The Tragedy of North Sentinal Island

Does missions mean just sharing the gospel with people, or does it mean more than that?

Earlier this year, John Allen Chau, a 26-year-old American Christian missionary, tried to reach the people of north Sentinal Island, in the Bay of Bengal. He was killed, and the government of India has not been able to recover his body.

On the surface, the incident sounds like a noble but tragic attempt to share the gospel with hard-hearted tribes-people. There is a problem, though.

The people of North Sentinal Island have been isolated from the rest of the world since very ancient times. They have lived on this island for most of human history. Because of this, they have no resistance to diseases that other humans would bring. Germs that would be harmless to Chau would be deadly to the inhabitants of the island. If they had welcomed Chau into their lives, or if they had even let him live on the island, they would have died. So they killed him, and the gospel was not presented.

I believe that Chau had good motives, but he was not wise. It is an extreme example of how Christians bringing the gospel can cause more harm than good if proper care is not taken.

How can we share the gospel without sharing germs? Post any ideas in the comments section.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *