Thoughts About John Allen Chau’s Death

Category: Questions & Answers

What are Christians to make of the recent controversy regarding the death of John Allen Chau? Should we look down on him as one guilty of foolish presumption, or commend him as one who it appears trusted God and gave his life for the sake of Christ?


Everybody ready for this one? This one was sent to me Monday, November 26th. So this is very new. Because this is a current event - had John Allen Chau been killed as of a week ago tonight? When did that happen? (from the room) I think it was like the week before. Tim: Yeah, it seems like it was 10 days ago or a week and a half or so. But I take it that the question hadn't been submitted as of last Tuesday. But this is really the only one that I want to deal with tonight. And I think it is definitely worthy of our conversation for at least an hour probably. This was submitted by Tricia Hudson. She says, "Hi James, we've been supporters of your ministry and of your church for the last three years, and so appreciate your labors for the Gospel. We were wondering if your ministry and your church could address the truths and controversies around the death of John Chau going viral right now on social media and the news." Now, it looks like they submitted this to James just yesterday by the date on it. Now, I personally don't know about this. I mean, I know about him, but I don't know about the controversies around the death of John Chau. Now, I can understand and I can imagine what they could be, but as far as the "going viral right now on social media and the news" - I don't know anything about that. I don't know what people are saying, although like I say, I can imagine. "We believe God has used him mightily, right or wrong in some of his decisions - in the workings of the Kingdom because of all the fury and concern and hatred this has stirred up." So they see this as a good thing. And what they're wondering about is whether our ministry and our church might address this. So, she goes on to say this: "There definitely is controversy regarding his choice to break the law, and his method of getting to the Sentinelese people, but all eyes are on the Sentinelese people now and there is nothing but hatred for white man and his Christianity all over the Internet. Christians are silent on many YouTube sites and they're not using this as an opportunity to share Christ as far as I've observed." (From her perspective). "Over all within the church, there is some confusion. Yet, we support missionaries as they break the law of the land by going to reach unreachable people with the Gospel every day to closed countries. Can you guys encourage the church through this event and its surrounding controversies with a video? We would love to hear Pastor Tim's and your thoughts and heart on this. The Lord bless you all. David and Tricia Hudson, Welches, Oregon." Now this is an island actually that is in the Andaman chain, and I think if I've got my geography right it's about 700 miles from mainland India. So it's way out there. It's like a long way away from India for it to actually be under India's sovereign domain. And our brother actually made a trip to the Andaman's. Some of you may remember. And he definitely was interested in seeing these people evangelized. So are any of you familiar with what's happening on social media that she's talking about? Anybody seen anything? Okay, you have? What have you seen? (from the room) He paid a fisherman to shuttle him... Tim: No, I mean, aside from the facts of what he actually did, are you seeing any of the controversy she's talking about? (from the room) Yeah, I've seen people making a mockery of him. I've heard things like (unintelligible) preach Jesus to these indigenous people, natives, tribal people. They kind of make fun of him. Tim: She's actually talking about "there's nothing but hatred..." When you say it like that, and she's got "nothing" in all caps. "There is NOTHING but hatred for white man and his Christianity all over the Internet." That makes it sound to me like she's privy to something. Now that maybe more in the circles she's running in. It may be Facebook people that she's aware of and just familiar circles to her. But that's interesting that that perspective is out there. Let me just ask you all personally. We're going to get to Scripture on this. But when you folks - does anybody not even know who John Allen Chau is? So you don't know who he is at all? Okay, the North Sentinel island is presumably the least reached portion on the face of the earth. It is an island that basically has been left untouched. And the Indian government wants it so. And these guys are probably much like John G. Paton would have found in his days. You know, basically a South Pacific island - yes, this is in the Indian Ocean, but it's basically, you know, when the Europeans came along to Samoa and Tahiti and Vanuatu which is the New Hebrides islands, when they came to these islands - well, even Hawaii - what you found is they were met by - oh, the island of Papua as well - you basically met with very dark skinned, South Pacific islanders that looked like they probably have come from Africa. Aboriginal type, some of them very cannibalistic, very primitive, very dark societies on these islands. And you know, back in the 1800's when the missionaries were being sent out all over the world, these islands were definitely targets. And you can read about the history there. But North Sentinel island, there's a line of islands that runs north to south out there in that bay between - if you see the map over there, you've kind of got the point that comes down on India. And between there and what drops down there - Thailand and Malaysia - between them, what is that? The Bay of Bengal? You've got this Andaman chain. And then like the Nicobar islands are also in that chain to the south. Well, towards the bottom of the Andabar islands, you've got this North Sentinel. And basically what the Indian government has done is said: nobody can go in there. You can't touch these people. And the thing about it is you can look the North Sentinel island up on the Internet - YouTube search that - and you will find that they have made documentaries. (incomplete thought) A couple fisherman were washed up there and they came out and swiftly killed them both and they buried them. Somebody was watching, I guess. How they knew this was happening, somebody must have been off shore watching or helicopters came in or something, but these two fisherman kind of washed up there. They killed them. They buried them. Then they dug them back up and basically propped them up. They tried to send a crew in there with somebody to make a documentary. I forget exactly who the group was that tried to go in there. And these guys rushed out of the jungle with their spears and arrows and they actually put a spear through the thigh of one of the guys in the boats. I don't think they ever made it to land. After the tsunami several years back that killed so many in Indonesia, they sent a helicopter in there to find out because that whole island sits relatively low, and they were wondering if anybody made it. And when they flew the helicopter in there they were met with a guy on the beach trying to shoot the helicopter down with his bow and arrows. And so they're hostile. (incomplete thought) And what happened was - this is basically the way you're going to get there - is you find a fisherman that will take you there. Obviously you have to pay him. And they know it's illegal, so you probably have to pay them pretty well. And he went in there with his kayak. The fisherman brought him fairly close and then dropped him in the water in his kayak, and he rode to shore. The fisherman was close enough and stayed right there and was observing to see him go up. They killed him. They tied a rope around his neck. They were dragging his body around. So now they're talking about whether they even get the body or not. That's the thing now they're trying to figure out. And so, you know the Indian government say that this is a treasure, this is a priceless possession. You know, we've got this untouched society. They roughly calculate - they say that the island is roughly the size of Manhattan. They figure there's about 150 people. That's just a guess at best because it's covered with jungle and they really can't see. They said that when the guys come up in boats or they come in helicopters or whatever, the people break out onto the beaches. They're very crude. They do really profane things, and of course, they try to kill you. That's just their instinctive reaction to anybody that comes there is they try to kill you. And the Indian government, they have like a two mile buffer zone is what I understand, and people are not allowed to go in there. They claim they've got this priceless possession. They're trying to keep it intact. They're afraid that if anybody goes in there, they're going to take diseases in there that the people are not accustomed to and it's going to wipe them all out. I think they've actually, like after the tsunami, I believe that when they flew that helicopter in there, they were dropping gifts, but they say gifts don't appease these people at all. They don't care for your gifts. They will just kill you. So there's been shipwrecks there. They said that a ship wrecked there in a storm a number of years ago and they were trying to attack those people too. I think they were rescued. I don't know if by boat or by air. But they needed to be rescued because the people were obviously showing themselves to be very hostile. So, this guy is a Christian. He's been thinking about North Sentinel island for a long time. It definitely has a reputation. I've known about it for a number of years. I think he might have been the one that first brought it to my attention about it being unreached, and he was actually thinking about is there a way. So that's to bring you folks up to speed, those of you that have never heard of him, that's what's happened. Now for those of you that do know about the account, how did you respond when you heard? Did you just not care? Did you think, well, that idiot, why did he do that? Those of you that do know... now did you not know and you did know? (unintelligible) Okay. But what were the thoughts? Did you have any thoughts about him doing that? (from the room) I thought, wow, praise the Lord, someone actually went there. That was my thought. It reminded me of Jim Elliot and the other four. Yeah, I didn't know much about it, but it made me think wow, maybe this will stir people up in a good way. Tim: You know the difference between Jim Elliot and John Allen Chau? The big difference? Seventy years. That's the big difference. Time makes heroes out of people. Listen, we look back at Elliot and we say: Wow! All the books are written, the movies are made. He's a hero. The five martyrs. But you know when he was first looking to go down there, people were trying to persuade him not to go down there. This isn't a good idea. You're too gifted for this. You need to stay here. These guys down there, they were quite gifted young men. People were saying don't throw your gifts away. Don't go to these primitive people. Look, when it's in your day - it's kind of like the prophet. He's honored everywhere but where? Right, his own hometown. And that's so often, it's the same kind of principle. That's more of a geographical, but the time element is relevant as well. Because it's kind of like if you can remove him to another century, then all of a sudden, he's a hero. But you know if you go back and you actually look and you read, when William Carey was thinking about cutting loose for India - I heard a brother, I don't know where he came across this. I can't remember in my own mind actually reading this anywhere, but he read somewhere where I believe it was a Baptist periodical from William Carey's day and they basically wrote an article that said we see no hope of success in William Carey's venture to India. That's basically the way they summed it up. Uh huh. Not going to work. But what was the issue? The issue was we know William Carey. I mean, we know the guy. For us, it's far removed. We have the books in our library. You see, for people to jump right out and say: John Chau is a martyr and put him in the same class, the same place that we put a Jim Elliot, people are probably very hesitant because they're like, well, you know, was he just foolish? We see no prospect in any success there. Didn't he know that if he went to those beaches, they were going to come out and kill him? I mean, come on, there's never been an exception. Well, was he really a Christian? Was he a fanatic? Was it just some adventure gone bad? Could the guy have been climbing Mount Everest last week and this was just an adventurous thing to try to do? What were they saying about William Carey in that day? What were they saying about John G. Paton in his day? You see, that's the thing. There's this removal of time. Listen, I'll tell you this, we have it on good authority that every tribe and every language and every people and every nation are going to be represented before the throne. North Sentinelese people are going to be there. Now, when that first convert is saved, see, by the time that happens, with that being one of the darkest places in the world, who knows? I mean, hastening the day of His coming may be reaching that island. And when the first converts are made, somebody will probably look back at John Chau, and by then, it may be 75 years removed. It may be like Jim Elliot, like us looking back. Remember when that brave guy, he went up there, and they just came right out on the beaches? He no more than laid foot on the shore of that island. See today, you've got all your news media and most of them are liberal. And even Fox and your more conservative, are they really pro-Christian? I mean, maybe they're going to give it a better slant. I don't know what all the news agencies are saying about it. But if these folks are right, what's happening out there? The guy's being counted a fool. He's being counted some zealot? Some white guy bringing his white religion and trying to press it upon other people and probably saying he deserved it. Serves him right. Well, I went and dug my copy of John G. out, (incomplete thought). John G. Paton went - it's called Vanuatu today. This is a string of islands off the east coast of Australia. In that day, they were called the New Hebrides. The Hebrides are actually some islands up near Scotland where revival broke out at another time. These were the New Hebrides islands. John G. Paton, a Scottish Presbyterian. Listen, "When it became known that I was preparing to go abroad as a missionary, nearly all were dead against the proposal." Okay, Chau. You think a lot of people were against it? By the reaction on social media, what do you think? I even remember when a brother was just looking at going to visit the Andaman islands, and there were the naysayers. You shouldn't go. You shouldn't do it. He's not equipped. He's going to bungle this thing. (incomplete thought) And you do wonder. We do want to have some sense, well, okay, is this God's will? We don't want to be foolish. We don't want to be presumptuous at this point. But you know, there's always somebody that's going to believe you're being presumptuous. There's always somebody that's the naysayer. I guarantee you, Jim Elliot heard it. I guarantee you that William Carey heard it. I guarantee you John G. Paton heard it. I guarantee you Hudson Taylor - all you've got to do is read the biographies. In their day, when they weren't the largely acclaimed, centuries old missionary who's books are on our shelf, when it's not that, when it's the guy that you know, then people look at him as the prophet as he's not with honor right there in his own hometown, in his own home church, and among his own generation where the people know him, they can look at him, and they recognize, well, he's a guy with flaws. See, we look back now and we say, well, of course it was God's will for Hudson Taylor to go to China. But you see, in his day when he was going, when he first got on that ship and was sailing over there, there weren't big crowds out there on the shore. He was kind of going off as a nobody. He was going off quietly. It's much the same way with all these guys. It's like, well, we don't give much prospect of any success for this missionary endeavor. "When it became known I was preparing to go abroad as a missionary, nearly all were dead against the proposal." He said, "...Except Dr. Bates and my fellow student. My dear father and mother, however, when I consulted them characteristically replied that they had long since given me away to the Lord and in this matter also would leave me to God's disposal. From other quarters, we were besieged with the strongest opposition on all sides." And here's the thing, if he would have gone straight over there and died setting his foot on that beach, well, then they would have said: see, this thing was ill-advised from the beginning. See, it's one thing if Chau goes there and he gets huddled into one of their huts and he actually survives, and everybody looks at this like it's a miracle of God! He got there and they didn't kill him! I mean, they kept him. And he actually got off the island, then everybody says it's a miracle. God must have been in it. But you see, when he died, and he died so quickly, then it's like, well, you know, it's just like the two fishermen. It could have been anybody. James: You know, he did make a trip there, and survived, and then came back the next day. (from the room) Yeah, his Bible got shot by an arrow the first day, right? Tim: He said, "I replied that my mind was finally resolved that though I loved my work and my people, yet I felt that I could leave them to the care of Jesus who would soon provide them a better pastor than I, and that with regard to my life amongst the cannibals, as I had only once to die, I was content to leave the time and place and means in the hands of God." So, I mean, he went there. Who's to say that this Chau was not of the exact same mindset? Trusting the Lord. Let's just ask this question: The two times in the book of Acts that we love to go to (incomplete thought). We use these two texts in Acts when we talk about any time it's appropriate to violate authority, to go against authority in our lives; when submission to Christ trumps whatever lesser authority. We go to two texts very commonly in Acts 4 and Acts 5. Now, we will go to those two when we're talking about when it may be appropriate to obey Christ even when we have to disobey government authority. But if we're all honest, look at the two texts that I'm talking about. Although they definitely have a broader application. Acts 4. The very specific situation that we're confronted with has to do with evangelism. It has to do with taking the Gospel to the nations. It accords with the Great Commission. What do we find? We find that in Acts 4 we know that Peter and John get hauled in before the council. And when they did, you remember the situation. That lame man was healed at Beautiful Gate and it caused a stir. And they were in there preaching the Gospel. These guys get hauled in. They're before the Sanhedrin. In verse 16, these guys are beside themselves. They told the disciples to leave so that they could confer with one another. Verse 16, "What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. We cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name. So they called them, charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus." And here's the classic text. "Peter and John answered them, 'Whether it's right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge. For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.'" And then you have a similar passage over in chapter 5:29. Again, the apostles were arrested. They were brought before the officials. You remember what happened. They supernaturally were not in prison anymore. Showed up in the temple. They were teaching. Verse 26, "The captain and the officers went and brought them, not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people. When they had brought them, they set them before the council and the high priests questioned them, saying, 'We strictly charged you not to teach in this name. Here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching. You intend to bring this man's blood upon us.' Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men.'" And so, listen, did Jesus give us a commandment to take the Gospel to all the nations? Can anybody tell me how it's worded in Mark 15? (from the room) Preach the Gospel to every creature. Preach the Gospel to every creature. And you know what? That was one of the passages that gripped John G. Paton. And you know the story. He said concerning this opposing influence, he said, "They proved to be a heavy trial to me." All the opposition that he was facing. But he said with all the opposition, "they tended to confirm my determination that the path of duty was to go abroad. Amongst many who sought to deter me was one dear old Christian gentlemen..." You've heard this - "...Who's crowning argument always was: 'The cannibals! You'll be eaten by the cannibals!' At last I replied, 'Mr. Dixon, you're advanced in years now and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms. I confess to you that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I'm eaten by cannibals or by worms. And in the Great Day, my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.'" (incomplete thought) These are the people in his own church. These are the Christians closest to him. "My dear Green Street people grieved excessively at the thought of my leaving them and daily plead with me to remain. Indeed, the opposition was so strong from nearly all and many of them warm, Christian friends that I was sorely tempted to question whether I was carrying out the divine will or only some headstrong wish of my own." You see, that's going to be the accusation. Headstrong wish. It was just an adventure. He launched out there. By what authority did he do this? What missionary society sent him? See, that's always the questions. There's got to be some authority. Well, he's got to be sent by the right people. Or he's got to be sent by the right church. What right did he have to go over there? What right did he have to do this? Throw his life away like that? He said, "This also caused me much anxiety, drove me close to God in prayer." See, we don't know how much he prayed about this. He said, "Conscience said louder and clearer every day: leave all these results with Jesus, your Lord, who said, 'Go ye into all the world; preach the Gospel to every creature, and lo, I am with you alway.' These words kept ringing in my ears. These were our marching orders." Who is going to say it's not the marching orders of Christians to take the Gospel to North Sentinel island? It is our marching order from the risen Christ to take the Gospel into every nation and preach it to every creature. That does not exclude North Sentinel island. And here is a man who put his life on the altar. He was willing to lay his life down to go do it. And are we going to rise up and say well, he was wrong? "Some retorted to him, 'There are heathen at home. Let us seek and save first of all the lost ones perishing at our doors.' This I felt to be most true and an appalling fact, but I unfailingly observed that those who made this retort neglected these home heathen themselves. And so the objection has from them lost all its power. They would ungrudgingly spend more on a fashionable party at dinner or tea, on a concert or ball or theatre, or on some ostentatious display or worldly and selfish indulgence ten times more perhaps in a single day than they would give in a year or in half of a lifetime for the conversion of the whole heathen world either at home or abroad. Objections from such people must of course always count for nothing among men of whom spiritual things are realities. For these people themselves I do and always did only pity them as God's stewards making such a miserable use of time and money entrusted to their care." So, listen. Let me tell you something that you may not know. John G. Paton - he went to these islands and they didn't kill him. But they thought to and they schemed to. But I want to tell you something about his going back in the 1800's - a hundred and sixty, seventy years ago. In his autobiography, he says this: "A glance backwards over the story of the Gospel in the New Hebrides may help to bring my readers into touch with the events that are to follow. The ever famous names of Williams and Harris are associated with the earliest efforts to introduce Christianity among the group of islands in the South Pacific Seas. John Williams and his young missionary companion Harris, under the auspices of the London Missionary Society landed on Erromango the 30th of November, 1839. Alas, within a few minutes of their touching land, both were clubbed to death and the savages proceeded to cook and feast upon their bodies." You remember those two names. Williams and Harris. They set foot on Erromango and they were dead and eaten like that. See, it's all perspective. Listen to Paton's assessment of this: "Thus were the New Hebrides baptized with the blood of martyrs, and Christ thereby told the whole Christian world that He claimed these islands as His own. His cross must yet be lifted up where the blood of His saints has been poured forth in His name. The poor heathen knew not that they had slain their best friends, but tears and prayers ascended for them from all Christian souls wherever the story of the martyrdom on Erromango was read or heard." And you know what's interesting? I just happened about two or three years ago, I just happened to find - I don't even remember how I found it - I happened to find a news reel that the 170th anniversary of the killing of these two guys was being celebrated in Vanuatu, Erromango. And you know what was amazing? The descendants of Williams and Harris came to Erromango to meet the descendants of the people who killed and ate their ancestors. These British descendants of Williams and Harris didn't even seem like they were genuine Christians - probably very formal, religious, but cold, and I doubt they were Christians. These Erromangons came out - they were so full of joy. It's like, wow, 170 years later and the descendants of these people are probably just atheists or stale, dead religionists, and the Erromangons seem like they were just full of the joy of the Lord is what it seemed like. You could probably find that somewhere. Listen, if we've got the right perspective and Christ put something in this guy and he was willing to lay down his life that Christ be proclaimed to every creature; he felt it his responsibility - and if you hear the stories, it was burning inside of him for some time. Like he's been talking about this for years. Then can we not say the same thing? I mean, Sunday, I actually heard it being strategized in our own church how somebody in our own church could now reach it. (incomplete thought) You know, the text that comes to my mind is the one that I know James dealt with in Philippians, that some preach the Gospel for the right reasons; some out of envy and jealousy were preaching the Gospel - no, actually right before that he's talking about his suffering, and he's talking about how it made people bold - even though he's suffering, it's making other people bolder to proclaim the Gospel. Then he goes on to say some do it for the right reasons, and some for not the right reasons. But I think that that's what's going to happen here. I think that what this is going to do - look, if we've got people strategizing in our church - people who you would not think would be thinking about going to Mexico, let alone going to North Sentinel island, they're there strategizing. It just made me think, you know what, that's happening all over the world among God's people right now. And what this is going to do is undoubtedly, if this was one of God's people, and that blood was spilled there, believe me, it won't be in vain - any more in vain than Williams and Harris, because somebody's got to put their foot on the shore. Somebody's got to be the first one to do it. Look, how do people get saved? I mean, we recognize, we recognize the truths of Romans 10. We recognize that they are not going to call upon a Lord, a Christ, that they don't believe in. And they're not going to believe unless they hear. And listen, they're not going to hear unless somebody is preaching. And not anybody is going to set a foot on there to preach unless they're sent. And whether they're sent by the Spirit without any other kind of missionary enterprise or missionary association, but somebody's got to go. (incomplete thought) People are thinking: Well, maybe we could communicate with them in a pictorial fashion. Listen, here's the thing that is a reality: From the time that somebody lands - look, you can only go so far with pictures. You've got to learn their language. And you know what happens during the time you're learning the language? Things often don't go well. "May 1861" Let me tell you something about Erromango. Others came afterwards. Now, John G. Paton didn't go to Erromango. He went to Tana at first. He went somewhere else later. But the Gordons - this is May, 1861. Remember, Harris and Williams died in '39. So we're talking 22 years later. "May 1861 brought with it a sorrowful and tragic event which fell as the very shadow of doom crossed our path." Because even the people that came later, they were able to set their foot on the shore. They weren't immediately clubbed and eaten. But in the time it takes to learn the language to where you're going to try to impart that language and communicate the Gospel to the people, that takes some time. And even when you're trying to communicate the Gospel to the people, you've got to understand, these people have been in darkness. They're demonically controlled. There are witch doctors. There are forces at work. The Reverend G. N. Gordon and his wife. They "went to Erromango on 20th May, 1861. He was working at the roofing of the printing office, and had sent his lads to bring each a load of long grass to finish the roof thatching. Meantime, a party of Erromangons from a district called Bunk Hill under a chief names Lovou had been watching him. They'd been to the mission house inquiring. They'd seen him send away his Christian lads so they found him alone. They then hid in the bush, sent two of their men to the missionary to ask for calico. On a piece of wood, he wrote a note to Mrs. Gordon to give them two yards each. They asked him to go with them to the mission house as they needed medicine for a sick boy, and Lovou their chief wanted to see him. He tied up in a napkin a meal of food which had been brought to him, but not eaten, and started to go with them. He requested the native Narvalette to go on before with his companion, but they insisted upon his going in front. In crossing a streamlet, which I visited shortly afterwards, his foot slipped. A blow was aimed at him with a tomahawk which he caught. The other man struck, but his weapon was also caught. One of the tomahawks was then wrenched out of his grasp. The next moment, a blow on the spine laid the dear missionary low. A second blow on the neck almost severed the head from the body. The other natives then rushed from their ambush, began dancing around him with frantic shoutings. Mrs. Gordon, hearing the noise, came out and stood in front of the mission house looking at the direction of her husband's working place wondering what was happening. Oben, one of the party, who had run towards the station the moment that Mr. Gordon fell, now approached her. A merciful clump of trees had hid from her eyes all that had occurred. And she said to Oben, 'What's the cause of that noise?' He replied, 'Oh, nothing, only the boys amusing themselves.' Saying, 'Where are the boys?' she turned around, Oben slipped stealthily behind her, sank his tomahawk into her back, and with another blow almost severed her head. Such was the fate of these two devoted servants of the Lord, loving in their lives and in their deaths not divided, their spirits wearing the crowns of martyrdom, entered glory together to be welcomed by Williams and Harris whose blood was shed near the same now hallowed spot for the name and cause of Jesus. They had labored four years on Erromango amidst trials and dangers manifold, and had not been without tokens of blessing in the Lord's work. Never more earnest or devoted missionaries lived and died in the heathen field. Other accounts indeed have been published and another was reported to me by Mr. Gordon's Christian lads." And he writes this: "Some severe criticisms, of course, were written and published by those angelic creatures who judge all things from their own safe and easy distance." It was the same in that day. You've got all sorts of people from a long way away. They're the armchair quarterback, and they're going to find fault. And see, it's just like he said. Well, why don't you stay at home? You know, there's needs here. The people that say that, they're not reaching out to the people who have needs here. People can talk. People are full of lots of talk. The truth is that it sounds like some of the people - they're just bent out of shape. It's a white man and he's bringing the white man's religion. White man and his Christianity it sounds like. Listen, this started among the Jews - not white men. It started in the Middle East. And the thing about the Gospel is it's not a tribal religion. It's not just a white man's religion. Paul is very careful to trace the real problem all the way back to Adam. Our problem is not a white problem, a black problem, a red problem, a yellow problem. It's a problem that's traced all the way back to the fact that we are offspring of Adam's. There's no distinction. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. You've got the Indian government. Well, we need to leave them alone. You don't want to introduce all these diseases to them. It will wipe them out. You know what's wiping them out? Sin is wiping them out. Years ago, we had back before the DVD age, we had a number of videos. I think we bought everything that we could buy from New Tribes Missions. And I'll never forget, there was one that I believe was specifically about an island in Indonesia. And of course, you know the New Tribes approach. They walk the people all the way through the Scriptures from the Old Testament all the way. They build and build and build and they come to the cross. And this village - they actually have footage - when they preached the cross and that this was God's answer for sin, like the vast majority of this remote village embraced Christ spontaneously. They were so full of joy. They jumped up and down, hugging each other en masse. They did this for hours! But then you know what the missionary said and what he observed? He said the people would go from rejoicing to uncontrolled wailing, back to rejoicing, back to wailing. Do you know why they wailed? With the understanding of the Gospel and their own receiving of it and their own salvation, they would suddenly be overcome with the reality that all who had gone before them perished. And you know what, often these missionaries were asked by the new converts: why didn't you come before now? Sometimes they would ask questions like - you know the cogs would start moving - how long have you had Christianity where you're from? Oh, for centuries! You know, it almost makes the missionary feel guilty because then the people would look at him like: and you're only coming now? You know what's true about these people on North Sentinel island? % of them are perishing. They're dying. Every single one of them is perishing. Perishing. So what does it take? Well, we need families like the Gordons who pour four years of their life in and then about have their heads taken off. But before that, you've got to have the Williams' and the Harris' that are just willing to put their foot on the beach. We need John Allen Chau's. And you know what, his name will just be lost. Very likely. Very likely, there's not going to be a book like this. Well, there's not a book like this about Williams and Harris. Why? Because how many pages do you need? They landed on the beach. They were clubbed. They were eaten. I mean, you could say that different ways and maybe fill a chapter if you go back and talk about some of their early lives. What I find is that Williams actually labored on other islands before, so there is more about him. Harris - he was a young man probably like Chau, and you can't find hardly anything about him. Who was he? I don't know. Just somebody that put his foot down there and is gone. So, you know, what he was willing to do - he said he didn't want to die. He didn't have a death wish. But he was willing to risk his life to be good to the Great Commission. We don't know all of his motives, but what he says is that he desired to take the Gospel to these people. Does somebody else have a better plan? Or do we just say, well, it's illegal, and so we shouldn't go there? That wasn't the attitude of the early disciples. They said you be judge. Should we obey you? Or should be obey God? Has God told us to go? Because these people that wrote this are right. When it comes to closed countries, we don't say that because some human government says we can't enter that country with the Gospel, we don't take that as: okay, therefore we can't. In fact, that idea of closed country - that's a man-made term. The Bible never talks about closed countries. Jesus said go. He never said: Go only to the "open" countries. No. Every tribe. Every tongue. Every people. Every nation. Every creature. Take the Gospel to them all. Somebody's got to go. Somebody's got to go. The promise of God's Word is there will be North Sentinelese there at the throne. There will be converts. The Gospel will reach them. Despite all the Hindu Indian government; despite man's laws, somebody's got to say: Yes, Lord. Somebody's got to hear that, just like John G. heard this when it came to going to the New Hebrides islands. Cannibals, cannibals! You'll be eaten by the cannibals! North Sentinelese! North Sentinelese! You'll be shot by their arrows! Well, maybe. But you know a hundred years from now, will it really matter that you lived a little bit longer than Chau? And you know, sometimes, it's like it's been said - nobody knows about Jim Elliot's brother who labored on the mission field till he was well into his 80's. Anybody ever heard about him? The thing is he didn't go down in glory. He plugged away decade after decade after decade laboring pretty much unknown. The unknown brother of Jim Elliot. And yet, he gave his whole life on the mission field. You know, the reality is sometimes martyrdom is the easy path. They laid it all on the altar. You know, there is a parable that talks about finding a treasure and selling everything. And who's going to say that this guy didn't sell everything? I mean, are we going to find fault with him? He gave. He gave all that he could. As I was out today, I was thinking about Mary. Do you remember they found fault with her? This isn't just something in John G. Paton's day. This is something that goes all the way back. Go all the way back to Mary. Remember, she comes out and she's doing what? She's doing what she can. And Jesus said that: she's doing what she can. He did what he could. I mean, he gave what he had. You don't have more to give Christ than your life. He laid it all on the altar. I'm not finding fault with that. In fact, something in me jumps, like okay, this is setting something in motion in the spiritual realm. And I have a feeling that it's doing that in the hearts of Christians all over the world. Now, I can imagine the Indian government is going to crack down, at least for a while. They'll double their coast guard two mile perimeter or whatever. But then they'll get lax again when this thing blows over, but I have a feeling Christians are strategizing, people are thinking. We shouldn't count it a strange thing. This isn't some white man's thing. This is Christ's agenda to evangelize the world. We shouldn't count it a strange thing - look, that island, it cannot escape prophecy. It cannot escape the fact that the bull's eye is on it. You can't be the least reached place on the face of the earth and remain that way. Because Jesus Christ who said all authority is given unto Me is the Christ behind that missionary call. Be sure of this: He sits on the throne. He is high. He is exalted. He is lifted up. He has all authority. He's in charge. He stirs His people. Those people are - it's just a matter of time. I mean, it's like the Gospel train is thundering down the tracks, and it's coming for that island. It may be this year. It may be next year. It may be six years. It may be sixty years, but it's coming. Whatever demons are there, they know. They know the Scripture. And we can shout it out. Every tribe and every tongue! And that includes that island. The Gospel's coming there. Some of God's people are going to take it there. The next people might be like the Gordon's. They might make it a little ways before they die. And it might keep going like that. In fact, if you read this book, do you know how much death is in here? The fact that John G. Paton lived is a miracle in the midst of all of this, and they tried to take him out, and God supernaturally preserved him, but a lot of the people died. A lot of the people died. But you know what? After that martyr's blood was spilled, eventually some of these islands - the second island he went to, and the name is escaping me right off - but the second island he went to was almost entirely converted. This is no easy believism preaching. We're talking a Scotch-Presbyterian Calvinist, believed in real, legitimate being born again, and in his estimation, almost the entire island was converted. That Gospel's coming for that island. There's no escape. And if this is the time and martyr's blood has been spilled, watch out. Whatever dark forces you are that are there and inhabiting those people, keeping those people in fear, keeping those people in bondage, your days are numbered. And God may be working in the hearts of some right now that will be the next ones to go there. I have a feeling that's the case. (from the room) You brought up at the beginning the issue of to obey the law or not. You brought up the response of the one who's actually breaking the law in Acts 4 and 5. What stood out to me was the posture that the church took. And if you consider what they're actually praying when they come together, they said, "Grant Your servants to continue to speak Your Word with all boldness." You could even say the church after that happened, the church prayed: allow them to continue what they law just said not to because we're convinced that's what You want. So I kind of take that like: if you're not going to go, I don't think Christians should be on the fence as far as what they should side with. If it's the Lord's command, we ought to be praying for God to lift up more people to oppose such laws and send them out there. Tim: That's how we're going to end with Bobby praying that the church would have boldness. Because they needed it then. Listen, it's a reality. When you're standing against the government and they're threatening you with the sword, they're threatening you with imprisonment - which they threw them in prison - when they're threatening you - they stoned Paul - people died. Jesus never said we wouldn't. That's what we need. We need boldness. But isn't it interesting? This is what I was mentioning before. Throw Paul in prison and what did it do? It emboldened God's people. You might think: Well, hey, they throw the top dog into jail, you'd think kind of like Jesus, you know when they arrested Him, all the disciples went scattering. Yeah, but that was before the Spirit - this missionary Spirit was poured upon the church. When that happened, it did just the opposite. What? Throw Paul in prison, and now it encourages the people of God to break forth with boldness and preach. I mean, I'm telling you, Sunday, we've got people in the church, and I'm not kidding you. I don't think you'd get them to go to Mexico, and I went outside between services, and he starts talking to me and strategizing about how not just somebody from our church could take the Gospel to North Sentinel, how he could! I thought... that's good. That's good. And it made me think there's a lot of Christian people out there who are thinking like him. Well, go ahead and pray, brother. Boldness. Bobby: Father, we thank You for allowing us to even know of such a plan that took place that gives us reason to rejoice in what You've done when You sent Your Son as the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but for Your elect people that You've told us in Your Word are in the world now. We just pray that You would blow on Your people, that Your Spirit would light a fire that can't be extinguished. And Lord, that the history that we see, it wouldn't just be something that we read about, but it would take place in the here and now. As my brother said, we don't know when You would have it to take place, but whoever Your chosen vessels are that are fit for Your use - even fit to have their blood spilt so quickly, Father, I just ask that You would call them, equip them, and blow Your Spirit on them to do Your will that the Lamb would truly receive the reward of His suffering and that Christ would be exalted. And may Christ be exalted in our hearts more as we speak about His Kingdom advancing into this world. I pray that His Kingdom would be advancing even in our own lives. In His name we ask, Amen.