Charles Darwin, born February 12, 1809, is considered the father of the evolutionary theory. As such, he is widely condemned by Christian authors, preachers and religious scholars as the anti-thesis of everything Christian. His view of common ancestry, the belief that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors, has become the predominent scientific belief regarding the origins of man.
However, what few if any realize is that Darwin, from 1867 until his death in 1882, contributed annually to the work of the South American Missionary Society for the propogation of the gospel to the natives of South America. Sir James Sullivan, vice president of the Society, had sailed with Darwin on the Beagle in 1831. Sullivan, a compassionate and devout Christian man, was shocked by the state of the natives of Tierra del Fuego, a people Sullivan believed to be the basest and lowest of all civilizations in the world. Charles Darwin agreed and told Sullivan that it would be utterly useless to send missionaries to Tierra del Fuego.
Sullivan ignored his friend's advice and led the South American Missionary Society to send Christian missionaries to Tierra Del Fuego. The missionaries had astonishing success among the natives. Christian churches were planted, the natives were taught how to farm and cultivate, a written language was created for the people, and civilization among the natives prospered. It would be three decades after Darwin's initial voyage to Tierra del Fuego that he would be compelled to call the progress among the natives there "most wonderful" and confess to Sullivan that the advancement among the people "charms (or shames) me . . . It is a grand success." He then made it known that he would be proud to be elected "an honorary member of the South American Missionary Society" - a request which SAMS honored.
Darwin's love for missions, nor his service to the board of mission society, nor his finacial contributions to support missionaries in Tierra del Fuego, nor his burial in Westminster Abbey proves that Darwin was a Christian. But most peoples' lack of knowledge about these events in Darwin's life and the unwillingness of the modern world to point out these facts, may be just another indication that when Jesus enters the stage of human history again and closes the curtain on the world as we know it, we may all wind up being suprised to discover those whom Jesus has called unto Himself.
Nobody is beyond His reach.
In His Grace,