Review: The Next Christians

The Next Christians: How a New Generation is Restoring the Faith

Author: Gabe Lyons

Hardcover: 234 pages

Publisher: Double Day

ISBN: 978-0-385-52984-6

Waterbrook Multnomah

Amazon

In his book, Gabe Lyons describes three types of ways in which Christians interact with culture.  First, there are the Separatists, those Christians “confront the world with their beliefs.”  (37).  Lyons describes three types of Separatists: insiders, culture warriors, and evangelizers.  As Lyons describes them, “They take seriously Jesus’s call to bring their light into the world, even if it means judging (insiders), confronting (culture warriors), and proselytizing (evangelizers) those outside conservative Christian religion.” (37)

The second group Lyons describes are Cultural Christians, those Christians who “conflate their faith with the culture itself.”  (43)  Lyons divides the Cultural Christians into two groups: blenders and philanthropists.

The third group Lyons discusses are the Restorers.  According to Lyons, restorers “don’t separate from the world or blend in; rather, they thoughtfully engage.” (47)

According to Lyons, the next Christians (the restorers) embody six characteristics:

  • Provoked, not offended
  • Creators, not critics
  • Called, not employed
  • Grounded, not distracted
  • In community, not alone
  • Countercultural, not “relevant”

According to Lyons,

When Christian incorporate these characteristics throughout the fabric of their lives, a fresh, yet orthodox way of bring Christian springs forth.  The death of yesterday becomes the birth of a great tomorrow and the end of an era becomes a beautiful new beginning.  In this way, the end of Christian America becomes good news for Christians.  (68)

Part two of the book covers these six characteristics in detail.

Lyons closes by talking about the next big shift in Christianity.  Citing Phyllis Tickle, Lyons writes,
[T]he first shift began almost five hundred years after Christ’s death when the Roman empire fell and with it, Constantinian Christianity.  Five hundred years later, the Great Schism of 1054 divided Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Church.  Finally in 1517 the Reformation gave rise to Protestant Christianity.  With history catching its stride, the movement seems primed for the next iteration of Christian practice.  (189)

This next iteration of Christianity is one that, according to Lyons, needs to be ground first and foremost in the Gospel.  From that grounding comes all other things.

Overall, I was fairly impressed with this book.  The book is a relatively quick read and is written primarily for the lay Christian, although this book will also be an invaluable tool and reference to those who work within the church.  Lyons seamlessly integrated stories into the chapters to emphasize his point.  Anyone who is involved in outreach or evangelism needs to read this book.

Disclaimer:

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books Review program. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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3 thoughts on “Review: The Next Christians

  1. Thanks for the review! I just picked this up at my local Borders which was closing down for only a few bucks. I had the privilege of hearing Gabe Lyons speak at Youth Pastor’s Summit in Orlando, he laid out exactly what you mentioned here.

  2. Pingback: What does it really mean | ITSOGS

  3. Pingback: Review: The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America « On my bookshelf

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