Are American Evangelicals an “Unreached People Group”?

I know it may sound amazing, but I think I have discovered a new tribal target for brave missionaries!  For a while now I have wondered if professing American Christians know what Christianity actually is according to the Bible.  Have they ever even heard the true Gospel message?  It seems as though most churchgoing folk these days come up blank when asked “What is the Gospel?” or they give answers such as “You can ask Jesus into your heart” or that “God has a wonderful plan for your life”, which are found nowhere in Scripture and are simply modern-day religious fairy tales.  I know that many denominations track “unreached people groups” which are tribes or nations that have never heard the Gospel, and recently I have begun to think that perhaps the tribe “American Evangelical” should be added to that list.

Of course, if American Evangelicals are added to the list, then we must change how we view this “tribe”.  Right now, those who preach the Biblical Gospel (the good news that the forgiveness of sins is available to those who repent and trust in Christ’s work on the Cross alone to pay the penalty for their sins) are, for the most part, making very little effort to reach out to their evangelical neighbor.  That must change if we formally recognize them as having never heard the true, biblical gospel message.  But consider yourself warned!  It can be intimidating to approach these particular tribesman, even scary!  To approach a person who professes Christianity and regularly attends church with the awkward message of, “Hey, have you ever looked at what the Bible really says about sin, repentance, the Cross and the bearing of fruit in keeping with repentance?” is to ask for trouble.  The invitation to compare beliefs with Scripture is usually viewed as coming from a “fanatic” or “legalist”.  People get offended, and fast!  In their own eyes they are good, honest, churchgoing people, which makes them Christian.  They said “The Prayer” at one point and their pastor says they are saved, so they consider themselves in good standing with the Lord.  It is offensive to be told that their Christianity should be examined for validity.  Yet that is exactly what the Apostle Paul told us we should all do:

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.  2 Corinthians 13:5

Folks, we should all examine our faith in the light of Scripture, and we should encourage those around us to do the same.  We need to share with others what sin really is (rebellion against God, crimes against His law) and discuss who the God of the Bible really is ( A God who is indeed loving and patient, but who is also a just Judge that will never pardon the guilty).  We need to share the good news that Jesus wasn’t just setting an example of self-sacrifice on the Cross, but was actually paying for the crimes of His people so that they might go free when brought before the Holy and just Judge.  We must also point out that good deeds flow from a true Christian, it is not doing good deeds that makes a true Christian.  If an ever-deepening separation from sin isn’t a pattern in life, than the one professing Christianity is probably deceived. (1st John 2:3-6)

When discussing these things with an American Evangelical tribe member, remember one thing:  If they get angry and offended, there is a pretty decent chance that they haven’t heard much biblical truth in the past.  The vast majority of American Pastors are too busy preaching purpose, destiny, excitement, family values, obedience and the idea of living a rich full life to be bothered with such “archaic” and “irrelevant” messages like the one that brings life to the spiritually dead.  These tribes-people have been deceived and kept in the dark for a very long time.  When you bring the light for the first time, it is much like being awakened in the middle of the night with a flashlight in your eyes.  It is annoying, it stings, and it makes you angry!  You will likely encounter these reactions as you mingle among the American Evangelical tribe.

In closing, please allow me to challenge you, Christian Brothers and Sisters.  Have you felt the urge to reach out to an unreached people group?  They aren’t all in Africa or the mountains of Peru, you know!  Let me encourage you to go forth boldly into this hostile tribal land!  Encourage your church to put funds away for reaching these tribesman who walk our own streets.  Does your church have a missions fund? Probably! But does it have a fund for local evangelism? Most churches never even discuss such a fund!  Our Lord commanded us to go out locally (which does not mean waiting at the church-house for them to come to you), He deserves to have the story of what He did proclaimed to all (He deserves to receive the credit & glory due) and your friends and neighbors need to hear.  So go to the tribe without delay!  Go!!

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