“Yi Go Fri” Or “Yi Go Sofa”

Neal Pollard

A couple of years ago, I went with Josh Austin to teach in our Bear Valley extension in Wotutu, Cameroon.  The local language is Pidgin English.  There is enough correlation between American and Pidgin English that you can especially understand much of what you hear spoken.  A couple of months ago, I held a gospel meeting in Alabama.  The local preacher, David Phillips, lived two years in the English portion of the country (most of Cameroon speaks French).  His parents were missionaries there in the early 1970s.  David gave me a copy of the book of Mark written in Pidgin.  While it requires reading out loud to aid comprehension, you can get the gist of most passages if you are familiar with the English translation counterpart.

Mark 16:16 reads, “Man weh yi bilif an dem baptas yi, yi go fri, bot man weh yi no bilif yi go sofa.”  While there is depth of meaning to native speakers, they get the idea that believing and being baptized makes you free, but not believing will cause you to ultimately suffer.  The Greek word translated “saved” means to deliver or preserve from danger, loss, and destruction.  The word for “condemned” means to pronounce guilty by judgment or condemn.  

Every accountable individual, at some point, is enslaved to sin and traveling the broad way to destruction.  Those who are taught the gospel are confronted with a decision.  Do I want spiritual freedom or eternal suffering?  When asked that way, the choice seems obvious.  But, this world has such a strong pull on us (cf. 1 Jn. 2:15-17).  We can allow our fleshly desires to dominate us, choosing the pleasures of sin for a season while earning suffering forever (Js. 1:13-15; cf. Heb. 11:25).  

I need to see the choice as that simple–hold onto Christ and “go free” or hold onto sin and “go suffer.”  All of us like freedom and none of us like suffering.  We must keep our minds clear to the facts on this matter.

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