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The Unsaved Christian: Reaching Cultural Christianity with the Gospel

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What to do when they say theyre Christian but dont know Jesus Whether its the Christmas and Easter Christians or the faithful church attenders whose hearts are cold toward the Lord, weve all encountered cultural Christians. Theyd check the Christian box on a survey, theyre fine with church, but the truth is, theyre far from God. So how do we bring Jesus to this overlooked What to do when they say they’re Christian but don’t know Jesus Whether it’s the Christmas and Easter Christians or the faithful church attenders whose hearts are cold toward the Lord, we’ve all encountered cultural Christians. They’d check the Christian box on a survey, they’re fine with church, but the truth is, they’re far from God. So how do we bring Jesus to this overlooked mission field? The Unsaved Christian equips you to confront cultural Christianity with honesty, compassion, and grace, whether you’re doing it from the pulpit or the pews. This practical guide will: show you how to recognize cultural Christianity teach you how to overcome the barriers that get in the way give you easy-to-understand advice about VBS, holiday services, reaching “good people,” and more! If you’ve ever felt stuck or unsure how to minister to someone who identifies as Christian but still needs Jesus, this book is for you. 


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What to do when they say theyre Christian but dont know Jesus Whether its the Christmas and Easter Christians or the faithful church attenders whose hearts are cold toward the Lord, weve all encountered cultural Christians. Theyd check the Christian box on a survey, theyre fine with church, but the truth is, theyre far from God. So how do we bring Jesus to this overlooked What to do when they say they’re Christian but don’t know Jesus Whether it’s the Christmas and Easter Christians or the faithful church attenders whose hearts are cold toward the Lord, we’ve all encountered cultural Christians. They’d check the Christian box on a survey, they’re fine with church, but the truth is, they’re far from God. So how do we bring Jesus to this overlooked mission field? The Unsaved Christian equips you to confront cultural Christianity with honesty, compassion, and grace, whether you’re doing it from the pulpit or the pews. This practical guide will: show you how to recognize cultural Christianity teach you how to overcome the barriers that get in the way give you easy-to-understand advice about VBS, holiday services, reaching “good people,” and more! If you’ve ever felt stuck or unsure how to minister to someone who identifies as Christian but still needs Jesus, this book is for you. 

30 review for The Unsaved Christian: Reaching Cultural Christianity with the Gospel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Halloran

    A really helpful book for someone like me who has many friends that seem to be nominal believers (what Inserra calls unsaved Christians) and who ministers to many people who think they are saved but probably arent. A really helpful book for someone like me who has many friends that seem to be nominal believers (what Inserra calls ‘unsaved Christians’) and who ministers to many people who think they are saved but probably aren’t.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rod

    What a strange little book: how exactly do you get an Unsaved Christian to read this book??? I have no idea. The Prophet Jonah would threaten them with 40 days and then destruction. (that actually works better than the nice guy approach this book seems to hint at.) I've been trying to come up with some tests for those folks who claim to be Christians. They aren't fool proof necessarily - but they hint at the truth. Here's some: Stop a person in mid conversation (or debate?) and ask them how much What a strange little book: how exactly do you get an Unsaved Christian to read this book??? I have no idea. The Prophet Jonah would threaten them with 40 days and then destruction. (that actually works better than the nice guy approach this book seems to hint at.) I've been trying to come up with some tests for those folks who claim to be Christians. They aren't fool proof necessarily - but they hint at the truth. Here's some: Stop a person in mid conversation (or debate?) and ask them how much they LOVE the Jesus of the Bible. Almost anytime I felt the urge to poke at this - the person refused to answer. Personally, I'd love to have someone i'm arguing with ask me this. What a joy to answer it. Ask a person if Jesus is 100% their Messiah, Savior, King, High Priest, Lamb Slain For the Sins of the World, and GOD. This will quickly disperse 90% of Church goers and religious liberal agnostics (and Cultic Spiritualists) who are confused about their Christianity. If you say “Sovereign God” that will get rid of another 6%. So this book is about reaching and discerning who these unsaved people are. I doubt many of them would dare read a book like this. Not with all the Joel Osteen books, and Dr. Phil books, and Deepak Chopra books. And books that are mostly Against the claims of God's historically and factually reliable Bible. (unsaved people will always find something in God's Word to hate and confuse). I would say that this book is mostly about the problem at hand and clarifying what exactly an unsaved person is. The Bible was full of these as well. Remember Ananias and Sapphira in the book of Acts (God smote them for lying about their tithes in the 1st century foundation of HIS church). Not a lot of ministry, forgiveness and counseling happened - just a God Given "Smote". So why are people so close to the Gospel yet just don't get it? Interesting issue. Like me - some have had it poorly explained to them (freakin' Methodists and Mennonites and Wesleyan feel good sermons). But when an Elect of God hears the Good News, it should be a joy to their heart and they are desperate to pursue it. No matter what crap they've been fed for the last 25 years. Hint: Start reading your Bibles carefully and slowly and fully. This will prevent 90% of your insanity and lack of discernment. The author shows us how Youth Groups have failed. How Bible studies have failed. How Church itself has failed. We fail because we make it about US instead of about the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus is very demanding. But loving. As long as you're humbly and truthfully pursuing Him. (most aren't). This book also nicely bashes the bad habits and bad theology of Catholics and Charismatics and Liberals. It's almost impossible to get past those bad mountains of rebellious sin. But the Apostle Paul made it after persecuting Christians to death. So there's a small chance. (if God chooses to make it so).

  3. 5 out of 5

    George P.

    Matthew 7:2123 is one of the most sobering passages of the Bible. Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, Jesus tells His disciples, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. What does it mean to say, Lord, Lord? Jesus explains: Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Regardless of their displays of spiritual power, Jesus Matthew 7:21–23 is one of the most sobering passages of the Bible. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus tells His disciples, “but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” What does it mean to say, “Lord, Lord”? Jesus explains: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’” Regardless of their displays of spiritual power, Jesus’ verdict is negative: “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Dean Inserra opens The Unsaved Christian with this passage because it so starkly portrays the self-deception of self-identified Christians whom Christ cannot identify as His own. “These petitioners Jesus spoke of loved to say, ‘didn’t we?’ when they should have been saying, ‘didn’t He?’” In other words, they practiced self-righteousness, attempting to merit salvation through powerful spiritual works, rather than receiving God’s gracious gift of righteousness in Christ through repentance and faith in Him. Today, many self-identified American Christians don’t claim to prophesy or exorcize demons or work miracles, but the central insight of The Unsaved Christian is that they are nevertheless as lost as the “evildoers” of Matthew 7:23. They are Christians in name only, practitioners of cultural Christianity. “Cultural Christianity is a mindset that places one’s security in heritage, values, rites of passage (such as a first communion or a baptism from childhood), and a generic deity, rather than the redemptive work of Jesus Christ,” writes Inserra. He goes on to provide a taxonomy of eight types of cultural Christians: 1. Country Club Christian: “Self-focused, not missional; church just happens to be the social club of their preference." 2. Christmas & Easter Christian: “Holds the Christian holidays close with sentimentality, but the implications of these holidays seem to have little impact on daily life.” 3. God & Country Christian: “Is ‘proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free’; digests everything first as an American or member of a certain political party, not as a believer. Can have blinders on to what really matters." 4. Liberal Social Justice Christian: “Feels strongly about specific social justice issues; compromises biblical teachings in light of cultural whims; believes that politicians and legislation can fix the world.” 5. Good Guy Next Door Christian: “Believes God wants people to be good and kind to each other as taught in most world religions; Jesus just so happens to be the mascot, but the specifics of Christianity aren’t really relevant.” 6. Generational Catholic Christian: “Generally either views Catholicism as a heritage or carries significant guilt to be loyal to its tenants.” (I think Inserra means “tenets.”) 7. Mainline Protestant: “Generally believes vague things about the Bible but is prone to discard it in favor of the pressing beliefs of the day. Proclaims God’s love in terms of license to seek comfort.” 8. Bible Belt Christian: “Displays external forms of religiosity and would be offended to be called an atheist, but in actuality, Jesus has little impact on their lives.” These eight varieties of cultural Christians are ideal types, obviously, but they do describe a lot of the features of what passes for Christianity in contemporary American culture. For each variety, Inserra elaborates on what it mistakes the gospel for, identifies starting points for gospel conversations, and shows how the gospel, correctly understood, both challenges and provides a remedy for it. Take the Bible Belt Christianity, for example. It is typically found in the South, which Flannery O’Connor described as “Christ-haunted.” Its “unofficial liturgy” is country music, and Inserra provides an insightful look at the religious outlook of three contemporary country songs. Based on those songs, he comments: “Sadly, many people in the Bible Belt are haunted by the idea of Christ, while not understanding His love for them. The judgment of God lingers in their minds. Believing the gospel would allow them to understand that it is the kindness of God that can actually lead them to repentance (Rom. 2:4). With an awareness of God and our sins, but not the gospel, one is only left with country music theology, hoping God will let us into heaven one day after we have some fun on earth.” Inserra closes The Unsaved Christian by enumerating three things necessary for evangelizing cultural Christians: “a refusal to be in denial, gospel clarity, and boldness to speak the truth in love” (emphasis in original). Inserra is a pastor, and he intends his book as an aid to pastors and other concerned Christians who long to “make disciples” of Jesus Christ” (Matthew 28:19). Distinguishing between authentic and nominal Christianity is never easy, especially in a supposedly Christian nation, but it’s an evangelistic necessity, lest we leave people thinking what we did, rather than what He did, saves us. Book Reviewed Dean Inserra, The Unsaved Christian: Reaching Cultural Christianity with the Gospel (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2019). P.S. If you found my review helpful, please click “Helpful” on my Amazon review page. P.P.S. This review is cross-posted from InfluenceMagazine.com with permission.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    Thinking I deserve heaven is a sure sign I have no understanding of the Gospel. (Deciding if someone else deserves heaven is another one.) Cultural Christians are those who genuinely believes they are on good terms with God because of church familiarity, a generic moral code, a political affiliation, a religious family heritage, etc. Cultural Christianity is largely based on confusion, whereas the hypocrite and the false teacher have a "Christianity"based on deceit. - Welcome to a new mission Thinking I deserve heaven is a sure sign I have no understanding of the Gospel. (Deciding if someone else deserves heaven is another one.) Cultural Christians are those who genuinely believes they are on good terms with God because of church familiarity, a generic moral code, a political affiliation, a religious family heritage, etc. Cultural Christianity is largely based on confusion, whereas the hypocrite and the false teacher have a "Christianity"based on deceit. - Welcome to a new mission field. Maybe this text is about you, maybe it's for you to grab the gospel in a different light, maybe its for you to see a whole new mission field than what you currently have been pursuing. The text starts with the case of the unsaved Christian. One who believes or is deceived into believing that they are in the fold. It follows with Religion without salvation and what that looks like. False Assurance of salvation. How church is more of a country club than a place of worship. The cultural of holidays and political affiliations. Even how being good does not mean being saved. Each chapter is clear on the wrong believe and deed and steers the sinner to the heart of your salvation. A heart totally living for God. So if you are doubting your own salvation, you may start reading this without any hope. I had felt that way myself but as I continued on, there is hope. There is hope in the Person of Christ, there is hope in his word, and with other like-minded believers. A text for today culture. Highly recommend. A Special Thank you to Moody Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Extremely helpful. Dean Inserra gets to the heart of the disconnect I feel living in the Bible Belt where everyones a Christian, but still seems so lost. He breaks down different categories of cultural Christians and provides ways to approach sharing the true Gospel with them. Extremely helpful. Dean Inserra gets to the heart of the disconnect I feel living in the Bible Belt where everyone’s a “Christian”, but still seems so lost. He breaks down different categories of cultural Christians and provides ways to approach sharing the true Gospel with them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Having grown up in the exact culture that this book addresses, this book was ON. POINT. Hearing the Gospel for the first time, and then saying, Why is this something I never heard all those years in church, was so apt. Its a sad reality of the landscape of our American churches, but it gives us a good starting place with the Gospel. Beings as Im doing full-time ministry in Bible Belt America, this book was not only informative, but a helpful tool for ministry moving forward. It helped give me Having grown up in the exact culture that this book addresses, this book was ON. POINT. Hearing the Gospel for the first time, and then saying, “Why is this something I never heard all those years in church,” was so apt. It’s a sad reality of the landscape of our American churches, but it gives us a good starting place with the Gospel. Beings as I’m doing full-time ministry in Bible Belt America, this book was not only informative, but a helpful tool for ministry moving forward. It helped give me lots of contextual pointers for reaching this specific subculture. And really, for Dean Inserra to speak into American Christian culture as a whole in this book was good for me to hear to help me assess this reality from an outsiders POV. The author talks in broad strokes about specific types of people, churches, areas, etc. which obviously wouldn’t always be 100% accurate of every subject. Read these parts with a filter as it’s obviously not absolute truth, but just general stereotypes. Overall, thumbs up, exclamation point.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Really fantastic. So insightful and helpful, and he addresses some nuance about American Christianity that was so refreshing to hear. Read this, and be edified!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Ray

    Sometimes (and in some places) in the United States an evangelist or pastor can feel that there is not much of a mission field. After all, we live in a strongly Judeo-Christian culture, one where most people seem to know at least a little about Christianity. However, according to Dean Inserra, that just makes our mission field more difficult. After all, cultural Christianity and growing up with a Christian heritage are not the same things as actually believing in the gospel of Christ. Inserra Sometimes (and in some places) in the United States an evangelist or pastor can feel that there is not much of a mission field. After all, we live in a strongly Judeo-Christian culture, one where most people seem to know at least a little about Christianity. However, according to Dean Inserra, that just makes our mission field more difficult. After all, cultural Christianity and growing up with a Christian heritage are not the same things as actually believing in the gospel of Christ. Inserra wrote this book to give pictures of different basic types of cultural Christians, including some key characteristics and points at which to be able to start gospel conversations. These pictures range from nominal Christians to heritage Catholics to more liberal mainline Protestant denominations. He concludes with some pointers on how to determine if your own Christianity is true or merely cultural. Inserra raises some good points and begins a good discussion on determining the difference between what it means to be a cultural Christian and what it means to be a real Christian. However, by the end of the book, it seems that he's pointed to almost every variety of Christian expression in the United States and labelled it as merely cultural. This reader was left knowing if Inserra truly found a real expression of Christianity at all other than his own. While doctrine is has essential areas where we often must be inflexible on, there are often wide varieties of people and beliefs that can qualitatively be called Christian. In this, Inserra's book is exclusionary to the point of stereotyping, and I do believe that if taken to heart will find people judging good Christians and merely cultural Christians. The last chapter of his book, determining whether or not you are a cultural Christian is also problematic. Rather than pointing to faith alone, Inserra seems to be adding several works-based indicators to judge someone's faith by, while maintaining that people might do these very things and still be merely cultural Christians. I do not think that this is his intention, and I think he merely wants to say that a baptism or a magical special ritual prayer does not make one a Christian. Still it's confusing to the point of being something that I would feel could be a stumbling block to someone who already struggles with uncertainty in their faith and could perhaps lead to someone attempting to attempt to do more works in order to assure their salvation. (book 61 of 2019)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    How do you reach someone who doesn't know Jesus, if they say that they are already a Christian? Mr. Dean Inserra draws from his own personal experiences as he discusses in this reader friendly and concise book the difference between knowing God, and knowing about God. Incredibly relevant, this book addresses cultural Christianity directly discussing barriers within the church that prove a challenge to a personal saving relationship and recognition of our sin and God's holiness in today's culture. How do you reach someone who doesn't know Jesus, if they say that they are already a Christian? Mr. Dean Inserra draws from his own personal experiences as he discusses in this reader friendly and concise book the difference between knowing God, and knowing about God. Incredibly relevant, this book addresses cultural Christianity directly discussing barriers within the church that prove a challenge to a personal saving relationship and recognition of our sin and God's holiness in today's culture. I liked how Mr. Inserra calls us not just to look at the splinter in another's eye, but to also examine ourselves for traces of cheap grace. As it is easy to be the Pharisee at times, seeing our friends and family as tax collectors. He also talks about how to initiate deeper conversations on faith with cultural Christians, as well the importance of the great commission to continue to pray and witness to others, even if they state that they are already Christians. Mr. Inserra uses many good examples, often drawing from his own personal life to show the importance of not growing lax in our witness because someone is a good person or identifies with a few of Jesus's teachings. Overall, a very relevant, honest read that addresses the stumbling blocks in our Christian culture, and encourages believers to strive toward the prize, with a right knowledge and understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ living it out in our daily lives, and encouraging others to do likewise. I really liked how this book summarized a lot of things that I had been thinking about lately, directly speaking to the problems of cultural Christianity and what a danger it is to today's church. Thought provoking and concise, it is both challenging and easy to read. Highly recommend! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ben Chapman

    This is one of the more important books Ive read. I wish everyone I know would read it. Especially those who claim to belong to Christ. Challenging and eye opening. Highly recommend. This is one of the more important books I’ve read. I wish everyone I know would read it. Especially those who claim to belong to Christ. Challenging and eye opening. Highly recommend.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sherry Elmer

    I first heard about this book from a friend who was reading it and liking it very much. Later, I heard a man speaking on the radio and was greatly interested in what he had to say. Some minutes into the program I learned that the guest I was listening to was Dean Inserra, the author of this book. So off I went to my computer to order a copy for myself. This book is a must-read for every evangelical believer. Through the years, I have thought that the mission field in the United States was much I first heard about this book from a friend who was reading it and liking it very much. Later, I heard a man speaking on the radio and was greatly interested in what he had to say. Some minutes into the program I learned that the guest I was listening to was Dean Inserra, the author of this book. So off I went to my computer to order a copy for myself. This book is a must-read for every evangelical believer. Through the years, I have thought that the mission field in the United States was much larger than commonly thought, but in this book Dean Inserra makes that truth loud and clear. Our churches are filled with “unsaved Christians,” which of course, are not Christians at all, but people who have varying concepts of God without knowing the gospel and possibly not caring. This book stirred me to a deeper desire to share the gospel with people who often look good on the outside, who appear religious, but who don’t actually know the Lord Jesus Christ. I also liked Inserra’s tone, which is one of genuine love and compassion and not judgementalism. This topic could easily have been handled in an abrasive way in the hands of some writers, but thankfully Inserra did not do that. Highly recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Will Barbour

    I appreciate this book as I am currently doing campus ministry in a "Christ haunted" land. I needed to remember "Cultural Christianity is the most underrated mission field in America" (15). Inserra gives helpful guidance on how to confront this fog of religiosity head-on. He gives memorable pieces of advice on preaching such as "never preach a sermon that would be true if Jesus had not risen from the dead." The most enjoyable chapter for me is "Faith, Family, and Football" where he exposes the I appreciate this book as I am currently doing campus ministry in a "Christ haunted" land. I needed to remember "Cultural Christianity is the most underrated mission field in America" (15). Inserra gives helpful guidance on how to confront this fog of religiosity head-on. He gives memorable pieces of advice on preaching such as "never preach a sermon that would be true if Jesus had not risen from the dead." The most enjoyable chapter for me is "Faith, Family, and Football" where he exposes the watered-down, works-based Christianity expressed in some country music songs. I appreciate his challenge to confront moral people because we can often assume nice people know Jesus. While his 7 categories of cultural Christians are certainly helpful as we think of different people in our lives, I wish he had avoided making a straw man of some of these groups, especially Roman Catholics. This book was not groundbreaking but helpful nonetheless.

  13. 5 out of 5

    C.H. Cobb

    This is a great book, and is going to be discomfiting for many people who view themselves as right with God, but whose views on that score are wholly without warrant. First, a bit of historical perspective: parts of the United States were swept by revivalism in the 18th and 19th centuries. Much good came out those revivals, but there were also some results that were not particularly praiseworthy. One of them was a reductionism of redemption: in many cases it was reduced to a decision rather than This is a great book, and is going to be discomfiting for many people who view themselves as right with God, but whose views on that score are wholly without warrant. First, a bit of historical perspective: parts of the United States were swept by revivalism in the 18th and 19th centuries. Much good came out those revivals, but there were also some results that were not particularly praiseworthy. One of them was a reductionism of redemption: in many cases it was reduced to a “decision” rather than a whole-life reorientation around repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. Salvation is not less than a decision, but it is much more than that. Add to that an unbalanced emphasis on eternal security (especially in the mid to late20th century), virtually separating the doctrine of assurance from the “new life” aspect of regeneration. And add to that a sort of “second-blessing” theology that teaches the decision to yield to Jesus as Lord and Master is separate from the decision to trust Him as Savior, and what you wind up with is a culture that views salvation as little more than checking the right boxes. Salvation becomes a cultural inheritance of white, conservative, flag-waving Americans, something akin to joining the Republican party. Dean Inserra’s book is a gentle but firm expose of that problem: cultural Christianity is not biblical Christianity, and it is decidedly not a “Christianity” that saves. He deals with a variety or flavors of it: moral theism, watered-down mainline Protestantism, the Bible Belt cultural ambience, the confusion of patriotism with Christianity, and so on. One particularly good chapter explores the Christmas and Easter attendance phenomenon and yields some rather surprising observations. Inserra is not swinging a club—he’s not browbeating. He’s quite gentle, in fact, and includes questions at the end of each chapter for self-evaluation. But he also pulls no punches. Chapter 3 is entitled “Civic Religion: Generic Faith that Demands and Asks Nothing of Its Followers.” His view of the true gospel, biblical faith, salvation, the effects of regeneration, and so on are fully orthodox. Buckle your spiritual seatbelt, put on your crash helmet, and read this book. Here at Bible Fellowship, we’re going to go through this book in Sunday School. It’s too important to leave sitting on the shelf. For some, it might make an eternity of difference. Five stars, highly recommended.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    Inserra draws out attention to the prevalent Cultural Christianity, people who think they are spiritually fine because they are familiar with Christian things. (9) They think they are saved but they are not moved by the seriousness of sin, the necessity of repentance, the awesome reality of grace. (12) They've probably gone to church since childhood and it has become a social habit. They believe in God but they do not know their need for salvation in Jesus. It is so prevalent, Inserra says, it Inserra draws out attention to the prevalent Cultural Christianity, people who think they are spiritually fine because they are familiar with Christian things. (9) They think they are saved but they are not moved by the seriousness of sin, the necessity of repentance, the awesome reality of grace. (12) They've probably gone to church since childhood and it has become a social habit. They believe in “God” but they do not know their need for salvation in Jesus. It is so prevalent, Inserra says, it is “practiced by more Americans than any other faith or religion.” (13) This is a book every pastor and church leader would do well to read. They need to make sure the gospel is being preached and that a false assurance is not be given from the pulpit. “Believing in God does not make one a Christian,” Inserra writes. (58) There must be a sense of the need for personal salvation through Jesus Christ. (48) He includes good ideas for engaging Cultural Christians with the gospel. This book helped me understand the state of Cultural Christianity in America today. It also helped me understand the current political thinking among Cultural Christians. Many Cultural Christians think you must be a Republican. Inserra has shocking news: “God is not impressed with America.” (129) This is a good book for Christians in general. You might be shocked to find out that, even though you go to church, it is a mission field in itself and you need the gospel and salvation through Jesus Christ. This would be a good book to read with friends as there are discussion questions included. Food for thought: “...the Bible Belt is a mission field where the harvest is abundant and the workers just don't realize it.” (169)

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Rimmer

    Really enjoyed the premise of this book, that the hardest gospel work we could encounter will likely be among those in our churches that assume they are regenerate but are not. Mr. Inserra's personal admission at the outset regarding his under appreciation for the difficulty and demand for such work, especially in the South, was an admission that I think many more have also felt. This book is well suited to help many more Christians engaged in such fields to have a similar realization. The book Really enjoyed the premise of this book, that the hardest gospel work we could encounter will likely be among those in our churches that assume they are regenerate but are not. Mr. Inserra's personal admission at the outset regarding his under appreciation for the difficulty and demand for such work, especially in the South, was an admission that I think many more have also felt. This book is well suited to help many more Christians engaged in such fields to have a similar realization. The book does not only have a well-argued premise, but also works very hard to be practical. The way each chapter is devoted to a specific type of person, often including a profile or character study, is remarkably helpful to a mind like mine that demands the practical how-to. And when it comes to the how-to recommendations, these to are well-notched for their intended targets. Well done Mr. Inserra. Glad to see where the Lord has taken you since the days you were my RA in college.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This book covers an extremely critical topic that largely goes ignored in most Christian circles (for obvious reasons). I learned what to look for in those around me as well as what conversations I need to be having with the people around me to point them to the real and true Gospel - the only thing that matters! As the author challenges readers, if I love them enough I have to share the true Gospel of Christ with them! I highly, highly recommend this book!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bri Mash

    The Unsaved Christian was a great read! Full of many excellent points about the incredibly common issue of cultural Christianity and how to deal with it. Many believers do not recognize this problem or know what to call it if they do, but it is very much a thing, indeed! Id say a must read for church leaders and believers who are trying to encourage and disciple others (cough cough so like all of us). :) The Unsaved Christian was a great read! Full of many excellent points about the incredibly common issue of cultural Christianity and how to deal with it. Many believers do not recognize this problem or know what to call it if they do, but it is very much a thing, indeed! I’d say a must read for church leaders and believers who are trying to encourage and disciple others (cough cough so like all of us). :)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Inman

    Fantastically written. Easy to understand. Relatable. So dang spot on! Inserra is gracious and truthful and provides so much insight to common forms of Cultural Christianity. He describes the forms, identifies their false beliefs, teaches gospel truths that are important to communicate, and gives encouragement on conversations to have and questions to ask. Absolutely outstanding and would highly recommend!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Bradley

    Written out of the desire to see those living with a false assurance in the Bible belt of the United States of America, Dean Inserra stirs up emotions of what pastors face in every church in this country. We have not had a serious challenge to our faith as Christians here ever. And cultural Christianity is the result. We are pulled into a false sense of eternal security, when in reality, most people are far from having any assurance at all. In The Unsaved Christian, Dean brings to light the Written out of the desire to see those living with a false assurance in the Bible belt of the United States of America, Dean Inserra stirs up emotions of what pastors face in every church in this country. We have not had a serious challenge to our faith as Christians here ever. And cultural Christianity is the result. We are pulled into a false sense of eternal security, when in reality, most people are far from having any assurance at all. In The Unsaved Christian, Dean brings to light the causes as well as the solutions to this problem. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but nothing ever is in ministry. It’s a great book that will, Lord willing, help many be able to see, understand, and address the extremely serious issue of cultural Christianity.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Dyer

    Spot on and so applicable to current southern culture. Spot on and so applicable to current ‘southern’ culture.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eric Trout

    Every evangelical church leader NEEDS to read this!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Blake

    You have most likely heard the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover." That is the exact thing I did last year when I saw an advertisement for this book. I didn't read the subtitle. That was mistake number one. Mistake number two was that I made an assumption, assuming that this book was perhaps just another hyper-grace diatribe beating against the infamous Lordship salvation view. Weeks after the book was on the market, a friend of mine asked if I had ever read it. I said, "No." His reply You have most likely heard the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover." That is the exact thing I did last year when I saw an advertisement for this book. I didn't read the subtitle. That was mistake number one. Mistake number two was that I made an assumption, assuming that this book was perhaps just another hyper-grace diatribe beating against the infamous Lordship salvation view. Weeks after the book was on the market, a friend of mine asked if I had ever read it. I said, "No." His reply was, "You should. It's excellent." A few months later a woman in our church lead a women's study on it, and, since I oversee Grace Books here at our church, she offered a high recommendation of the book. It was then that I got a copy and began to read. I was surprised from the very beginning and so grateful that I read through this book. The author addresses a very critical issue and that is, "Reaching Cultural Christianity with the Gospel." He starts off with explaining the need to get the cultural Christian lost first, because it is the cultural Christian who would say he is a Christian, but in all actuality, is not saved. The author considers various issues such as those who have religion without salvation; a generic faith that demands and asks nothing of the ones who follow it; overcoming barriers to reaching the unsaved Christian with the true gospel, etc. The author wrote about false assurance, about the country-club mentality in the church, the people who show up at church on Easter and Christmas, and then those who prayed a prayer believing that the prayer seals the deal. The author rightly, has to address the American confusion that comes with believing that if one is patriotic, then most certainly he is saved. He considers the moral theist, the one who is a "good person" who believes in God, but is still not on his way to heaven. Next he addresses generational Catholics and the massive confusion that comes with being Catholic because well, "that's what we are." The mainline Protestant doesn't escape notice either and the author speaks to the lostness of the mainline Protestant church. Last, he addresses the Bible belt, where one would find an overwhelming abundance of unsaved Christians. The Bible belt is where the author lives, so he speaks to an issue in the very culture and community in which he serves. The author does an excellent job of challenging people to think about their religious roots, beliefs, and practices. He does an excellent job of challenging the reader to ponder whether he or she might be a "Christian who is not saved." Well written. Simple to understand. Excellent in application.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Me

    I hate writing a bad review b/c the book does identify a valid mission field of the person who is Christian by association only. The author admits to using the Calvinist doctrine 'Perseverence of the Saints' as a pillar in the book. Confusingly, the author uses Matt 7:21-23 to show that there will be some who do acts of righteousness but are not truly saved (pg 16). So don't base your conversion on these acts. But then turns around and says it is those types of acts of righteousness that we I hate writing a bad review b/c the book does identify a valid mission field of the person who is Christian by association only. The author admits to using the Calvinist doctrine 'Perseverence of the Saints' as a pillar in the book. Confusingly, the author uses Matt 7:21-23 to show that there will be some who do acts of righteousness but are not truly saved (pg 16). So don't base your conversion on these acts. But then turns around and says it is those types of acts of righteousness that we should look for in our lives to see if we ourselves are truly saved (pg 67, "Jesus gives us a guide for what true conversion looks like." pg 68, "Those who... bear fruit can be assured..";also pg 188). But then admits "we cannot know who is saved or not." (same page), but then in the very next sentence goes back to implying we can know, "All we can know are the marks given in Scripture for true, saving faith." (same page). Finally, he reinforces his doctrine of inspecting fruit for true conversion by using Matt 7:17-20. But what he fails to observe is the phrase, " A good tree CANNOT produce bad fruit." Unless the author is willing to say true Christians CANNOT ever produce bad fruit, he is in error. Also, remember when the author declared, "We cannot know who is saved or not."? This passage he gave, if it is the interpretation he thinks it means, says, "You WILL KNOW THEM by their fruits." it appears the author is filtering scripture through his theology instead of the other way around. The conclusion of the doctrine from this book is as follows: some of the same righteous acts that are identified for marks of true conversion are also done by those who are not truly saved. Use these righteous acts to test your conversion. At the same time, a truly converted person CANNOT produce bad fruit. Finally, you cannot know who is saved or not, but you will know them by their fruits. 2 stars for shining a light on a valid mission field but inconsistant logic and misapplying a passage for support of Perseverance of the Saints.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elisha Lawrence

    I'll be honest, this wasn't my favorite book. There were definitely some helpful ideas in the book. I appreciate the author called Christians to a deeper faith based around following Christ in the spiritual disciplines and suffering. He also showed how "American values" and a version of Christianity blend together to form a sort of spiritual nationalism that is antithetical to actually following Christ. For these things I'm grateful. I felt Inserra was too bold in creating categories of people I'll be honest, this wasn't my favorite book. There were definitely some helpful ideas in the book. I appreciate the author called Christians to a deeper faith based around following Christ in the spiritual disciplines and suffering. He also showed how "American values" and a version of Christianity blend together to form a sort of spiritual nationalism that is antithetical to actually following Christ. For these things I'm grateful. I felt Inserra was too bold in creating categories of people who aren't Christians. While he did mention that only God can declare whether someone is a believer, he then went on to declare lots of people non-Christian. I understand he is trying to push back on pseudo-Christianity and provide a template for talking with people living that out, I felt the topic to be more nuanced than his presentation. Three things I would have liked to have seen: the history of how cultural Christianity came about in America, a more nuanced understanding of how America has gotten here (seemed his argument was primarily poor theology, which is true, but could have been teased out more, and the need for prayer to push back the spiritual blindness in America.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Monk of YHVH

    Similar in purpose to the 1989 book, Getting Evangelicals Saved, this notion of false or imitation Christianity has spawn the inspired writings of many; read the Johannine Epistles again. It is Spiritual Metamorphosis, Not Religious Conversion! The Reformation won't end until the return of The King! This book is yet another timestamped view of an ancient conundrum. Those who give up this vapor of a temporal life, in the great exchange for the eternal, will live this life, just that way, in the Similar in purpose to the 1989 book, Getting Evangelicals Saved, this notion of false or imitation Christianity has spawn the inspired writings of many; read the Johannine Epistles again. It is Spiritual Metamorphosis, Not Religious Conversion! The Reformation won't end until the return of The King! This book is yet another timestamped view of an ancient conundrum. Those who give up this vapor of a temporal life, in the great exchange for the eternal, will live this life, just that way, in the here & now. But the vast majority are merely Matthew Seven Christians; churched Christians; academic Christians; consumerist, economic, or political Christians: Yes, Cultural Christians! Until the Holy Spirit has prepared an individual for Truth, it is just tossing more seeds on stony ground.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Ryan

    Dean Inserra walks readers through the various misconceptions of the gospel in Cultural Christianity. If you grew up in the American South, you know this reality all too well of those who profess to be Christian, yet have no understanding of the Biblical gospel. The Unsaved Christian helps take a closer look at how to think through the issues and challenges of Cultural Christianity and how to have those conversations with family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. I highly recommend Dean Inserra walks readers through the various misconceptions of the gospel in Cultural Christianity. If you grew up in the American South, you know this reality all too well of those who profess to be Christian, yet have no understanding of the Biblical gospel. “The Unsaved Christian” helps take a closer look at how to think through the issues and challenges of Cultural Christianity and how to have those conversations with family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. I highly recommend this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Wolgemuth

    An excellent, concise examination of "cultural Christianity" and a call to reach people in that group with the Gospel. Inserra is a ministry vet in this space, and his stories of ministry work and his insights about how it can be done effectively and with love are engaging, challenging, and immensely helpful. (full disclosure: the literary agency I work for represents Dean)

  28. 4 out of 5

    James Swanson

    Inserra writes on a topic that is probably more relevant today than many others as it speaks to some underlying assumptions that many "religious" people have regarding their beliefs and its impact on their lives and the decisions they make. That topic being cultural Christianity: "a mindset that places one's security in heritage, values, rites of passage (such as first communion or baptism from childhood), and a generic deity, rather than the redemptive work of Jesus Christ." Cultural Inserra writes on a topic that is probably more relevant today than many others as it speaks to some underlying assumptions that many "religious" people have regarding their beliefs and its impact on their lives and the decisions they make. That topic being cultural Christianity: "a mindset that places one's security in heritage, values, rites of passage (such as first communion or baptism from childhood), and a generic deity, rather than the redemptive work of Jesus Christ." Cultural Christianity is religion without salvation. He bases his premise on a passage from Matthew 7:21-23, which is very similar to the passage about the separation of the sheep and goats from Matthew 25:31-46. In both passages, people speak about doing good works in the Lord's name but never really knowing Him and thus being condemned and others who did the same things naturally as a result of their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives. There are eight "versions" of cultural Christianity that Inserra addresses and he also gives a few talking points that could be used to address the need for salvation and fuller understanding of the gospel by each group. There is also a summary appendix at the end of the book for quick reference. Country Club Christian Christmas and Easter Christian God & Country Christian Liberal Social Justice Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deist/Good Guy Next Door Generational Catholic Mainline Protestant Bible Belt Christian He also gives a good summary of the kind of fruit (see Matthew 7:15-20) a gospel centered Christian should be producing: life of repentance, eternally minded, sound doctrine, spiritual disciplines, generosity, heart for the lost, and love for God and His church. I would suggest that this book be read in conjunction with Hidden Worldviews: Eight Cultural Stories That Shape Our Lives as well. By combining the ideas expressed in both, I believe it would help anyone who is interested in reaching the people right in front of them with the gospel to find conversation starting points and a means of sharing the true gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus and His atoning work through His death, burial, and resurrection.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    "If even the demons believe in God (James 2:19), we know that general belief in God's existence is not enough to save." This was a really exceptional read. I hadn't seen a book done on this topic yet so I was excited when I got the chance to read this. This book is comprehensive on touching so many different areas of the idea of what an "unsaved christian" can look like i.e. someone from the bible belt, someone who only goes to church on holidays, churches that don't preach the gospel, the "If even the demons believe in God (James 2:19), we know that general belief in God's existence is not enough to save." This was a really exceptional read. I hadn't seen a book done on this topic yet so I was excited when I got the chance to read this. This book is comprehensive on touching so many different areas of the idea of what an "unsaved christian" can look like i.e. someone from the bible belt, someone who only goes to church on holidays, churches that don't preach the gospel, the issues surrounding catholicism, these people who would profess to have faith but lack true biblical understanding in what it truly means that Christ died on the cross and how that relates to our condition as sinners and our need for forgiveness. This book is also useful just as a humbling self-check in your own life. Sometimes we all can fall prey to being "cultural Christians" as the author calls it, where we let the world dictate more of what our faith should look like than we let Christ or the Bible tell us. The author's anecdotal stories about churches or people who had strayed from true gospel knowledge or were more just choosing to live in ignorance were very familiar to me and it was encouraging to see someone finally be willing to write on these topics and talk about a very prevalent struggle amongst our churches where people may feel comfortable in their faith but are not actually growing or seeking Christ at all. Overall I found this to be a highly informative read while also confirming things I have seen myself amongst the churches and people who would label themselves as Christian. It also gave me helpful information on topics I hadn't really considered or had access to get information on before, like the inner-workings of what it's like to be a convert from catholicism to Christianity, that information was highly helpful to me. I think the author is absolutely staying true to the message of the gospel with this book. His ultimate goal seems to be to make sure we don't just take someones faith profession at face value. That if we truly love someone with the love of Christ we should be willing to discuss our faith and theirs with them so that, in knowing the depth of what Christ has done for us, we both may grow.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brandi Hall

    Wow! I could highlight every single word in the book and have actually had a hard time trying to come up with the words to sum it up or which quotes to use. In America, the vast majority of the population is cultural Christianity especially in the Bible Belt. In the Bible Belt, many people think theyre Christians but have no concept of severity of sin, necessity of repentance, message of grace, or the overall message of the gospel. They think theyre just fine with God and God is fine with them Wow! I could highlight every single word in the book and have actually had a hard time trying to come up with the words to sum it up or which quotes to use. In America, the vast majority of the population is cultural Christianity especially in the Bible Belt. “In the Bible Belt, many people think they’re Christians but have no concept of severity of sin, necessity of repentance, message of grace, or the overall message of the gospel. They think they’re just fine with God and God is fine with them because they aren’t atheists and have been to church before as a kid. Cultural Christianity admires Jesus, but doesn’t really think He is needed, except to “take the wheel” in a moment of crisis.” Matt. 7:21-23 says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!” Modern context would say, “Didn’t we say grace before dinner? Didn’t we vote our values? Didn’t we believe prayer should be allowed in school? Didn’t we go to church? Didn’t we believe in God? Didn’t we get misty eyes whenever we heard “God Bless America” sung at a baseball game? Didn’t we give money to the church? Didn’t we own Bibles? Didn’t we stay married and faithful? Didn’t we say the Lord’s Prayer before each game we played? Didn’t we want America to return to its Christian roots?” Jesus wasn’t speaking to atheists, agnostics, pluralists, or secular humans in the verse in Matthew. He was directly describing moral and religious people doing good acts in the name of God. It’s simply not knowing the Gospel. True repentance. Wanting to be apart of the body of Christ. Unsaved Christians are as separated from God as atheists, agnostics, and those of other religions that reject the name of Jesus Christ. Cultural Christianity is someone who knows Christianity but not Christ. Wow! It hits the nail right on the head.

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