The Next Christians could almost be the sequel to Gabe Lyons coauthored work Unchristian. While Unchristian left me unsatisfied with nothing more than humbling numbers and statistics about the dismal state of Christianity, The Next Christians seems to provide not only an interpretation to the downfall of Christian America, but also a response.
Lyons sees the end of Christian America as a positive change. Too long Christians have either decided to become separatists in culture by making their own sports leagues, music, and books, or they have blended too much into mainstream culture looking no different than the rest of the world. Lyons sees many Christians now adopting a new attitude, one that is more reflective of the gospels. “The Next Christians,” as Lyons calls them, are not separatists or blenders they are restorers. Jesus came to earth to restore the purpose and calling of humanity, and those who follow him are called to practice the same restorative behavior. Jesus engaged with those he was seeking to restore, his hope was that true intimate relationships with others would cause his holiness to rub off on others. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were not only for forgiveness, but also for redemption.
Lyons does a wonderful job of bringing out the true purpose of Jesus and his followers. The Christian faith is one that identifies brokenness in themselves, others, and the world around them and then looks to restore the person or world to its created purpose. The Next Christian is a book not just for confessors of Jesus, but for anyone who has looked at the world and came to the conclusion that it needs to be restored.
A free copy of this book was provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing for review purposes.