USA - American Missionary Killed

Arno Froese

Christians who are killed while on a mission to spread the Gospel are often considered martyrs and treated as heroes of the faith.

But there has been little celebration for John Allen Chau, the 26-year-old American missionary who was killed by indigenous people after sneaking onto North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal.

The island is inhabited by a few hundred people whose ancestors are believed to have migrated to the Andaman archipelago from Africa [...] For centuries, the Sentinelese have resisted all contact with the outside world, sometimes violently. As a result, any intrusion by outsiders, Chau included, could bring communicable diseases against which the islanders had no immunity.

“Even though I share his faith, Chau had no business going to those people,” wrote Rod Dreher, a Christian writer whose blog in The American Conservative is widely read.

“Chau could not have preached to these people,” Dreher wrote. “Nobody speaks their language. How on earth could he have witnessed to them?”

But Chau was not deterred.

He hired local fishermen to take him near the island and then ventured closer in a kayak, disregarding local laws that prohibited outsiders from visiting the island.

“My name is John!” he hollered when he spotted some Sentinelese men onshore. “I love you, and Jesus loves you. Jesus Christ gave me authority to come to you.”

Advocacy groups for indigenous people go further, arguing generally that culturally isolated tribes should be left alone. Survival International, a London-based organization, has been pressing Indian police authorities to abandon any effort to retrieve Chau’s body from the North Sentinel beach where it was apparently buried.

Many Christian missionaries would likely disagree, however, with the notion that no effort should be made to reach out to previously uncontacted peoples.

“The missionaries willing to do these things have enough passion for Christ that they see spreading Christianity as more important than preserving an unchanged culture,” says Kathryn Long, a retired Wheaton College historian., 27 November 2018

Arno's commentary

When someone is killed, it’s always a tragedy, because that someone comes from a family, and that family has lost a loved one.

From the six-page article published by NPR, we recognize that John Allen Chau had the right motive, but fulfilling his desire included breaking the law. Scripture reads: “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (1 Peter 2:17). However, if we apply this Scripture to all people, then the founding of the United States of America was illegal too, for the so-called Founding Fathers opposed the king of England. To analyze the John Allen Chau event is difficult, but one thing is clear: he believed in Jesus, and there we read the promise in John 3:15: “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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