Most of the World has not Heard the Gospel
The command was given and they began their historic descent. There is no turning back now. Descending at 65 feet per second, they are attempting to do something that has never been done before. In a few moments, there will be either a victorious landing of NASA’s lunar module, the Eagle, or a tragic disaster. Houston control waits anxiously for what seems like hours. Suddenly, over the loud speaker comes Commander Armstrong’s now legendary phrase, "The Eagle has landed!"
Man had landed on the moon. Advancements in technology and transportation allowed America to accomplish what mankind had dreamed about for centuries. Technology has spread its influence all over the world, even to areas that we consider "primitive." Because of this global influence, many Christians assume the gospel message has also permeated the world. They view the world as basically evangelized and the subject of the heathen as involving only a small population of natives in some distant jungle. Yet, this subject of heathenism involves a much larger spectrum.
As mentioned in the previous chapter, less than 7% of those living today are born-again Christians. About 50% of the world’s population still does not even know who Jesus Christ is. China, with 1.2 billion people, has only a limited gospel witness. Approximately 75% of the world’s population does not have a clear understanding of the gospel.
Just because a person has heard of Christianity or Jesus Christ does not mean he has a clear enough understanding of the gospel to go to Heaven. Many of us have heard of Buddhism, Hinduism or Confucianism, yet very few of us understand their methods of salvation. This vagueness with which we view other world religions is the same vagueness with which the world views our religion, Christianity. Therefore, can we say these people have truly "heard the gospel?" If the answer is no, then most of the world must be classified as heathen.
Our heavily exposed "Christian nation" can be used to illustrate this point further. Much of our population does not understand the salvation message. Conduct a survey yourself. It will surprise you to see the lack of understanding Americans have concerning the gospel. Many of them will be able to parrot the familiar cliches such as "Jesus died for our sins" or "you have to accept Jesus as your savior." Yet, if asked to explain the mechanics of how a person dying on a cross could save them from their sins, few could explain it. Moreover, if questioned further, many of the people surveyed will add "live a good life, keep the Ten Commandments, go to church."
Thus, just because a person knows about Jesus Christ and Christianity does not mean he has a clear understanding of the gospel. Being aware Jesus Christ existed and died on a cross is not enough to save anyone. People in America are saturated with the gospel message, yet it is still often misunderstood. These misunderstandings are even more prevalent in areas where exposure to the gospel is less.
Many people remain unreached due to barriers in language, geographic location or technical deficiencies. Others are "happy" with their religion and do not feel it necessary to listen to differing ideas. Take yourself, for example. Can you truly say you have taken the time to carefully examine the other major religions? If you haven’t, how can you expect the rest of the world to carefully examine Christianity?
World's Major Religions (1999)
Source: World Almanac 2000, CIA Book of Facts, and the Book of Facts 2000.
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