My honest review of books & other products

I love to read & I love to save money on good products for my family of six. Here, I'll share my thoughts on various books and other products in hopes it may help someone else!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons

I didn't want to like this book. I'd read parts of Gabe Lyons's first book and wasn't impressed. But this book, The Next Christians:  How a New Generation is Restoring the Faith,  really surprised me! I enjoyed most of it and found a lot to think about.

Lyons opens the book with an explanation of the death of Christian America as we know it. But he soon follows this with the hope of a “new” movement of the Christian faith among Americans (and the world!) Lyons describes a sort of Christian he labels “restorer”--one who seeks to restore a broken aspect of humanity, culture, earth, etc. to what it “ought” to be, what the Creator intended it to be, what it should be-but isn't because of sin. The six characteristics Lyons attributes to the restorer Christians are: provoked, not offended; creators, not critics; called, not employed; grounded, not distracted; in community, not alone; countercultural, not “relevant.” He explores each characteristic with its own chapter. There is much good here.

While I found much to apply to my own life and mission for Jesus, I also found parts of Lyons's book disturbing. Just as the “restorers” are a classification of Christians (and, as the title suggests, these are the NEXT Christians), two other groups are the “culturals”--those who attempt to blend-in with the culture and thus lose much of their Christian “flavor”-- and the “separatists” – those who associate only with other Christians, attempt to preserve Christian values in society, and are “intent solely on getting people 'saved.'” In an attempt to keep this review brief, I'll just say that I find Lyons's judgmental and narrow-minded attitude disturbing—and scary. Because he believes the methods, decisions, beliefs of the “separatist” segment of the church is out-dated and ineffective in today's society, he subtly scorns them and encourages others to avoid their pitfalls. Lyons leaves little room for the guiding of the Holy Spirit here—and rather deems their lifestyle “wrong.” He also leaves little room for any combination of peoples' classifications – one cannot, apparently, have “separatist” characteristics (such as sending your child to a Christian school or advocating for laws against same-sex marriage) AND be a “reformer” at the same time.

I also felt concern over some of the “acceptable” things for Lyons's reformers to do—in the name of reforming. For example, he condones one reformer's removal of words describing his loving actions as being the body of Christ because the seller didn't want anything associated with religion on the shirts. Lyons affirms that the best decision was to remove the wording and sell as many t-shirts as possible because buyers will still get the reformation information—basics of the story of Christ-like love—without knowing it was through Christ's love. I guess, if it was me, I would wonder about whether this was the “best” way to get the shirts manufactured and sold...or would God provide another avenue that didn't require a “watering-down” of His story?!

So, while I'd gladly recommend this book (which Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers provided to me, complimentarily, for the purpose of review) to a friend, I'd certainly add this disclaimer—I still believe it's ok to vote only for pro-life candidates! :)

Check out an excerpt from the book HERE !


  1. I'm curious, why did you choose to review it if you thought you wouldn't like it?

    I personally thought the story about the t-shirts was a great story, in part because I really wasn't aware of how To Write Love on Her Arms started. Now, seeing that TWLOHA is such a huge thing in America, I think they made the right choice. I doubt as many would be involved if it wasn't for their positive reaction.

  2. The Next Christians is a provocative book. It challenges some of the foundational lessons of a Christian kid. But I enjoyed it as well!

    I encourage you to read to check out This is Lyons' hub of activity. He has more stories of restorers and more commentary on cultural issues. I also encourage you to look at the Q Studies. Those are phenomenal!