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Ann Coulter thinks that Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted Ebola and now receives treatment in Atlanta, is an idiot. She has much to say regarding the foolishness of this situation.

Whatever good Dr. Kent Brantly did in Liberia has now been overwhelmed by the more than $2 million already paid by the Christian charities Samaritan’s Purse and SIM USA just to fly him and his nurse home in separate Gulfstream jets, specially equipped with medical tents, and to care for them at one of America’s premier hospitals.

Dr. Brantly’s work in Africa cost too much, and it wasn’t worth the risk. She’s right. It was expensive, and it was risky. She also correctly notes that there’s much work to be done in America. Why did he have to go to Liberia?

About 15,000 people are murdered in the U.S. every year. More than 38,000 die of drug overdoses, half of them from prescription drugs. More than 40 percent of babies are born out of wedlock. Despite the runaway success of “midnight basketball,” a healthy chunk of those children go on to murder other children, rape grandmothers, bury little girls alive—and then eat a sandwich. A power-mad president has thrown approximately 10 percent of all Americans off their health insurance—the rest of you to come! All our elite cultural institutions laugh at virginity and celebrate promiscuity.

Wouldn’t the wiser thing have been to stay home and work for good here? If Dr. Brantly could have “turned one single Hollywood power-broker to Christ, he would have done more good for the entire world than anything he could accomplish in a century spent in Liberia.” Of course Coulter is right.

But Coulter is only right if speaking from the human perspective. She talks about wisdom and foolishness, but she doesn’t seem to understand that God has his own definition of these terms. A long time ago, another missionary once wrote some words that Coulter might want to consider.

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God,righteousness and sanctification and redemption,so that, as it is written,“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

So maybe Coulter’s right. Maybe Dr. Brantly wasn’t “wise by worldly standards.” Maybe he was on a fool’s errand in his mission to demonstrate Christ’s love in Liberia. Christ crucified is folly to the Gentiles.

Christianity has always been a little topsy-turvy. The mightiest king in the universe was born in a lowly stable. The second person of the Godhead “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.” “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” He had “no place to lay his head,” and he surrounded himself with a rag-tag group of fishermen and tax collectors. Jesus could stand as a righteous judge, but he allowed himself to die a sinner’s death. Through sacrifice God saved his people. Through death death is conquered. What’s more foolish than dying in order to live? Christ calls his people to do just that. Take up your cross and follow him.

God uses weakness in order to show his own power, and in spite of his habit of using the lowly, he’s still managed to turn the world upside down. When people start thinking that they need the clout of a “Hollywood power-broker” to do God’s work, they’ve abandoned the gospel. If we attempt to convert the mighty so that we can use their resources, we’re telling the world that God’s power is insufficient. Does God need the rich and powerful to change the world? May it never be. God is sufficient in himself to do all he sets out to do.

Am I suggesting that Christians ought only to minister to the poor and the rich be damned? Of course not. The greater point is that from God’s perspective, all people, rich and poor, are bankrupt and all people, healthy or sick, are dead. In comparison to the omnipotence of God, there is no other power or resource. So let all Christians follow God’s call wherever and to whomever because God will supply what’s needed. And when we sacrifice greatly for no reason other than to save someone lowly, we are more closely imitating Christ who died for us, the lowest of the low.

Coulter says, “America is the most consequential nation on Earth, and in desperate need of God at the moment. If America falls, it will be a thousand years of darkness for the entire planet.” I think she overestimates America’s consequentialness. Of what consequence is America compared to the riches of God? A thousand years of darkness? God does not plan to bring light to the world through America. Jesus is the light of the world. God brings light to the world through his Church, and his Church will never fall.

If “wise” Americans think that Christ’s Church is wasting its time and money on a fool’s errand, then chances are guys like Dr. Brantly are doing something right.

More on: missionaries, Gospel

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