Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I see dead people.

David Sitton* makes a distinction between "unevangelized" and "unreached" (emphasis mine throughout the quotation below).
There’s an important difference between unevangelized and unreached peoples.

Unevangelized people are unconverted individuals in places where there are established churches. Unreached peoples are those that live in regions where there are no churches and no access to the evangelical gospel in their culture.

And to answer your question about the present trend; 96% of the missionary work force is still laboring in unevangelized, but not truly unreached regions. Here it is again – 9 out of 10 Christian missionaries that go cross-cultural are still going to reached places!

Here’s still another way to say it – Something like 90% of all “ministers” worldwide are concentrating on only 2% of the world’s population! We are massively overly evangelizing places where the gospel is already well planted! I believe that we need a substantial strategic redeployment of the missionary workforce to the areas where there is still no access to the evangelical gospel.

I've long been averse to the "everyone's a missionary" verbiage, even though everyone should be doing his/her evangelistic part to get THE mission accomplished. Like John Piper, I reserve that term for those who leave their homeland & family to cross a culture and relocate to an area needing the Gospel.

I'm not necessarily saying only those going to unreached peoples should be considered or labeled "missionaries," but I wonder if Paul would:
"I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation" (Romans 15:20, ESV)
Either way, we could sure use some more who are willing to see (spiritually) dead people and set out to reach the unreached, which is much more difficult by far.
*President of To Every Tribe Ministries, while being interviewed by Alex Chediak. (HT Justin Taylor)



At 01 October, 2009 11:35, Blogger Matthew Bradley said...


Brief push back here. I think by controlling the definition of terms the person you're quoting is manipulating the data. Let's put this on an individual level and reconsider. An unevangelized person (according to your quote) may or may not have heard the gospel. An unreached person will certainly not have heard it. He goes on to argue (by implication) that we ought to spend less time in the merely unevangelized and more time/effort/resource etc in the unreached. I think the dichotomy is false. Missionaries to the unevangelized (again, to use his term) group are seeking to stuff the gospel into every dark corner into which it has not yet reached. They are, essentially, seeking to find the micro-unreached areas contained in a macro-unevangelized area. This would seem to undermine his argument.

Furthermore, it is particularly statistically incorrect to compare the number of those ministering (by percentage) to one group as opposed to the other. First, he does a slight of hand by referring not to missionaries here, but ministers, thereby vastly increasing the number of people ministering in a context in which the gospel has indeed already been declared. Second, the implication that 98% of the world's population exists in those areas that (by HIS definition of the word) are unreached, is simply not true.

This quote smacks of the kind of revivalistic (of the bad sort) bad information used poorly in order to try and motivate people to a good work.

I think it both underestimates the Church's current work to reach unreached peoples and is dismissive of the work missionaries are doing in the supposed unevangelized areas.

What say you? (Of course you realize that I'm having to pick on you because there has been no Gingerman slooge in such a long time!)

At 01 October, 2009 22:03, Anonymous Lance said...

Does the headline mean that you've FINALLY seen "The Sixth Sense"?


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