If you’re anything like me, you might feel that a lot of recently-released books and the current research results seem to paint a rather bleak picture of the church. Reading these works makes it sound like the church is in decline, it has lost its authority in the community, and people are finding Christianity less and less relevant in their lives. But Gabe Lyons has “the good news about the end of Christian America” in his book The Next Christians.
Where many Christians are either withdrawing from mainstream society, or are selling-out to it in an attempt to be accepted (Gabe calls these the Separatists or Culturals, respectively), Gabe happily points out that the next Christians coming to the forefront are Restorers. These Christians are not running away from culture, but are running to it in a way that makes the Gospel both relevant and appealing.
Gabe points out that the Restorers are defined by six descriptive phrases:
- Provoked, not offended when they confront the unbiblical in culture
- Creators, not critics of what mainstream culture is producing
- Called, not just employed in “a job”
- Grounded in Christian disciplines, not distracted by the tasks around them
- Committed to their community, not isolating themselves from it
- Countercultural, without attempting to become “relevant”
The Next Christians made me stand up and cheer, “Yes! This is how I want to live!” I could hardly put this book down. Now that I’ve finished reading it, I’ll be referring to these concepts again and again, both in my personal life, and in my calling as a pastor.
If you are ready to see Christians reassume their place in society like the Bible describes it, you will love reading The Next Christians.
I am a Doubleday book reviewer.