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BN Hot Topic: Uninvited Visitors, Missionaries and the Call to Save the Lost

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BN Hot Topic: Visitors, Missionaries and the Message of Good News | BellaNaijaJohn Chau, an adventurer and Christian missionary, was killed by members of an isolated tribe who he wished to convert to Christianity.

“You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people,” John had written just days before he died. He had attempted preaching to the tribe but they shot him with an arrow, forcing him to withdraw.

A few days later, armed with fish, small gifts and his good news, John returned to the Sentinelese tribe, only to get killed.

The Bible, as any Christian knows, commands evangelism. So it isn’t completely ridiculous that he visited. But should he have?

There have been arguments in favor of his visit: The tribe is a primitive one, his visit could have brought modernity to them, the wonders of daily living. But his journal doesn’t suggest he was there to do anything but preach something he wholly believed was true. Besides, if contentment and happiness really are the secret to a good life, of what use are the tools of modern living when people in cities still are dissatisfied and unhappy.

The arguments against him are a lot harsher. They say he is just like the colonizers, that he was there to wipe out their existing culture. But, again, the rebuttal for this remains the same: there is no evidence that suggests he was there to do anything but preach something he wholly believed was true. Are we really going to equate colonization, a process of establishing control and ownership by large and powerful governments, to the genuine however, misplaced intentions of a lone man?

What do you think though? Should John Chau have let the Sentinelese tribe be? Was he right to attempt to reach them? Is this a general message to people who evangelize in public transport? Or even people who show up at our doorstep, uninvited. Share your views in the comment section.

Photo Credit: johnachau

36 Comments

  1. Lola

    November 23, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    He should have left them when they shot him an arrow,this means the tribes are not the friendly type and does not want someone who will wipe a way their culture.
    There is no compulsion in religion,if someone tells you he /she is not interested in your religion,kindly let them be before it turns violent. These are the problems we’re facing with the Nigeria especially the northern states where there’s no tolerance.

  2. CocoWithLove

    November 23, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    If he had any love for the tribe he would have respected the fact they are an endangered people. They could have been exposed to illnesses they have never developed immunity to by him, effectively wiping them out. The tribespeople have made it clear they want no visitors. Even the Bible notes people have free will.

    Despite what overzealous Nigerian Christians think, billions of people around the world have other religions that bring them deep, everlasting peace. Just like your experience other people have found their own salvations. The Sentinelese are one of the earliest human tribes ever identified . I assure you they have thousands of years of doctrine and beliefs that fufil their lives.

    If any modern country had a clearly stated restriction and someone violated it, they would be well within their rights to defend themselves. The last time a westerner visited them, their elderly died and their children were kidnapped. Sounds familiar? These people were protecting their very existence. This is their own version of national security. There was nothing barbaric or savage about their actions.

    • E b

      November 26, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      You clearly don’t know who the Christian is.

    • E b

      November 26, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      There is no everlasting peace without Jesus.don’t you get it?

  3. yes maam

    November 23, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    Nothing wrong with evangelizing but when someone shoots you with a poisonous arrow it is a warning that they are not ready. If you survive the first poisonous shot, don’t go back for more. Send an email.

    • Zee

      November 30, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Lol at send an email

  4. Cocoa

    November 23, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    I haven’t read anywhere were it says HE KNEW it was illegal according to the law of the land. .

    In regards to your question on public bus and door to door evangelism..i say….
    Evangelism will always come with hate or pushback from the world. We are already told that in the Word. So expect it and don’t fault them for it. They don’t know any better. I also found evangelists annoying before i myself got saved and picked up my cross to follow Jesus. So forgive them. No one in their right mind will knowingly reject salvation and an opportunity to have JOY FOREVER.

    Who doesn’t like good things? I’ll tell you….Those who don’t know that it s good.

    • George Akinde

      November 24, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Has it occured to you that the people that initially evangelized to Africans also bought them as slaves, used, molested and raped them? nothing special about the fairytale of a virgin giving birth or a man sleeping in the belly of a sea creature, as I said, it is a fairytale same as Santa Claus it should only work when you are a child.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      November 25, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      Girl, stop. Please.

      He knew.

      The fishermen who tried to transport him there on repeated occasions told him and he had full knowledge about what he was doing.

      Same fishermen got arrested themselves – they’re locals of the land and were also fully aware that what they were doing was illegal.

      Plus – ignorance of the law is no excuse… and it’s interesting how earthly tenets of law are modelled on Heavenly principles. Do you preach God’s Word to unbelievers, with a caveat that tells them ignorance is what will save them on the last day? No, you don’t.

      Anyway, re this missionary, my personal opinion is that he squandered his life due to stubbornness and that makes me soooo annoyed with him. And let’s please not twist this with Christianese and say that he gave his life for a rightful cause – this one is a case of practically throwing his life away.

      Even Paul was smuggled out of Damascus in a basket to escape life threats that wanted to curtail his Divine assignment. Going by this oga’s reasoning, maybe Paul should have stood his ground when the first threat was issued…. and then, we won’t have most of the books of the Bible as a result. For goodness sakes, wasn’t the first attack with the arrow enough of a sign that the ground was not yet ready to preached on? Jesus walked on this earth and even A WHOLE SON OF GOD, would escape from the crowd when it was clear they were ready to stone Him before His time.

      Maybe this was this missionary’s time…. but the whole situation is annoying.

  5. Boon

    November 24, 2018 at 1:47 am

    It’s general knowledge in those areas that it’s illegal to go to the island – that’s why he paid an inordinate amount of money to the men who agreed to bring him towards the sentinelese. ALSO, these people have been isolated to 60000 years, they have no resistance to common sicknesses .the last time they came in prolonged contact with outsiders they died within a couple of days..preach Christ at what cost? What do they need him for? The ones that have died in those 60k years nko? …we humans and our convictions whether is Muslims, xtians, atheists, Buddhists, jews etc..everyone is so sure but we can’t all be right !!

  6. Lala

    November 24, 2018 at 5:01 am

    @Cocoa pleas read more into this issue and get all the facts. The biggest omission in this article is the fact that inspire of his good intentions, this guy could have very well been unwittingly the end of that tribe. The main reason for the law forbidding entry into that island is because the inhabitants have no immunity/resistance to foreigner diseases.

    Historically the population of that tribe has collapsed because of people exactly like this guy. Is someone came to your doorstep bringing certain death to your loved ones and entire country would you welcome them with open arms?

    It even smacks of arrogance. How can you go somewhere to evangelize without researching the people you want to preach to?

    • Cocoa

      November 24, 2018 at 11:07 am

      And that is why i reserved my opinion on if it was right or wrong of him to go. Because I HAVENT READ anywhere were it says he knew.

      So instead I focused my comment on the discussion of public bus and door to door evangelism.

      Right or wrong….he had pure intentions…and God looks at the HEART.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      November 25, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      Cocoa, stop it.

      You’re just as obstinate as the missionary and trust me, God doesn’t champion bull-headedness.

      If Jesus took on evangelism in this same tone, I don’t think we would have read of even half of a disciple following him. There is the place of good intentions and there is also the place of always finding ways to apply Divine wisdom so that you preach not just the letter of Christianity but the underlying and powerfully embracing spirit of it too. Applying the first without the second is simply veering towards fanaticism…. and I believe God would like us to do better than that.

  7. Billionaire in grace

    November 24, 2018 at 6:03 am

    One thing for sure he is NOW in a better with the lord Jesus Christ

    • George Akinde

      November 24, 2018 at 10:28 pm

      Absolute hogwash, no he is dead. no evidence to show that “the lord” exists. No evidence to show for heaven, no evidence to show for hell, it is all an idea. It is like Santa Claus, the idea is to be nice and you will get a reward, but it should only work for children, not adults, adults should learn that already that you be nice to get nice treatment back. god or gods are like Santa Claus for an adult. When adults pray it’s like when children write to Santa asking for favours.

  8. Z

    November 24, 2018 at 8:02 am

    There’s nothing wrong with evangelizing, however, access to that island was made illegal for a reason. Those people, due to their lack of contact with the outside world, don’t have the same level of immunity as we do. A simple illness for us (especially those that don’t show symptoms) can be fatal to them…and there’s barely much of them left.

    In the Bible, Jesus told the disciples that if they go somewhere to spread the news, and they are not welcome there, they should leave and shake the dust of the town off their sandals. Nothing about forcing their way through.

    It’s very unfortunate that he died and may his soul rest in peace, but if he really thought through the consequences of his action, he would have realized that his idea wasn’t the best way.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      November 25, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      Whew.

      Thank you for this, especially your second paragraph. Christianity with understanding is starting to become a rarely seen combination in today’s church.

  9. Ganiu

    November 24, 2018 at 8:34 am

    The thought that ones believe supersedes another one is ridiculous, whatever your believes, unless someone shows interest and come to you for help, do not over impose on them, it’s intrusion, and intruders should be dealt with, whether at home or otherwise, any attempt to wipe away one’s valuable believe should be resisted at all cost. Thank you

    • Cocoa

      November 24, 2018 at 11:13 am

      Do you expect someone who doesnt know they are sick to go looking for a doctor? Or one who doesn’t know he is naked to go in search of a tailor?

      WE , the children of God know the TRUTH and we TAKE THE TRUTH OUT INTO THE WORLD for others to enjoy grace too.
      If they reject it….we leave them alone and move on to the next.

      It’s not about which religion is the best or supersedes….it’s about what it is the TRUTH. It is about people we love not PERISHING FOR ETERNITY.

      IT IS SERIOUS.

      It is not an ego contest.

    • Boon

      November 24, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      Fair point. I guess that justifies the 9/11 terrorists or ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, Sudan etc so long as you’re convinced your truth is the TRUTH feel free to act on it regardless of other people. Simples!

    • molarah

      November 25, 2018 at 8:53 pm

      I think you were too eager to drop your point on 9/11 and Myanmar that you failed to make any connection to Cocoa’s post. How is telling others about your faith related to killing others for your faith?

    • George Akinde

      November 24, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      Please stop using truth as an excuse, a virgin giving birth shouldn’t be said in the same breath as the word truth, in fact, religion says believe even if you cannot see it, that automatically negates truth, but promote opinions. Your ignorance and lack of evidence aren’t equal to factual evidence that there is no sky fairy that has a son that was born by a virgin and three other dudes showed up at his naming ceremony with gifts.

    • Elle

      November 26, 2018 at 7:38 pm

      But George why are you crying all over the place? If you don’t believe, fine, others do and it is their prerogative to believe as much as it is yours not to.

  10. molarah

    November 24, 2018 at 10:09 am

    The argument against him going is moot if you are familiar with the Christian faith. Christianity was an outlawed religion for almost 400 years, so Christians have never considered themselves restricted by any regulations for spreading the gospel. This conversation is not worth having: he is not the first to get killed for trying to share his faith and this incidence will not deter any one that already has their mind made up to evangelize. Neither Christ, Apostle Paul or the other apostles or the prominent saints through the ages prioritized safety over spreading the faith, and it won’t start in our generation.

    • Blessedheart

      November 24, 2018 at 9:10 pm

      God bless you for this. I have been reading comments by professing Christians (on Instagram) with deep disappointment. Apparently, many Christians do not know what their commission is. We are not to impose our faith on anyone but we are to do anything, including break human laws, to get the gospel across to those who have not heard it. For those who will relate this to terrorism, please note that our only job is to tell people, we do not force anyone to accept it. If you believe anything else, read your Bible well and check your faith. The Apostles and loads of Christians lost their lives preaching the gospel.

    • Ela

      November 25, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      I’m a Christian. You lost me at break human laws…)

      About this, don’t know all the circumstances; whether he was truly led by God to or was just plain rash… Hmm… Saddened by this though.

      Still, we keep loving others and talking about Jesus in…wisdom. That’s so so important. The work is not as important as consulting the One who sent you about the individual or place you want to reach. Soul winning, contrary to what some might have been taught, is not about following a prescribed list of guidelines. What works here may not work there. It’s about letting God lead you as you stay open and loving wherever you find yourself..

    • E b

      November 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      What is sad about this? This is amazing. It’s great to know there are Christians who understand why they are here on earth.

      It’s great. To be with the Lord is great gain.He died for the gospel.

      Amazing

    • E b

      November 26, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Some Christians don’t know their purpose on earth.

      They just play church.

      Sad

  11. Scarecrow

    November 24, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Just keep your stupid Jesus and his bunch of clowns in your own pocket. Leave the Sentinelese alone.

    • didi

      November 24, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      @SCARECROW no we will not you will have to try for eternity, our only reason for being in this world is for those that have not accepted JESUS CHRIST, so deal with it or keep trying

    • E b

      November 26, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      You don’t know what you are talking about

    • E b

      November 26, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      You don’t know what you are talking about scare crow

  12. Udegbunam Chukwudi

    November 25, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    SMH @ some people for here. Tomorrow they’ll join those calling out Buhari for trying to Islamize Nigeria. MSCHEEEEEEEEEEEW!

    • E b

      November 26, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      This does not have anything to do with buhari and his agenda. You are off point

  13. Nomthandazo Zo Mlangeni

    November 26, 2018 at 8:59 am

    If only our ancestors had done the same, religion is not spirituality all things are created by him (Not too familiar with the bible) I am sure there is a text that alludes to this. Abrahamic religions whether it be Christianity, Islam or Judaism were solely given to the African for control purposes our people are lulled by religion instead of realizing how Africa is being stripped bare of her natural resources every waking hour churches and mosques tell the black man to accept and rejoice in the little that is given to them by the Europeans.

    • E b

      November 26, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      There is nothing like Abrahamic religion. There is just one TRUTH and that is JESUS.

      He didn’t come to preach religion. He came to give life to anyone who would accept him. He did not die a religious death

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