John Allen Chau – Christian martyr or deluded idiot?

John Allen Chau (PHOTO:

By Grantley Sherwood

A year ago, John Allen Chau died on November 17, 2018 while illegally trying to make contact with the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island who have never had meaningful contact with any outsiders and have never heard of Jesus’ love for them. Was he a Christian martyr or a deluded idiot?

Were the thousands of missionaries that gave up their lives to bring the Gospel to Africa in the 1900s lunatics, or those that willingly went to barbaric Goths, Huns and Vikings of Europe crazy? Were the disciples of Jesus who disobeyed the Jewish leaders, but died taking the Gospel to the surrounding nations out of their minds?

For the most part, none of these places wanted Christianity, the missionaries were beaten and often slaughtered for their faith – yet today, we are blessed by the trappings Christianity brought us.

Most cities in the world’s first schools, universities and hospitals were started by Christian missionaries who were active because of their faith. Even some of the SPCA’s founding members were Christian clergy determined to make the world a better place.

Our workers in government are called “public servants”, a spin-off from our Christian ethos. We are truly blessed both spiritually, but also physically, even though many of our original forefathers did not want this foreign religion imposed on them.

Jesus made the promise that first the Gospel would be preached to all nations, and then the end would come. The Greek word for nations in this passage is ethnos, from which we derive the word ethnic – basically this verse is saying that the end will not come till the Gospel has reached all ethnic groups or tribes in the world. This means till the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island have heard of Jesus, the end will not come to be.

Actually, there are 3 000+ people groups who have never heard of Jesus and have never met a Christian. Some like the 26,000 Shanyan Tibetans are so isolated, we do not even know what language they speak. Most of these groups reside in Asia, yet we are also promised in Revelation 7:9, that there will be people from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.

As we read the Bible, we see God’s heart is for people all over the world to one day be touched by His love. If we love God, do we love the people He loves? Are we willing to pay the price to see God’s dreams fulfilled? Are we willing to die like Jesus did in order to get the good news to those that have never heard?

Not only did Jesus die for the sake of the Gospel — all His disciples were martyred (except John who was exiled on a foreign island) for the sake of the Gospel. The Gospel is free for the recipient, but not for the messenger.

If it cost all those thousands of missionaries their lives to bring good news to us, are we willing to take it to the millions of Asians who have never heard?

Jesus said in Matthew 9:37 — “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

We see the situation today is still the same; countless millions that have never heard of Jesus, and yet so few going to take this message to them. The situation looks hopeless, yet Jesus gave us a solution –- to pray that God would send out missionaries.

If you want to pray that God will send missionaries to the unreached people groups of Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, you can find plenty of information at, and as fuel for your prayers.

Grantley Sherwood has been with the mission organisation Operation Mobilisation since 1985, and his passion is to see Jesus’ word fulfilled “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations”.

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