John G. Paton

October 28, 2013

I just finished reading a fascinating autobiography of John G. Paton, pioneer missionary to the New Hebrides Islands in the 19th century. Thanks to Tim Raymond for his review and recommendation on the Credo blog: An Ordinary Pastor’s Five Favorite Biographies. Tim wrote the following, and I figured that I should read it. It was well worth it.

This book is really in a class by itself. It’s not only my favorite biography but one of my favorite books of any kind. John Paton was a Reformed Presbyterian missionary to the primitive cannibals of 19th century Vanuatu and, after losing his wife and son a couple weeks after settling on the tropical island of Tanna, single-handedly faced down death threats and attacks probably 200 times. This book is sort of like real-life Indiana Jones stories except Paton believed the Bible and loved Jesus and some of his encounters make Indiana Jones seem like a fairy princess. Imagine standing in the rain at night as your barn behind you is on fire while you’re surrounded by a mob of savage, spear-wielding, hungry cannibals and fending them off all alone with nothing but a hatchet and an unloaded 6-shooter. Paton was one tough brother. If you’re looking for a strong, masculine, humble, godly, Calvinist, evangelistic role-model to set before your sons of going all-out for Jesus, you can do no better than John G. Paton.