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Monday, January 7, 2019

Ethics of missionary work called into question after death of American missionary John Allen Chau

Holly Meyer
Nashville Tennessean
Originally published December 2, 2018

Christians are facing scrutiny for evangelizing in remote parts of the world after members of an isolated tribe in the Bay of Bengal killed a U.S. missionary who was trying to tell them about Jesus.

The death of John Allen Chau raises questions about the ethics of missionary work and whether he acted appropriately by contacting the Sentinelese, a self-sequestered Indian tribe that has resisted outside contact for thousands of years.

It is tragic, but figuring out what can be learned from Chau's death honors his memory and passion, said Scott Harris, the missions minister at Brentwood Baptist Church and a former trustee chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board.

"In general, evaluation and accountability is so needed," Harris said. "Maturing fieldworkers that have a heart for the cultures of the world will welcome honest, hard questions." 

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