Every so often, I would read or hear that the United States is still the nation that sends out most missionaries to the world. Indeed, the word “mission” often invokes images of Christian missionaries going to and serving in third-world countries where the Gospel of Christ has not yet been preached. We certainly should praise the Lord for American Missionaries, who contribute to the work of God’s kingdom in such unmatched magnitude.
Meanwhile, as a first-generation Chinese-American Christian who has lived in the United States for almost 20 years, I honestly and rarely see a mainstream American church of the Evangelical faith actively engage in evangelistic efforts to convert unbelievers who are their fellow countrymen.
As a nation, the U.S. sends out most missionaries to the world, and yet here in the U.S. we don’t do evangelism anymore? Where is the disconnect? Have we given up on the United States of America entirely? The land where the pious Puritans arrived from the other side of the Atlantic to pursue religious freedom?; the land on which we have seen great spiritual revivals during the First and Second Great Awakenings?
On the other hand, many in the United States considered themselves “evangelicals.” And yet, these are “evangelicals” who no longer “evangelize.” What an irony?! To me, American Evangelicalism is not so much about the gospel per se. It has more to do with exerting political influence to advance Christian political agenda (nothing wrong with that) than doing something evangelistically. Namely, preaching the Gospel; in this case, to their fellow countrymen who are unbelievers, 100 million, 200 million, perhaps even 300 million of them.
No, American Evangelicalism is not normal; American Evangelicals are not normal; for it is a misnomer to attribute the root of the Greek word “evangelium (εὐαγγέλιον, which means “the Gospel” or “Good News”) to American Evangelicalism and to American Evangelicals. They are no longer actively evangelizing and preaching the Gospel. They are too complacent.
To this, American Christians and churches should be truly ashamed.
November 11, 2013