The last few days I’ve been in a bad mood. I’ve cracked a few jokes, gone out for drinks with friends, had a decent start of the month at work, played video games with my wife and started my Christmas shopping. But something has been bothering me and I wasn’t sure what it was.
I think it started when I heard the news about John Allen Chau. The missionary who died in North Sentinel Island. Being super late to the news I have been trying to read as much as I can and spoken with several friends about their thoughts. Needless to say, my friends have had very mixed reactions to it all. While some have not expressed any fault in his actions, others have strong opinions on the way he proceeded and have shown some objections to it.
So here are a few of my thoughts on it. Just a few because I have a lot. First, I am running with the assumption that He really was told by the Lord to go. If you do not believe that is possible then I will be glad to speak with you outside of this thread. With that in mind a lot of friends have said that if God did tell him to go, they still believed John could have tried to share the gospel with them through different means.
I understand that John could have brought devastating sicknesses that the people of North Sentinel are not immune too. But one friend reminded me that if God did tell him to go, then why would God allow them to be sick in that way. Would God want to harm them after bringing the word? What Father would want to express His love but then cause them to become devastatingly sick? I truly believe that God would not allow that to happen.
I also hear he should have tried starting with maybe dropping off something in writing from the air or leaving them at the beach. Even if he could get helicopter or plane in the air to drop something off, I have yet to be able to find a credible source that shows what their language is, or how it is written. From my understanding, no one really knows it. Therefore, the only way to actually share the Gospel with them, would be by going and trying to establish communication in person.
Others expressed concern about him not being welcomed and expressing a need to respect their culture. It is clear that there are moments in scripture, that Jesus and the apostles did express a need to respect the customs of other cultures however, there are very clear moments when they would break those customs for the sake of the gospel. If there is a way to honor and respect their culture, then you absolutely should. From my research, John did take time to learn for years as much as he can about them. His plan was to live among them, and see their way of life and learn their language. But their still has to be a moment where you share the gospel. When the culture doesn’t allow it or make room for it, then I believe you still go for it.
Others have expressed that he did not look like them and should have at least tried to gain some influence with possible government support or at least people that are closer to that culture. This to me is the most valid point. However, the governments around them are not Christian governments. Even if he had more people from the surrounding cultures, still none of them would be or understand that culture and could have appeared to be an invasion force.
I think what has been bothering the most though is the lack of mourning I have seen from other Christians. Even if I am 100% wrong and he did nothing right as far as executing his plans to spread the gospel, should we not still mourn for someone who was trying to lift the name of Jesus. Some have said that he failed. But in scripture and throughout history many martyrs who were killed early in the start of the ministry was actually used to bring more people to Christ.
My main concern is that many of the Christians who I have seen criticize him for going, in all honesty, are people who I have never seen or heard themselves make attempts at sharing the gospel. This certainly not the case for all of them. I also fully understand that I don’t see everyone’s detailed day to day life. So it is not that I judge for not sharing the gospel more. I do get angry when we judge those who do, before praying for those we’ve lost and with love try to gather together as a body and try and strategize to try again. I definitely feel the need to share more. But I often don’t for so many reasons. Most of those reasons are excuses to hide my fear and insecurities.
I challenge Christians to continue learning new ways to share that are effective. I also challenge you to share. No more excuses. No more hiding. Pray, listen, and share God’s word.
Love you all.