America's first foreign missionary - George Liele

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by Pergamum, Jan 23, 2019.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Can you name the first American foreign missionary?

    You've probably never even heard the name George Liele.

    Yet, he was America's FIRST foreign missionary. And he was a black man!

    "George Liele (1750–1820) was an African American and emancipated slave who became the founding pastor of First Bryan Baptist Church and First African Baptist Church, in Savannah, Georgia (USA)."

    ...and now wait for it.....

    "He became the first American missionary, leaving in 1782 for Jamaica...

    this is thirty years before Adoniram Judson left for Burma. He became the first Baptist missionary in Jamaica."

    While I am not a fan of Identity Politics or Black History Month, let's remember and honor this dear man, George Liele. May he be an example to many blacks today in American, a demographic that makes up about 13% of the US population but are very rare on the foreign mission field. In fact, out of the Southern Baptist convention's 4,900 international missionaries, only 27 were black (That is about half of 1% if I calculated correctly)

    It is time to remember Pastor George Liele and emulate his heritage. I am praying for a new wave of missionaries from the US.

    May he be a great role-model for many Americans, both black and white, in this generation!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg...4JbdK0rfYlei7awnGMhVAgl0JruIb6IsxNIqYCtQLdf3M

    https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/201...zJOgkg7SWY3hR0E1K8V7Lj0_SHS4_HRTf6EIMnUhwc3DQ



     
  2. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, he was born in Colonial America, but he left with the British Tories when they evacuated Savannah, and that was how he ended up in Jamaica - a British loyalist to the Crown.

    Arguably, he was never American - he was British.
     
  3. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Hmmm....good point. We can't have a Tory as the first, can we.
     
  4. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    And I didn't even get to the issue of what is 'foreign'.
     
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Can you explain that issue now? Is it because he merely went from one Britsh colony to another (Jamaica being a British colony at the time)?

    All good points.
     
  6. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator

    Are you thinking of that quote by our Baptist friend CH Spurgeon "it is notorious [no tory ious] that I am no Tory"? :p
     
  7. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    He was evidently a sensible man!
     
  8. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    And it seems NOT America's first foreign missionary.

    I thank the contrarian Edward for pointing this out. Sometimes it takes a contrarian to debunk fake news.


    ...although, praise God still for this man. But the honors still go to Judson I suppose.
     
  9. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    And why do you single out Judson when he was part of the team that arrived in India? What about Newell, who was on the ship with him? And I've seen suggestions that Hall and Knott may have gotten their operation in Bombay going before Judson got going in Burma. (But I haven't seen a scholarly timeline).

    Of course Judson did jump the traces, resigned from his sending agency, and come out as a Baptist....
     
  10. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Ha ha.....yes......more good points...

    Do you have links in order to properly educate me on these other guys?
     
  11. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Ah, but most historians will consider someone born in the American colonies an American. The fact that he (like many other Americans) was a loyalist when the war came hardly changes who he was from birth. It sounds like he was an American.

    I think there's a good discussion to be had on why certain racial/ethnic groups in the American church produce fewer foreign missionaries than do other groups, but my wonderings about that topic will have to wait until I have more time.
     
  12. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    You might want to fine tune that argument just a little bit. He was, after all, chattel (or as one might say in Louisiana, movable property) at birth.
     
  13. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Some background on the sending agency for all of them (including Judson) here:
    http://www.congregationallibrary.org/finding-aids/ABCFMOverview
    They show the Bombay mission as 1813 instead of 1814; they of course omit Burma since Judson had left their oversight and gotten dunked when he got to India.

    Some more here:
    http://maxfieldbooks.com/abcfm.html#S2c
    scroll down to The First Mission under Roman Numeral II The Worcester Administration
     
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