Prior to 1974, most of the Church and mission organizations defined “unreached” people as being countries where the gospel had not been preached. In “that year at the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism, Ralph Winter shocked and indicted the Western missionary enterprise with what he called “people blindness””. What is “people blindness”? The following is a direct quote from Ralph Winter:
“Why is this fact not more widely known? I’m afraid that all our exultation about the fact that every country of the world has been penetrated [with the gospel] has allowed many to suppose that every culture has by now been penetrated. This misunderstanding is a malady so widespread that it deserves a special name. Let us call it “people blindness,” that is, blindness to the existence of separate peoples within countries – a blindness, I might add, which seems more prevalent in the U.S. and among U.S. missionaries than anywhere else.” (1)
Was this idea created by Ralph Winter? Absolutely not! Jesus refers to these “nations or ethnos” six times in the gospels (Matthew 24:14; 25:32; 28:19; Mark 11:10; Luke 24:46-47; and John 11:51-52). These and other references He made were not to political countries as we know them today. The urgency of reaching those who have never heard surged forward 43 years ago in many mission minded people, but has the clarion call been forgotten? Looking at the progress in the two decades, it is evident there is much more to do with 6,992 unreached people groups. If you are interested in learning more, click on the “more” page and follow the “Materials” link to see more websites that explain how to accelerate the process of reaching those people groups who have not heard the glorious gospel of grace.
(1) “The New Macedonia: A Revolutionary New Era in Mission Begins”, in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 1999, page 346.
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