by Don Richardson, published by Regal Books
When I urged them to make peace, they replied, “Tuan, you just don’t understand!”
This is a story of the struggle to communicate the gospel effectually to a culture that glorified treachery and violence, to whom Judas Iscariot was the hero, and Jesus the cleverly deceived victim of his treachery.
The author and his wife went in 1962 as missionaries to the Sawi, a tribe of head-hunting cannibals who idealized treachery so highly that an attempt to unite against common enemies (other cannibalistic tribes) failed because the opportunity to betray a friend presented itself. The author and his wife discovered that God had preserved a concept in their culture that opened the door to the gospel, the concept of the “peace child.”
This is not a book for everybody. There is a lot of graphic description of violence and things that are not edifying. We found that by reading as a family with a lot of selective omission of details, we were able to enjoy an exciting drama of the Lord’s power and resourcefulness in attacking the “gates of hell” in a culture long bound by the devil. Though we aren’t in agreement with a number of teachings held by the author, we were encouraged by examples of prayerful dependence on the Lord and the power of God working to change hearts and enable people to genuinely forgive their enemies, and by the thought that God has preserved in every culture some means of communicating the gospel effectually.
“So also if anyone tempts us to do evil, we should say to him, ‘Look here! God has placed the Spirit of His Peace Child, Jesus, within me. If that Peace Child had died or gone away and left me, I might be free to do the evil you suggest. But He is not dead! Nor has He deserted me! He still lives within me to keep me in the way of goodness, and His hand is strong! I am not free to do the evil you advise!’ ”