The American missionary who was brutally murdered after he attempted to reach a remote tribe on an island in the Bay of Bengal was previously filmed talking about the importance of being bold for Christ. In an almost decade-old clip that was posted to YouTube, John Allen Chau can be heard talking about a recent mission to Mexico and revealing some of his deeply-held beliefs and convictions that may have led him to attempt his fatal expedition.
“As Christians, we can’t stay the same,” Chau declared in what appears to be a school classroom, before referencing the passage from Romans 6 that instructs believers to “die to sin.”
“We need to change,” he urged. “We can’t just call ourselves Christians. In John 4:15, Jesus tells us that if you love me, you will obey my commands.”
Chau went on to highlight verses from Matthew 28, in which Jesus says “Go and make disciples of all nations.” This passage is probably the most widely cited text for motivating Christians to travel across the earth to preach the good news of Christ.
Chau continued: “If we call ourselves Christians, we need to live our lives for Him and obey these commands. We can’t stay stagnant and lukewarm.” He then recited Revelation 3:16, a jarring passage that warns believers they run he risk of being “spat out” if they remain lackluster in their faith.
“We need to know what we believe,” a quiet-spoken Chau declared, again citing scripture, this time from 1 Peter 3:15.
“We either change, or we don’t believe.”
Though a number of years old, the short clip certainly sheds some light on the missionary’s heartfelt convictions about evangelism and the call to be radical in reaching others with the gospel.
John Allen Chau, 26, was shot dead by arrow-wielding tribesmen belonging to the Sentinelese tribe of the North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal after he allegedly traveled to the protected community with the aim of preaching the gospel.
While many have been critical of Chau for traveling to such a fragile community and putting them at risk of infection, others have come to his defense, describing him as a man devoted to helping others.
Justin Graves, a friend of Chau’s from the Canada Institute of Linguistics, told Faithwire that Chau was a compassionate individual with a zealous passion for reaching far-flung people groups with the gospel of Jesus Christ. “More than anything, he cared about people,” Graves explained. “His love for the kids he worked with in his soccer program was very clear. He especially loved talking about those unreached people groups that he thought really needed the Gospel.”
Graves noted that he and Chau would often skip chapel to talk about John’s desire to see more people of different religions and traditions come to faith in Jesus. “We had very good chats about how strongly he felt about bringing them the Gospel, including this specific tribe,” his good friend revealed to Faithwire. “That’s what stuck out to me about him.”
Despite some effort to retrieve Chau’s body from the remote island, the search was called off indefinitely in a bid to appease minority rights groups who felt the ancient Sentinelese Tribe should not be disturbed. Those responsible for the American’s death are unlikely to ever be prosecuted for their crime.