Beyond numbers, a real crisis of faith
Church researchers David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons give numbers and…
‘People perceive Christians as irrelevant and extreme.”
This is the startling assertion by Christian researchers David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons in “Good Faith.” Sharing results of a recent Barna Group study, they reveal that basic Christian beliefs are now considered strange, crazy and, in some cases, dangerous by mainstream American culture.
Yet there is hope. Generally, adults in America have a positive feeling toward church. They might not attend, but they believe it does good. So Kinnaman and Lyons believe that now is the time for the church to enter the public square and engage in productive, spiritual conversations that point people to Christ. In this book, they seek to prepare Christians for the task ahead.
Christians need to gain a hearing within our culture, the authors argue. This involves three actions: love, believe and live. Christians should demonstrate kindness in what they say and how they say it. They should not be afraid to courageously stand for their beliefs with confidence. Finally, they should demonstrate love and belief daily for others to see.
The authors offer guidance on how to approach relevant topics in today’s public square — marriage, family, death, same-sex attraction, racism and religious freedom — using their “love, believe, live” values.
I found the book helpful in two ways. Reviewing the authors’ research gives a snapshot of beliefs, attitudes and feelings within American culture about faith-related topics. This provides great material for future lessons and guidance on critical areas where teaching is needed.
“Good Faith” is about evangelistic conversations in a post-Christian world. The authors offer inspiration mixed with thoughtfulness about how to engage secular America with the Christian worldview.
Their ultimate call to the church is for faithfulness: standing out while demonstrating love.
When we do this well, we show good faith.
STEVE CLOER is preaching minister for the Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas.
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