I am immediately drawn to a book by its title. So, when I saw The Next Christians; The Good News About the End of Christian America by Gabe Lyons, I had to know what he meant by that. Lyons’ previous work, UnChristian which took a look at the conducts and actions that turned people away from the Christian faith is referenced several times in this book. It seems this book is the outflow of the previous work, whether that was the author’s intention or not. Lyons begins his book by examining the decline of Christianity in America by taking a look at the present reality that Christianity is losing its influence, respect, and strength in America. In a sometimes pessimistic tone, he puts forth categories that Christians have placed themselves into (Insiders, Culture-Warriors, Evangelizers, Blenders, and Philanthropists).
The second half of the book was much better than the first and carried a much more positive tone. Lyons speaks of the shift in the next generation of Christians from a faith that polarizes and pushes people away to a generation of Christians who are committed to the concept of restoration. He says this new generation of Christians will portray similar characteristics. These new Christians will be Provoked – not offended, Creators – not critics, Called – not employed, Grounded – not distracted, In Community – not alone, and Countercultural – not relevant. This section is by far the best part of the book. I am glad I stayed with it. The Next Christians is a helpful and insightful look into what the Christian faith was intended to reflect in this world.