Tag Archives: unChristian

Gabe Lyons Sequel to unChristian | The Next Christian: The Good News About the End of Christian America

If you haven’t already heard, Gabe Lyons just came out with a new book touted as the sequel to his and David Kinnaman’s landmark work unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity & Why It Matters.

Lyons’ new book is entitled The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America. I’ve already picked up my copy, and encourage you to as well.

It’s a good time to do so as I just received this email from Gabe:

This past week has been amazing. With your help, the book went to the top of Amazon’s ranking and continues to hold strong. To continue the momentum, a few generous friends are helping motivate people to buy and read The Next Christians.

Here’s the deal. If you buy the book (or already have) in the next few days you can receive over $70 in free gifts, which includes the following:

  • TOMS Shoes – $5 off any pair
  • To Write Love On Her Arms – 20% off any merchandise
  • Next Christians Audio Book – Chapters 1 and 2 read by the author
  • KAVI Film – Free viewing of Oscar-Nominated 18-minute short film on modern day slavery
  • Thad Cockrell Music – “Beauty Has a Name” and “Rosalyn” song downloads
  • David Hodges AVOX Music – “The War” one song download
  • Q Content Premiere Membership – Access to Qideas.org extensive library of content

Go to http://www.nextchristians.com to see details.

If you are willing, please share this offer with your friends on Facebook or Twitter.

Sample tweets below.

-Get TOMS gift card, TWLOHA Shirt, Free Music & a film when you buy The Next Christians now. http://ow.ly/2RH3T

-Buy The Next Christians http://tinyurl.com/NextXians now and get a ridiculous amount of free stuff. See http://ow.ly/2RH3T

I haven’t had a chance to read this book yet due to my school schedule and other reading assignments and don’t make a habit of blindly recommending books, but trust me: if this book is half as insightful as unChristian was, you’ll be happy you picked it up.

It’s on sale for $13.59+shipping on amazon right now.

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Teaching Toward a Biblical Worldview

The words on page 74-75 of Kinnaman & Lyon’s book, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity … and Why It Matters, jump off the page at me every time I read them:

      The opportunities that outsiders have to hear about Christ and know Christians are nothing short of astounding [in the United States]. For nearly two decades, the Barna team has been exploring church participation among American teenagers. We consistently find that the vast majority of teenagers nationwide will spend a significant amount of their teen years participating in a Christian congregation. Most teenagers in America enter adulthood considering themselves to be Christians and saying they have made a personal committment to Christ. But with a decade, most of these young people will have left the church and will have placed emotional connection to Christianity on the shelf. For most of them, their faith was merely skin deep. This leads to the sobering finding that the vast majority of outsiders in this country, particularly among young generations, are actually de-churched individuals.

      In spite of the fact that many of them are currently disconnected from a church, most Americans, including two-thirds of all adult Mosaics and Busters (65 percent), tell us that they have made a commitment to Jesus Christ at some point in their life. This is slightly lower than the percent of older adults who have made such a commitment (73 percent). This is an amazing fact about our culture. The vast majority of Americans, regardless of age, assert they have already made a significant decision to follow Christ!

      Of course, this raises the question of the depth of their faith. If that many Americans have made a decision to follow Jesus, our culture and our world would be revolutionized if they simply lived that faith. It is easy to embrace a costless form of Christianity in America today, and we have probably contributed to that by giving people a superficial understanding of the gospel and focusing only on their decision to convert.

      At Barna, we employ dozens of tools to assess the depth of a person’s faith. Let me suggest one for our discussion: a biblical worldview. A person with a biblical worldview experiences, interprets, and responds to reality in light of the Bible’s principles. What Scripture teaches is the primary grid for making decisions and interacting with the world. For the purposes of our research, we investigate a biblical worldview based on eight elements.

      A person with a biblical worldview believes that …

  1. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life.
  2. God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He still rules today.
  3. Salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned.
  4. Satan is real.
  5. A Christian has a responsiblity to share his or her faith in Christ with other people.
  6. The Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches.
  7. Unchanging moral truth exists.
  8. Such moral truth is defined by the Bible.

      In our research, we have found that people who embrace these eight components live a substantially different faith from other Americans – indeed, from other believers. What we believe influences our choices.

      Getting back to the issue of spiritual depth, if two-thirds of young adults have made a commitment to Jesus before, how many do you think possess a biblical worldview? Our research shows only 3 percent of Busters and Mosaics embrace these eight elements. That is just one out of every twenty-two young adults who have made a committment to Christ. (Although older adults are more likely to have such a perspective, it is also a small slice – only 9 percent – who do).

      This means that out of ninety-five million Americans who are ages eighteen to forty-one, about sixty million say they have already made a commitment to Jesus that is still important; however, only about three million of them have a biblical worldview.

Wow – those numbers are shocking!

Quantifiable research done over the course of many years including hundreds of thousands of interviews has enlightened us to this: the vast majority of young adults living in America today who claim to be following Jesus don’t have a grasp of the most basic Christian doctrines.

The eight elements listed do not comprehensively paint a picture of a disciple of Christ, but they do represent many of the basics.

After reading UnChristian for the first time a couple of years ago, I set a goal to do my best to make sure those learning from me adopt a biblical worldview. Meeting this goal takes intentionality. Before I simply assumed most people who’d been part of my church for a while (barring brand new Christians) understood the basics. I’ve since learned it’s a mistake to assume too much – one I doubt I’ll make again anytime soon.

I’m interested in hearing from others …

Do these numbers shock you? Are any of these eight topics ever tackled at your church? Have any of you come up with a teaching strategy to instill a biblical worldview in others? What’s missing from this list that needs to be added?

Love to hear your thoughts.

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Most American Christians Don’t Believe Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist – Why?

A few days ago in this post I shared some alarming numbers from the latest Barna Study. This new study further corroborates their previous conclusion that most American Christians do not have a biblical worldview.

Check out this excerpt from page 75 of Kinnaman and Lyons’ 2007 book UnChristian:

“A person with a biblical worldview believes that 1. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, 2. God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He still rules it today, 3. salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned, 4. Satan is real, 5. a Christian has a responsibility to share his or her faith in Christ with other people, 6. the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches, 7. unchanging moral truth exists, and 8. such moral truth is defined by the Bible. In our research, we have found that people who embrace these eight components live a substantially different life from other Americans – indeed, from other believers. What we believe influences our choices.”

A few lines later they go on to say:

“Our research shows only 3 percent of Busters and Mosaics embrace these eight elements. That is just one out of every twenty-two young adults who have made a commitment to Christ. Although older adults are more likely to have such a perspective, it is also a small slice – only 9 percent – who do. That means that out of ninety-five million Americans who are ages eighteen to forty-five, about sixty million say they have already made a commitment to Jesus that is still important; however, only about three million of them have a biblical worldview.”

According to their research, most people in our country who say they’re Christians – the vast majority – don’t believe the foundational, core teachings of the Bible! Yikes!

My question is simple – why?

Here’s what’s rumbling in my head right now:

1) I think a lot of people say they’re Christians when you ask them because their grandmother was.

These are the folks who mark “Christian” on the census, but rarely interact with a faith community (maybe they attend a church service on Christmas or Easter, or maybe they did … once … ten years ago). When asked about their religion or faith background, Christianity is their pat answer. Maybe they “accepted Jesus” as a teen or young adult – attended a concert or rally as said the sinner’s prayer – but it never really went any further than that.

In my opinion, making a “decision for Christ” (to use the language of many evangelical Christians today) is quite a bit different from committing your entire being and reason for existence to Him. I believe many of the people interviewed by the Barna Group have likely made a ‘decision for Christ’, but have probably never made a real commitment to Him – at least not one that’s been lasting.

2) I’m afraid many people claiming to be Christians don’t have a high view of Scripture.

With so much emphasis on experiential worship and missional living in the form of community service in Christian circles nowadays, I’m afraid there’s been an unhealthy shift in thinking regarding the Bible – especially among younger believers. In conversations I’ve had with many young men and women in their twenties, there seems to be such a desire to avoid conflict and simply be in community with others. While relationships and community are extremely important – especially today – Scriptural teaching (regarding sin, false doctrines, etc.) is oftentimes shelved in the name of keeping the peace.

I could give you several real life examples of this that I’ve witnessed, but here’s the bottom line: in order to preserve relationships, young believers are often not standing up for what the Bible  teaches. For those of you reading this who are part of the fellowship of the Churches of Christ, I’m not just talking about the importance of baptism (which is often overemphasized to the point that baptism almost becomes and idol in place of Jesus!!!) – I’m talking about what the Bible says about purity, what the Bible says about how you use your words, what the Bible says about drug and alcohol abuse, what the Bible says about homosexuality, etc. – you get the picture.

Things remain unsaid, conversations that need to occur never do, and that’s because the things the Bible has to say on these issues either 1) aren’t viewed as serious or important, or 2) young Christians are ignorant the Bible says anything about them in the first place because personal Bible study isn’t viewed as important.

Of course, inaction is often seen as appropriate in the name of love, but my question is this: if you’re not leading someone closer to God – the source of love – Love Himself – are you really loving them in the first place?

When you think about the Bible as one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind (behind His love, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and MMA), His book – literally, what He thinks about the world and how He views things – if you believe that, you’ve got to think maybe it’d be important for you to know what that book says!

I really appreciate Mark Driscoll for championing the idea that, for Christian leaders and teachers, the Bible is really the only resource available to you that gives your words and teachings any authority – authority on loan from God Himself!

3) Most people who call themselves Christians don’t believe what Christianity teaches? Why be surprised? Hell is a real place, and most people will go there.

Woah – now you’re wondering why you bothered reading the rest of what I had to say. Kind of a shocking claim to make, isn’t it?

But seriously, hell is a real place, and most people will go there. I’m not making this up – Jesus said it Himself:

Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Not exactly what I would consider the most feel-good message one can find in the Bible!

New studies are published constantly telling us what a bad state the church is in, what a bad state the world is in, how most people don’t claim to follow Christ, and those that do don’t live like it.

Let me shift into the role of prophet for a moment: those studies will never end. The numbers will always be bad, the future will always be portrayed as grim, and groups of well-intentioned people will always be preaching that the death of the church is just a generation away.

It isn’t. That view doesn’t represent reality.

The reality is, however, most people are lost, most of them are going to stay that way, and our job as Christians is to reach who we can – as many as we can, as effectively as we can (not that we humans are the only ones working in this endeavor – God Himself is working in the hearts of men)! It is God’s will that all men be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), but God cannot accept an unrepentant heart (Rom. 2:5)! Our job is to share Jesus with the world making disciples (Matt. 28:18-20), to call the world to repentance (Acts 17:30), and to teach new believers to prove their repentance by their deeds (Acts 26:20).

So make a splash. Live a life that bears eternal fruit. Ask yourself who you’ve impacted for Jesus today.

You’ll never do enough to make God owe you anything, you can never do anything to make God love you, much less, like you, more than He already does, and your good works could never earn you a spot in heaven – Jesus paid it all – BUT you can still make it your goal to make a splash.

Call people to commitment in Jesus’ name, teach others to view His Scriptures highly, teach faithfully from the Bible with authority, and don’t fret when the numbers are bad. They always will be.

I’m done – the ‘submit’ button is calling …

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