Living in the Bible belt, this books title immediately grabbed me. There is a lot of Cultural Christianity here. Ministry is really hard because most people would tell you they are saved. That is why chapter one of this book is immediately grabbing for me—Help Them Get Lost. Yes, many people in the area I live need help getting lost so they know that they need to be found. If you’re like me, The Unsaved Christian by Dean Inserra may be just the book you’ve been looking for.
Dean Inserra is the founding pastor of City Church in Tallahassee, Florida. He has an MA in theological studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is pursuing a DMin from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also is an advisory member of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Leadership Counsel with the Southern Baptist Convention. Dean writes with honesty and transparency in a way that I feel will leave the reader hopeful and encouraged.
I personally recommend reading this book cover-to-cover, but you will notice when you open it that chapters are laid out in a way that serves the reader. If there is a certain demographic that you find yourself in, whether that be the Bible Belt, Generational Catholics, Mainline Protestants, etc., you can flip straight to that chapter and read it. However, the first few chapters lay the ground work so I would recommend you read those first.
I found Inserra’s insights into the Bible Belt especially helpful given my context. “In the Bible Belt, identifying as a Christian is a way of life, but sadly, believing the gospel and following Jesus often are not” (169). He says later, “In ministering to the Bible Belt, don’t fight against the Christ-haunting culture of the South—use it as a means to preach Christ” (177). I have always said that ministry is very difficult when everyone thinks they’re saved, but Inserra has given me confidence through his advice that the Lord has great work for us to do here in the South.
There are large parts of the United States infected with Cultural Christianity. Inserra calls on Christians to quit being timid, embrace what needs to be done, and take action—a message we all need to hear. “Reaching a Cultural Christian requires three primary things: a refusal to be in denial, gospel clarity, and boldness to speak the truth in love” (182). No matter the context you find yourself in, this book will benefit you. May we all follow Inserra’s advice and face the facts, know the gospel, and pray for boldness to lovingly share the truth with those who may be confused.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody in exchange for a fair and honest review.