How Dare Missionaries Seek to Convert? Brooks Buser Answers

An August tweet about an unreached people group ignited a storm of criticism. Are missionaries just glorified colonists?

On August 8, 2020, a simple tweet by Brooks Buser, president of Radius International, ignited a firestorm of controversy: “Thank you for the prayers for Amdu people and team. By God’s grace, there are now members of that people group who are reconciled to God, who no longer have their sins counted against them.” Skeptics, atheists, and even professed Christians joined together to denounce the missionaries for having the audacity to proselytize.

This week, Scott Dunford and Alex Kocman ask Brooks: what gives evangelical Christians the right to convert peoples? Are missionaries just glorified colonists stamping out unique cultures with minimal contact with the world—and why or why not?

Brooks and Nina Buser planted a church among the Yembiyembi people in Papua New Guinea. In 2016, they returned to San Diego. Both Brooks and Nina participate in the teaching at Radius International as well as leading and traveling to spread the word about the necessity of training.

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Alex Kocman & Scott Dunford

Alex Kocman is the Director of Communications and Engagement for ABWE. He serves as general editor for Message Magazine and co-hosts The Missions Podcast. After earning his M.A. in Communication and B.S. in Biblical Studies, he served as an online apologetics instructor with Liberty University and a youth pastor in Pennsylvania, where he now resides with his wife and three children. Read his blog or follow him on X/Twitter.

Scott Dunford is the pastor of Western Hills Church in San Mateo, Calif. Previously, Scott served as Vice President of Mobilization and Communications for ABWE and as a missionary in East Asia. Scott graduated from Northland International University (B.A. in Pastoral Studies), earned his M.A. in biblical studies from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, his M.B.A. from Cornerstone University, and is currently enrolled in Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s D.Min. program with an emphasis on missions.