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THUMB -- the unreached
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"How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?" – Romans 10:14
THUMB -- an acronym to remember the 5 major blocs of unreached peoples of our world
T - Tribal
H - Hindu
U - Un-religious / Chinese
M - Muslim
B - Buddhist
- Tribal (usually Animist)
- Believes in spirits that live all around us: in trees, in fields, in rocks, in rooftops.
- People must try to keep these spirits happy and enlist their help.
- Animists usually live with a certain amount of fear that a spirit will be unhappy with them. [ Animistic case studies ]
- Believes in hundreds or thousands of gods (which are likely appearances of one divine essence).
- God, as the Christians understand Him, may be divine, but what the Christians call "God" is only one of millions of gods.
- Believes in reincarnation -- that is, when you die, you come back to life as an insect or a cow or even a better (or worse) person. [ Hindu case studies ]
- Un-religious / Chinese
- This conglomerate category includes the following:
- The largest bloc of unreached peoples in the world are in China. Some follow Confucius; others follow a mixture of animism and even Buddhist teachings. [ story from China ]
- Believes there may or there may not be a God. The Bible is an interesting historical book, but it is not divinely inspired.
- Believes that to worship God and to be a part of God's people (the church) is to be out of touch with real life.
- Nominal Christian
- May have been baptized as a child.
- Considers himself / herself a Christian, but has no connection with the church now. Goes to church only for funerals and weddings.
- Believes in one God.
- God is to be worshiped, but He is too high and far away to think of as "father." In fact, to call him "father" would be blasphemy.
- Jesus was a great prophet, but He was not God.
- Christ was not crucified for our sins; he actually lived to be an old man. [ Muslim case studies ]
- Follows a path of discipline in order to reach enlightenment
- Often there is no conception of a god at all [ Buddhist case studies ]
SNU missions course materials and syllabiCultural Anthropology Introduction to Missions Linguistics Missions Strategies Modern Missionary Movement (History of Missions) Nazarene Missions Church Growth and Christian Missions Theology of Missions Traditional Religions World Religions
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