The Art of Dying Well: Missions and the Reality of Martyrdom

Bibliographic information:

Gregory E. Lamb, “The Art of Dying Well: Missions and the Reality of Martyrdom,” EMQ 55.1 (2019): 43–45.



In nuce, this article explores the last three days of John Allen Chau’s life and death in attempting to evangelize the Sentinelese tribe on North Sentinel island, Andaman archipelago, Bay of Bengal, India. On Nov. 17, 2018, Chau was, apparently, murdered by the Sentinelese—one of the most isolated, unreached, and unengaged people groups (UUPG) remaining on earth. This essay identifies the three main opinions toward Chau’s missionary efforts and death, evaluates these opinions by surveying salient excerpts from Chau’s recently released journal, and asks the question: Did Chau’s missionary efforts and death honor Christ? Chau’s story has sparked a firestorm of debate within and without the church, and, as a result, numerous questions surrounding missions and martyrdom have surfaced. This essay seeks to introduce readers to some of these questions and to initiate the conversation with the aim of paving the way forward for future, more detailed discussions.


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