so on the basis that any missions efforts that were paid for in any other way besides independent local churches was unscriptural.

    Have they changed their minds on this?

    I smell a compromiser!!! Next they’ll be using the 1769 version of the KJV (oh, wait, they already do they just don’t know it).

  20. I see a lot of bitterness here. Is this what Modern Christianity is? Mocking other Christians for the way they look/ dress, speak or dont speak on a minute and a half long video?

    Sounds like a lot of garbage to me.

    This guy is out there doing something. So you dont like his method, look, school he came from… so what.

    He’s got a Book and hes taking it around the world. Hes not in some blog mocking other believers. Maybe you dont like the approach. .. so what are you doing other than spewing bitterness?

    Sounds like a lot of you need to grow up… get over the fact that some overzealous fundy hurt your feelings somewhere in your childhood and move on with life.

    1. Many of us had more than our feelings hurt. Some of us were abused. But don’t let that get in your way Andrew. And calling us bitter? At least be original in your criticism of us.

    2. I prostrate myself before you in humble gratitude, Andrew, for you have set us all on the straight path. If only I had paused for a moment to consider that he has a Book that he is taking around the world, all of my bitterness would have been swept away in a flood of thanksgiving.

      Seriously, though, I try not to make snide remarks about people’s appearance or speech. I usually reserve my snide comments for other matters. Now that I think about it, though, on another thread I have been mocking Bob Gray’s writing style. I’m such a hypocrite. The fires of hell await.

    3. Andrew, it isn’t that he is taking the Book around the world. He is also taking all his cultural baggage with him and operating as if that baggage were the Book.

      Honestly? Hyles-Anderson Bible College there? Suits and ties? American hymns (albeit translated into their language). The King James Version?

      They do not need to equate American Fundamentalism with Christianity. They do not need to think that dressing better will make them more godly. And they need a missionary in his shirt sleeves, getting dirty with them as they labor to make a living. It isn’t about 3 services a week plus visitation. It isn’t about a big auditorium and a raised platform.

      Jesus was God With Us. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. He spoke to people, healed them, and helped them. He didn’t dress differently, ignore their customs and their needs.

    4. “He’s not in some blog mocking other believers. ” – However, if he follows in the footsteps of the majority of IFB preachers I’ve heard, he is in his pulpit mocking other believers though.

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