In January I posted on this blog asking the question "Is Insistence Upon Heart Languages Biblical?" Today, in the midst of a week spent mostly in the research of a short list of 9 UUPGs while we at FBC Farmersville attempt to locate the group we plan to adopt, I have a further question along the same lines.
One of the UUPGs that we're researching is in Mexico. The IMB lists it as a GSEC 0 people group. This means that they know of no gospel resources—no Bibles, no tracts, no Jesus film…nothing—available in that indigenous language. To present the gospel in that language would require starting from scratch. It would be a herculean task.
Performing further research on other web sites, I discovered that the native tongue in question has been classified as an endangered language. Linguists fear that this tongue will soon pass entirely out of use unless something happens to preserve it. The major reason why this language is endangered is the domineering pressure of the Spanish language within the community.
With all of this in mind, and in light of my previous post (which you should read if you haven't), I ask these questions:
- Shouldn't we be rooting for this endangered language to become an extinct, dead language?
- If language is the primary boundary separating this people group from others, is that a legitimate boundary if the language is dying and is almost dead? Why should missionaries make more of the linguistic boundary than do the people of the people group themselves?
- Since there is an untold wealth of gospel material available in Spanish, absolutely no gospel materials available in this target language, and such near hegemony of the Spanish language among this group, wouldn't it be a criminal waste of time and resources to expend any money or time on the development of native-language materials for this group if that money and time could be used to bring the gospel to them in Spanish?