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The Unsaved Christian: Reaching Cultural Christianity with the Gospel

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  357 ratings  ·  71 reviews
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
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Moody Publishers
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George P.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
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 ...more
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ben Chapman
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
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.
Rebecca Ray
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
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 ...more
C.H. Cobb
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked 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 ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A resounding call to awareness of cultural Christianity.

Whether you're completely aware or totally new to the term "cultural Christianity", I found this book a must-read. I took plenty of notes and found myself over and over audibly amen-ing the author's concerns. The author describes living in the Bible belt as a more difficult field than secular cultures. Since my recent move to the Bible belt, I've been dealing with these difficulties in new understanding.

A memorable chapter spoke of the
John Rimmer
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!
Monk of YHVH
Oct 10, 2019 rated it liked it
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! 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 ...more
Jonathan Bradley
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Lindsay Dyer
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Spot on and so applicable to current ‘southern’ culture.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
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
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
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 ...more
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, theology
"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
Brandi Hall
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
For a long time now I've wondered why so many Christians I meet look, sound and do what non-believers look, sound and I do. Isn't having Christ in us meant to impact us so that we are clearly different. Not necessarily in a weird way, even though sometimes weirdness is good, but in the love we demonstrate, what is important to us and what we talk about.

I ask these questions of myself as well, not just of those Christians I meet. I too am included in the cohort I'm considering.

Inserra brings
Tom Burkholder
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the book The Unsaved Christian, author Dean Inserra examines how we have bought in to the lie that if we check a box as Christian and are a good person that this is enough. Inserra writes about civic religion. “Civic religion is practiced from the high school football locker room, where teams incorporate a prayer before the game, to the grand stages of Hollywood, where you can find a celebrity thanking God during an acceptance speech. It is rampant in American politics and is expected from ...more
Clint Adams
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
***DISCLAIMER*** I received this book for free from Moody Publishers to review.

Dean Inserra’s The Unsaved Christian: Reaching Cultural Christianity With The Gospel represents the tenth book I have reviewed for Moody Publishers. Spanning fifteen chapters plus a few miscellaneous sections at the end, Inserra attempts to “focus on those who think they are fine with God because they have familiarity with Christian things” (p. 9). Some of the topics Inserra addresses include but are not limited to
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
If you've read the premise of this book, you'll more or less get what you're looking for. It speaks plainly on behalf of the gospel against versions of Christianity that, in their respective iterations, are being half-hearted in their discipleship or are omitting foundational doctrines of salvation.

The format of addressing different zones where you will find "Unsaved Christianity" makes sense–one chapter for Catholicism, another for Bible Belt culture, another for moral theism. I like that
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In his book, #TheUnsavedChristian, @deaninserra writes with conviction about the dangers of Cultural Christianity. He points out the necessity of repentance and the importance of obeying Jesus, not merely admiring Him. When religion or tradition is coupled with the words of Christ in Matthew 7:21-23, salvation is far away. When Christianity looks similar to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, a Christ-less gospel follows. The words of Spurgeon in “Around the Wicket Gate” still hold true today: “Almost ...more
Elisha Lawrence
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Brad Flack
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When you fully understand the gospel of Jesus, you understand that being a Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Protestant, Etc are all Christian sect's. For many in America in particular need to ask themselves where does their loyalty lie? With that specific section of our faith or ourselves...or with CHRIST? Many people are being distracted by tradition, culture, and patriotism. These churches put their own spin and rules of how to conduct business. They (churches) or ( men of the cloth) ...more
Marcie Morris
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is AMAZING. As someone who came from nominal Christianity in the Bible Belt with a very surface level knowledge of what the gospel truly is, it was refreshing to know that it wasn’t just me that fell into this version of cultural Christianity. At the same time, it’s devastating to see how this has become an epidemic in the church culture. Dean gives some amazing talking points and ways to bring up the gospel in casual conversation with our cultural Christian friends and neighbors. This ...more
Andrew Watkins
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an important and much needed book. Off of the top of my head, I can’t think of any other books covering this particular subject matter. It is thorough, readable, and extremely practical.

Not only does the author identify and describe Cultural Christianity as a mission field and explain why cultural Christians are in need of the true, saving gospel of Jesus, he also gives practical tips on how to engage them with the gospel while being realistic about the fact that such conversations will
Carter Hemphill
The book provides a great overview of the Cultural Christians in the United States. I appreciated how the author notes that these people are a difficult mission field given how much people who exhibit those characteristics believe that they are already Christians. The book helped me to understand how the focus on morality in churches and being a "good Christian" can complicate the notion of sinfulness (which is vital to comprehending the value of grace). One of the best books I've read in terms ...more
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DEAN INSERRA is a graduate of Liberty University and holds a M.A. in Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is pursuing a D. Min. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the founding pastor of City Church. He is passionate about reaching the city of Tallahassee with the Gospel, to see a worldwide impact made for Jesus. Dean is married to Krissie and they ...more
“A troubling reality in much of evangelical life is that convincing someone they are saved seems to take precedence over making sure someone actually is saved. This must change. Somehow questioning another person’s salvation became taboo in evangelical culture, when it could possibly be one of the most loving things you can do for another; it could mean the difference between seeds that sprout and bloom and seeds that are snatched away.” 2 likes
“Thinking that I deserve heaven is a sure sign I have no understanding of the gospel. —SINCLAIR FERGUSON” 2 likes
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