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RP Mission to Native Americans in Oklahoma

24. May 2017

Features, Agency Features, Home Missions,

  —Russ Pulliam

“The first to plead his case seems just, until another comes and examines him” (Prov. 18:17).

In a majority report, white people came to the shores of the United States and oppressed the Native Americans, stealing their land and disrupting their way of life.

Not so well known is the minority report. Some white people came to the shores of the United States and befriended the Native Americans, seeking to treat them with justice and sharing the gospel with them, helping them build churches and opening up new chapters on Earth and in heaven for these Native Americans.

Americans usually learn the majority report in school textbooks or from Hollywood. But a few faithful believers lived out the less-publicized side of the story. Practicing Matthew 28:18-20 and Micah 6:8, this lesser-known story starts with John Eliot and the family of Thomas Mayhew as they developed missions to New England Indians not long after the Puritans started coming to Boston.

Reformed Presbyterians did not come to America until several years after the Puritans, but they joined in the noble tradition of seeking to offer the gospel to and justice for Native Americans. The RP Church sought to reach Indians in what was originally the Oklahoma territory, laboring from 1889 until the 1960s in a barren area southwest of Oklahoma City.

The church’s 1871 Testimony recognized the national sin of oppression of Indians—long before many Americans came ...

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