When I asked last night’s BlogTalkRadio guest, Tony Huynh (pronounced “Win”), a millennial seminary student working for a Masters in Theological Studies focusing on race, gender and politics, what he would say to the Boomer generation, he surprised me with a shocking answer. He said that in terms of Christianity, Boomers may be the most unreached people group in America for the gospel.
If you’re a Boomer like me, you wonder how Christian Boomers in America can be an unreached people group for Christ and His church when we have such a strong Christian presence in this country. I just recently read that there are more evangelical Christians in the White House now than ever before in history. In the last few elections, evangelical Christians have been one of the most sought-after voting blocs in the country. That’s even saying that Christian Boomers are in a position of political power, and yet Tony believes we are an “unreached people group” for the gospel. What does he mean?
What he means is that evangelicals are in effect perpetuating America’s version of Christianity, and not the Christian faith that began because of a 1st century Jewish man named Jesus, who taught that the poor are the most blessed people on earth, as are those who mourn, who hunger and thirst after justice on the earth, who are humble and merciful and who are those who work for peace among all. “And if Boomers continue to hold on to their personal values and convictions, rather than the values of Jesus, I think they harden themselves against the liberating message of the Gospel.” In other words, they received a message, it’s just not the right one. It’s not the real message Jesus brought to us.
Tony is not alone in this thinking. George Barna in his book Maximum Faith researched thousands of Christians in America and found ten different stages of spiritual transformation, and 89% of the Christians he interviewed don’t make it beyond stage 3, which is a sort of adherence to an American cultural Christianity and nothing about sin, salvation, sacrifice, sanctification and following the words of Jesus. That means 89% of the people in churches in America have made some kind of profession of faith, but they have not been transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Of course we cannot be the judge of anyone’s faith, but thinking of Boomers as an unreached people group when it comes to the real words and works of Jesus is a sobering way of realizing that evangelical Christianity is greatly misunderstood and misrepresented in this country. We have a folk religion in America that calls itself Christian and yet has very little to do with truly following Christ. Hold American Christianity up to the words of Jesus and they don’t jibe. American Christianity is more American than Christian.
This should make us want to study and ask God to give us fresh new lenses with which to look at our faith and the word of God. That’s why we are looking at the Book of Acts right now and the words of Jesus in an attempt to re-establish just what it means to be a follower of Christ in these days.
It took a millennial to give us a new look at ourselves, and if he’s right, we have our work cut out for us here at the Catch — taking the word of God to an unreached people group… ourselves.