Reaching the unreached

Dear Editor,

This letter responds to a couple of articles by Rev. Daniel Kleyn in the October 1 and December 15, 2021 [SB] issues entitled “Worldwide preaching and the return of Christ.”

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). This sign is set alongside the rise of Antichrist and his kingdom, rightly, because when he comes to power, all mission work will cease. Thus worldwide preaching and rise of Antichrist are two clear pointers to the nearness of the end of the world.

Many, including Rev. Kleyn, think the Great Commission to disciple all nations is nearly fulfilled because almost all the political nations of the world have a church of some sort. Is this what Christ meant? “Nations” in the Greek is ta ethne, the word from which we get ethnic, an adjective describing a group of people of similar race, language, and culture, not a political nation of which there are over 200 today.

The facts: World population (estimate) 2022 is 8 billion, comprising 10,000 people groups (some overlap political boundaries).

Estimates are that 95% of the world’s population have access to Scripture in a language they can understand, which is excellent news; yet 2 billion people live in “unreached people groups.”

The best resource on this is the website Joshua Project (https://joshuaproject.net).

A people group is a significantly large group of individuals who have a common affinity for one another, sharing language, religion, ethnicity, residence, class or caste, and more.

All the elect of God from every people group will be saved, but discipling the peoples means more than converts; rather, it means believers who have a certain maturity. “Teaching them to observe all things.”

I have written this letter because many are ignorant of the present facts regarding world evangelization including those in the Protestant Reformed Churches and their sisters.

You could argue that a handful of disciples in a people group today, or such disciples in past history, would suffice to demonstrate that the Great Commission has been fulfilled. However, the fact that so many groups have not been discipled today makes this highly unlikely.

“Our mission is to see vibrant, growing, mature churches planted and multiplied among every people and so fulfil our Lord’s mandate” (Operation World, p. 23).

Apparently, few of the unreached peoples have no Christians but believers constitute a very small minority (average 0.4%, which is 4 in 1,000).

Frontier People Groups (FPGs) are Unreached People Groups with estimated Christian adherents less than or equal to 0.1% and no confirmed, sustained church planting. Joshua Project data shows almost 5,000 groups with total population of 2,004,095,000, with little chance of hearing about Jesus from someone in their own people group.

Only a tiny portion of mission prayer and resources go to FPGs. Very few mission agencies and churches send even 1% of their missionaries or financial support to work among them. “Frontier groups indicate the huge needs for evangelism and church planting that remain in the world. Many people assume the Great Commission is all but accomplished, but our data indicates that is far from true” (Bill Morrison, Joshua Project).

Examples of Frontier Groups are East Uyghur (China) 8.8m; The Baloch (Pakistan) 9m; Yemeni Arabs 20m.

The Indian sub-continent has the largest concentration and variety of least-reached peoples on earth. Here are two examples: Bania (16m) and Brahmin (34m).

“Pray the Lord of the harvest.“

Sources:

Praying through the Window III, The Unreached Peoples, ed. Patrick Johnstone. Seattle: YWAM publishing, 1996.

Operation World 7th edition, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: WEC international and Biblica publications, 2010.

Julian Kennedy

Covenant PRC

Ballymena, Northern Ireland