While many Christians today are complaining about the decline of the Christian faith in the West, the author of The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons proposes that the best days are yet to come. His previous book Unchristian reflected the disenchantment and disillusionment of young generations towards Christians. People are angry about the way the culture is moving and are “often better at cursing the darkness than lighting a candle.” But rather than be depressed about this, he chooses to be excited about the possibility for these Next Christians, this next generation rising up. “Could the end of Christian America become the stirrings of something beautiful? Is it possible to call a ceasefire in the culture war and still win the world?” he asks. The world is changing, and no longer responding to the Christians of this day (which live on either extremes of Separatist Christians and Cultural Christians, which he explains). The author exposes an entire mosaic of peoples from various walks of life who desire to be “restorers” of culture and society as they proclaim the message. They want to infuse the world with beauty, grace, justice, and love. They are optimistic that “God is on the move- doing something unique in our time.”
He said these Next Christians “desperately want the world to know the story… It starts with rediscovering the full story, which leads them to recalibrate their conscience to allow them to be in the world, which forces them to rethink their commitment to one another and their neighbors, which inspires them to reimagine a renaissance of creativity, beauty, and art that the world hasn’t seen in centuries, which culminates in redeploying the church where the world needs it most. You can see how embracing restoration as part of His story sets off a chain reaction that can revitalize our faith in the post-Christian century.” It’s about retelling the story to include the entire narrative- creation, fall, redemption, restoration.
These Christians are marked by six characteristics. They are:
- Provoked, not offended
- Creators, not critics
- Called, not employed
- Grounded, not distracted
- In Community, not alone
- Contercultural, not “relevant”
The bottom line, he says, “is that the Christian has a calling and a responsibility to think, work, and live in terms of how the world ought to be in contrast to reacting to how it really is.” And we are here to do something about it.
Yes, this book primarily focuses on the life of the church and its people in America. However, the principles that author evokes can be applied the world over. The only question is, “what should our response be?”