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Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You're Irrelevant and Extreme

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Many Christians today feel overwhelmed as they try to live faithfully in a culture that seems increasingly hostile to their beliefs. Politics, marriage, sexuality, religious freedom--with an ever-growing list of contentious issues, believers find it harder than ever to hold on to their convictions while treating their friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even family members Many Christians today feel overwhelmed as they try to live faithfully in a culture that seems increasingly hostile to their beliefs. Politics, marriage, sexuality, religious freedom--with an ever-growing list of contentious issues, believers find it harder than ever to hold on to their convictions while treating their friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even family members who disagree with respect and compassion. This isn't just a problem that affects individual Christians; if left unaddressed, the growing gap between the faithful and society's tolerance for public faith will have lasting consequences for the church in America. Now the bestselling authors of "unChristian" turn their data-driven insights toward the thorny question of how Christians talk with people they know and love about the most toxic issues of our day. They help today's disciples understand what they believe and why, and how to keep believing it without being judgmental and defensive. Readers will discover the most significant trends that offer both obstacles and opportunities to God's people, and how not only to challenge culture but to create and renew it for the common good. Perhaps most importantly, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons invite fellow Christians to understand the heart behind opposing views and show them how to be loving, life-giving friends despite profound differences. This will be the go-to book for young adult and older believers who don't want to hide from culture but to engage and restore it.


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Many Christians today feel overwhelmed as they try to live faithfully in a culture that seems increasingly hostile to their beliefs. Politics, marriage, sexuality, religious freedom--with an ever-growing list of contentious issues, believers find it harder than ever to hold on to their convictions while treating their friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even family members Many Christians today feel overwhelmed as they try to live faithfully in a culture that seems increasingly hostile to their beliefs. Politics, marriage, sexuality, religious freedom--with an ever-growing list of contentious issues, believers find it harder than ever to hold on to their convictions while treating their friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even family members who disagree with respect and compassion. This isn't just a problem that affects individual Christians; if left unaddressed, the growing gap between the faithful and society's tolerance for public faith will have lasting consequences for the church in America. Now the bestselling authors of "unChristian" turn their data-driven insights toward the thorny question of how Christians talk with people they know and love about the most toxic issues of our day. They help today's disciples understand what they believe and why, and how to keep believing it without being judgmental and defensive. Readers will discover the most significant trends that offer both obstacles and opportunities to God's people, and how not only to challenge culture but to create and renew it for the common good. Perhaps most importantly, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons invite fellow Christians to understand the heart behind opposing views and show them how to be loving, life-giving friends despite profound differences. This will be the go-to book for young adult and older believers who don't want to hide from culture but to engage and restore it.

30 review for Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You're Irrelevant and Extreme

  1. 5 out of 5

    George P.

    David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Extreme and Irrelevant (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2016). I recently testified before a state legislative committee in favor of two religious freedom bills. Twenty-five years ago, support for religious freedom was widespread. A nearly unanimous Congress passed the federal Religious Freedom Act, for example, and a Democratic president signed it into law. Today, any religious freedom bill, whether at the sta David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Extreme and Irrelevant (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2016). I recently testified before a state legislative committee in favor of two religious freedom bills. Twenty-five years ago, support for religious freedom was widespread. A nearly unanimous Congress passed the federal Religious Freedom Act, for example, and a Democratic president signed it into law. Today, any religious freedom bill, whether at the state or federal level, is sure to spark heated opposition because opponents argue that religious freedom is simply a mask for discrimination against the LGBT community. That shift of thinking is both tectonic and, to Christians like me, worrisome. Something else concerns me too, though. After the first hearing, a woman from the LGBT community approached the huddle of lawyers I was talking to, politely interrupted us, and made the following statement: “I need to tell you gentlemen something,” she said. “If you had lived the life I have lived, you wouldn’t think the way you do.” Then she walked away. None of us knew how to respond, or whether she wanted us to respond, so we said nothing. Even deeper than my worry about tectonic shifts in legal norms is my worry that the Church is missing the opportunity to share Christ’s good news with people whose experience is so contrary—alien, even—to our own. I confess that I missed a chance that day. Jesus Christ commissioned His followers to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). While we might prefer to carry out the Great Commission in a society that provides robust protections to our religious freedom, the fact of the matter is that we are under the Lord’s orders whether or not the law protects us or our society approves of us. And let’s be honest, a large chunk of American society is moving in a direction that is not favorable to Christian faith and practice. David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons’ first co-authored book was unChristian, which examined how unbelieving Millennials viewed Christianity. The portrait they painted was not flattering. According to their research, unbelieving Millennials viewed Christians as hypocritical, anti-science, too focused on conversion, anti-gay, sheltered, too political, and judgmental. Their negative view of Christians is more than a PR problem, of course. It is a missional problem. How do we “make disciples of all nations” when the nations view us as irrelevant at best or extreme at worst? Good Faith outlines Kinnaman and Lyons’ answer to that question. Kinnaman is president of the Barna Group, “a leading research and communications company that works with churches, nonprofits, and businesses ranging from film studios to financial services.” Lyons is founder of Q, “a learning community that educates and mobilizes Christians to think well and advance good in society.” Based on their research and biblical reflection, they identify three ingredients that must characterize the Church’s mission in contemporary America: How well we love + What we believe + How we live = Good Faith Stated as one-word imperatives, these elements are love, believe, and live. Each imperative must be fulfilled for good faith to be present. In other words, we can’t reduce Christianity to what some have called orthopathy (right affections, love) or orthodoxy (right doctrine, believe) or orthopraxy (right behavior, live). Good faith consists of the three imperatives acting in tandem at all times. Stated so simply, the need for these imperatives is obvious. And yet, how difficult we find it to put them all into practice. Take my encounter with the woman after the legislative hearing, for example. I know what I believe regarding both religious freedom specifically and LGBT issues more generally. I’d like to think that I translate those beliefs into moral behavior on a day-to-day basis. But, if I’m honest, I find it easier to explain and defend my beliefs than to love the person on the other side of those issues. Kinnaman and Lyons write something that I need to take to heart: “There is a world of difference between confidently asserting what we believe and being aggressive in faith-driven ‘beast mode.” I hope I never go into beast mode on any issue—through I constantly feel the temptation on issues about which I have strong opinions. Still, I wonder: Am I like the Ephesian church which had “biblical orthodoxy” nailed down tight but had “forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:6)? Am I cultivating the fruit of the Spirit, which is love (Galatians 5:22)? Other Christians may struggle with understanding and defending biblical orthodoxy or with putting their faith into action. Regardless of which of the three imperatives you do best (and which worst), the point is to keep them all together. Kinnaman and Lyons apply the love-believe-live formula to a host of issues. In the final chapter, they sum up the point of the entire book by writing: “The Christian community is called to be a counterculture for the common good. We are countercultural when we…” love others well remain committed to orthodox beliefs make space for those who disagree stand out from the crowd ask the right questions live under God’s moral order offer a vision of human intimacy beyond sex practice hospitality do the good, hard work of racial reconciliation value human life in every form, at every stage love our gay friends and trust God’s design for sex build households of faith are theologically grounded and culturally responsive make disciples practice the sacred art of seeing people make disciples and faith communities that are Christlike. Good Faith is a good book. For someone like me who is worried about the culture but more concerned about the Church bearing witness to Jesus in the midst of it, the book provides diagnostic criteria and a checklist for self-examination. On any issue, do I love the person on the other side of the issue? Do I know what biblical orthodoxy actually requires of me? Do I live my Christianity in an authentic and attractive way? If I cannot answer “yes” to each of these questions, I have work to do. And so, it seems to me, does the American church. _____ P.S. This review first appeared at InfluenceMagazine.com. P.P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grant

    This book is riddled with contradictions, which is a huge disappointment since I found 'UnChristian' to be so powerful. The text starts out strong, with a very interesting focus on the Christian call to be counter-cultural. I think the formula 'Love+Believe+Live = Good Christian Faith' is a very compelling and strong argument. This text has so much potential in how to approach a society where Christianity has grown irrelevant, but it fails to bring home any true insight as to how to actually do This book is riddled with contradictions, which is a huge disappointment since I found 'UnChristian' to be so powerful. The text starts out strong, with a very interesting focus on the Christian call to be counter-cultural. I think the formula 'Love+Believe+Live = Good Christian Faith' is a very compelling and strong argument. This text has so much potential in how to approach a society where Christianity has grown irrelevant, but it fails to bring home any true insight as to how to actually do anything. The book makes the 'problem' outside the Church. It makes the 'other' the problem that must be addressed: non-Christians. It rarely challenges the Christian community to look inward and reflect on the ramifications of viewing 'others' as a problem. The one chapter that I think is an incredible exception to this failure is Chapter 12, 'Race and Prejudice.' This chapter is incredible, challenging us, as Christians, to look inward, and understand how our individual actions, and actions as a Church community, have perpetuated, or been complicit, to racial inequity. I think this chapter was very effective and will be a prophetic challenge to the evangelical church. However, the formula of 'love+believe+live' falls apart as Kinnaman & Lyons utilize LGBTQ peoples as an example of the manifestation of anti-orthodoxy in society. Constantly utilizing this group of human beings dehumanizes and makes the LGBTQ community into a central problem for the Christian Church. Kinnaman & Lyons are clearly writing to an audience that believes same-sex attraction, marriage, and, consequently, LGBTQ peoples themselves, stand in opposition to God. The authors also write with a specific tone and word choices that exclude the LGBTQ community from the body and thought process of the 'Christian' faith and community. Furthermore, after spending chapter after chapter reiterating the same statements about the sinfulness and unbiblical nature of same-sex marriage, with very little data, research, evidence, or scriptural support, Kinnaman and Lyons gloss over and trivialize LGBTQ affirming theology. Once again, the authors do not challenge the reader to engage with anything new. The authors assume that the audience agrees with the traditional-marriage beliefs that they are espousing and simply affirm traditional-marriage with hollow statements. What this does, conversely, is demonize and degrade the LGBTQ community, restating over and over that the only option for LGBTQ peoples to be 'true Christians' is to remain celibate or 'give up themselves' and marry a woman. However, Kinnaman and Lyons give great leniency for Churches in how they interpret/choose to respond to LGBTQ peoples, but no leniency for LBTQ peoples themselves. In a text that proclaims to hold the answers in how to refrain from living the lives of hypocrisy and loving first, Kinnaman and Lyons fail, marginalizing and dehumanizing the very group of people that they spend so much time trying to tell the readers how to appropriately approach. A good book that is transparent about its intention to build bridges with the LGBTQ community, even amidst disagreement over orthodoxy and interpretation, and accomplishes this goal without patronizing or dehumanizing the LGBTQ community is Andrew Marin's 'Love is an Orientation.'

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Newman

    Every Christian in Western society should read this ASAP. This is an incredibly helpful and encouraging book from the perspective of two authors and thinkers with a thoroughly realistic view of both Christian culture/beliefs and western society. Its findings are also based on very in-depth and comprehensive surveys and research by the Barna Group. This book will help you identify how Christianity is indeed relevant and how to be relevant (i.e. make a noticeable and appreciated difference in societ Every Christian in Western society should read this ASAP. This is an incredibly helpful and encouraging book from the perspective of two authors and thinkers with a thoroughly realistic view of both Christian culture/beliefs and western society. Its findings are also based on very in-depth and comprehensive surveys and research by the Barna Group. This book will help you identify how Christianity is indeed relevant and how to be relevant (i.e. make a noticeable and appreciated difference in society) through its inspiring stories of people who made faith-informed contributions and creations and a framework for engaging the right questions in culture. Good Faith will also help you understand the extent to which committed Christians can be perceived as extreme and why, as well as how to proactively fight for a better reputation as the body of Christ. Good faith explores the following areas: - Neighborliness and intolerance in public life - Relationships - Sexual ethics - Church and religion By giving a helpful and compelling equation for Good Faith: Love + Believe + Live It's paramount that we love people well, first of all, or our posture will drive people away and sever the possibility of redemptive relationships and ultimately changed lives. It's indispensable to know what to believe so we aren't confused or mistaken about God's intent for human flourishing and so we actually know what it means to love people well. It's crucial to have a coherent pattern of living out one's faith in a loving way; with confidence, clarity, relatable language and useful application; so that we actually make a difference in the world and can have meaningful, redemptive relationships with people who don't believe or live the same way. Good Faith also gives a super helpful framework that helps us distinguish how to be faithful in the nuances between 5 different applications: - Theology: what does God's word and the church's wisdom reveal about this? - Ministry: what is the proper pastoral response to people living in a fallen world? - Relationships: how should I engage friends and neighbors with whom I disagree? - Politics: what government policies, however imperfect, best empower human flourishing? - Public square: what is the appropriate relationship between personal conviction and day-to-day interactions with those who hold different sets of beliefs? You will find that the fact that nuance is important actually liberates those who wish to be faithful from being obligated to give a one-size-fits-all answer to controversial issues in every setting, and you will feel wiser and more tactful for it. This book will: - Give you compassion and courage to move toward those whose values and behaviors are different from yours, instead of insulating yourself or alienating them - Give you hope that Christians can do better to live and love well because the way of Jesus informs that - Give you more confidence that Christians can truly be a blessing to society and maintain orthodox Christian beliefs without being a judgmental person - Make you want to have gracious, tactful, and productive interactions across differences

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I chose this book as a liberal Christian for a few reasons - first because I sometimes get uncomfortable with how other liberals dismiss Christianity and second because I live in an area with more conservative Christians as neighbors and friends and I thought this book would cover some of the differences in our beliefs. I was disappointed in much of the book. First, I found a lot of sloppy arguments that frustrated me. I’d be nodding along that helicopter parenting was too much and then a line a I chose this book as a liberal Christian for a few reasons - first because I sometimes get uncomfortable with how other liberals dismiss Christianity and second because I live in an area with more conservative Christians as neighbors and friends and I thought this book would cover some of the differences in our beliefs. I was disappointed in much of the book. First, I found a lot of sloppy arguments that frustrated me. I’d be nodding along that helicopter parenting was too much and then a line about protecting kids from peanuts would show up and I’m thinking “what?! Peanuts can seriously injure or kill a kid! That’s NOT helicopter parenting!” There were also instance when they’d throw in a statistic and I’d wonder if they were trying to prove a causation but the data could be linked by another factor (correlation does not mean causation!) The section on tolerance made me think, even if I didn’t end up really agreeing with them - they wrote this before Charlottesville and the recent rise of neo-Nazis, but this group of beliefs is one where I don’t see how total tolerance can work. But in thinking about it, I have come to realize that I can be intolerant of someone’s beliefs and still respect their humanity. The part about trigger warnings and safe spaces was bad - they got much of reasoning and usage wrong and it really bugged me because it showed that they didn’t respect people who use these enough to ask questions. They talk about love, but this does not say love to me. I appreciated their thought-out stance on homosexuality. I don’t agree, but it felt like they had thought about the topic with love. I really wish they’d spent more time on greed and the course we seem to be on that the individual matters more than the collective. Those were good sections and I’d like to have read more.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Alt

    I expected more from this book because of how well these two others had presented important ideas in "unChristian" and "You Lost Me." Both books were wake up calls to a sleepy and isolated Christian. However, this book sadly glosses over many important topics with surface-level discussion and solutions. It never digs deeper than the insightful mess of a magazine article. These are two great guys who are doing important work, but they missed the target with this book. Most of what they write come I expected more from this book because of how well these two others had presented important ideas in "unChristian" and "You Lost Me." Both books were wake up calls to a sleepy and isolated Christian. However, this book sadly glosses over many important topics with surface-level discussion and solutions. It never digs deeper than the insightful mess of a magazine article. These are two great guys who are doing important work, but they missed the target with this book. Most of what they write comes off as pretty obvious advice. At best, this is an entry level book for a brand new Christian who wants to start dialoguing about their faith with the world.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lynsey

    I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't. Not one chapter went far enough in-depth on the issue it addressed. I felt like the authors threw statistics at us, wrote about how dismal those statistics were, and then maybe gave some very superficial suggestions for working on the issues mentioned. I was also disappointed that the authors assumed that everyone reading the book was an evangelical conservative with an "orthodox" (fundamentalist?) point of view. There were instances in some cha I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't. Not one chapter went far enough in-depth on the issue it addressed. I felt like the authors threw statistics at us, wrote about how dismal those statistics were, and then maybe gave some very superficial suggestions for working on the issues mentioned. I was also disappointed that the authors assumed that everyone reading the book was an evangelical conservative with an "orthodox" (fundamentalist?) point of view. There were instances in some chapters where differing viewpoints were dismissed without being properly refuted. It quickly became clear that this book was written for a very specific audience, and I'm not part of it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Marvi

    Unfortunately another contemporary pop-Christian work that falls short. Its ideas are not new and it is laborious to read. Redundant and self-congratulatory. Doesn't discuss issues in-depth but offers tired maxims and cliches. Sometimes it puts forth ideas that are demonstrably false. Read Plato's Gorgias instead for revolutionary Christian thought (it's not revolutionary--its ideas just haven't been common for a few hundred years in Christian circles).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Steve Norden

    It starts strong but loses energy. I would appreciate more thoughtful biblical reflection.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

    A smattering of Christian cultural topics grouped together with a hope to win over the nation. The book starts with a great insight on how Christianity is viewed as radical and extreme for simply having beliefs, or worse yet, sharing them. It was a great start to the book and I wish there was some more research data here. The majority of the book addresses popular issues for Christians in today's culture. These sections were pretty good, but I wish they were less opinion and more scripturally cen A smattering of Christian cultural topics grouped together with a hope to win over the nation. The book starts with a great insight on how Christianity is viewed as radical and extreme for simply having beliefs, or worse yet, sharing them. It was a great start to the book and I wish there was some more research data here. The majority of the book addresses popular issues for Christians in today's culture. These sections were pretty good, but I wish they were less opinion and more scripturally centered. The author's solution to the problem of how we are viewed by culture is that we need to be liked by culture. We need to win them over by our action and love. The author show's a post-millennial concern for "creating culture". Christ needs his church to start turning our nation into the kingdom. I have to say I don't see scriptural backing for the need to win over culture. From what Christ said, we can expect to be hated by culture, just as he was. We can expect persecution and suffering. The gospel is offensive and the author tries desperately to soften its offense by first making friends with everyone before sharing. This approach sounds great to us, but I think it's important to note that this was not Christ's approach. "Go and make friends of all nations"... The author seems to soften the urgency of repentance and the deadly offense of sin. Just to note this book also uses an ecumenical angle multiple times in book using the authority of "the wisdom of the church." I'm not sure if some of their research partners are Catholic, or it's just to sell to a broader audience? I thought the book was a bit all over the place. Similar to a bunch of blog articles attached together. I didn't hate this book, but I wouldn't recommend it either.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Wiberg

    *This 2-star rating is largely due to my personal disagreement on many of their positions made throughout this book.* 1. From the beginning I felt a very defensive stance from the authors. They very often state Christianity is being attacked and disregarded (as a Christian myself, I disagree), yet they later say Christianity is overwhelmingly the majority religion in the US. They made sure to mention ALL the good work that gets done because of Christians and it felt like they were just trying to *This 2-star rating is largely due to my personal disagreement on many of their positions made throughout this book.* 1. From the beginning I felt a very defensive stance from the authors. They very often state Christianity is being attacked and disregarded (as a Christian myself, I disagree), yet they later say Christianity is overwhelmingly the majority religion in the US. They made sure to mention ALL the good work that gets done because of Christians and it felt like they were just trying to win praise from others. 2. These two authors present much of their own research and, to me, it seems they are very much posing their research to get the answers they want to find. It seems biased from the start. 3. I didn’t find the authors to be very inclusive of others. They seemed to shame people who don’t fit their evangelical viewpoints, even indicating a lack of respect for other faith groups. I, even as a Catholic, felt a little attacked for having more “modern” views of religion 4. It seemed their views are to get evangelical Christianity to be the forefront of the US, in government, in media, in all generations. I understand this is a core value of being an evangelical Christian; however, as a non-evangelical, it’s an aggressive stance I don’t appreciate. (Goes back to the lack of inclusiveness) 5. Finally, this book will be popular to other like-minded evangelical Christians. If the goal was to bring non-Christians to conversation, I thought it did the opposite.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter Kazmaier

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. David Kinnaman is president of Barna Group, a leading research and communications company that works with churches. Along with his co-author Gabe Lyons, Kinnaman and Lyons use a host of polling data to build the case that Christians are viewed as extreme and irrelevant by American society. Kinnaman and Lyons then go on to describe, based on their own investigations, the best way for churches to fulfill their historic mission of following the teaching of Christ while benefiting society and relati David Kinnaman is president of Barna Group, a leading research and communications company that works with churches. Along with his co-author Gabe Lyons, Kinnaman and Lyons use a host of polling data to build the case that Christians are viewed as extreme and irrelevant by American society. Kinnaman and Lyons then go on to describe, based on their own investigations, the best way for churches to fulfill their historic mission of following the teaching of Christ while benefiting society and relating to a society given that they are painted as extreme and irrelevant. Churches ought to continue to contribute to the betterment of society as a whole through their charitable work. Every church that I have been a part of over the years has, of course, done this to some degree (my wife and I have had fellowship with many different denominations in Canada), but now a church’s participation in a charitable event either alone or in partnership with others will almost never be recognized as such by the media. The church’s involvement will either be unrecognized altogether or the charitable activity will be treated as if it is unrelated to the church’s main mission (of course it is not). The message for me is to recognize this charitable connection in other church organizations and to point it out, since the media will not. For me the most helpful discussion was found in Chapter 7 on how to respond to modern secularism which works to banish all religious expression from the public square on the grounds the very presence of religious expression would be offensive to some members of the public. Kinnaman and Lyons advocate on behalf of a view by John D. Inazu which is called Confident Pluralism or Principled Pluralism. A metaphor of a potluck dinner is used to explain this concept. Everyone is able to bring their best and favorite dish to the potluck, but no one is required to try any dish. So everyone, regardless of their World View is allowed to participate and present their best in the public sphere but no one is required to subscribe to that view or participate in whatever activity that view engenders. This has been helpful for me but means we all need to champion access to the public sphere for all views, not just our own. In summary, I had some points of disagreement with the authors, but I appreciated their data-driven approach to the subject. Their description of Principled Pluralism as a common ground in the public sphere was most helpful. I very much recommend this book to others.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Troy Nevitt

    I rate this four stars with a heavy heart. It deserves three stars, or even two, depending on how vital the words that follow are to you. I think this book is written well, which is why I gave it this many stars. The content, however, I found troubling. Though some of it was quite beneficial to read, as was the other book I reviewed today, Public Faith in Action, I disagree with things in the book. This book, I thought I agreed with more for quite a while. It was a very well thought out and ratio I rate this four stars with a heavy heart. It deserves three stars, or even two, depending on how vital the words that follow are to you. I think this book is written well, which is why I gave it this many stars. The content, however, I found troubling. Though some of it was quite beneficial to read, as was the other book I reviewed today, Public Faith in Action, I disagree with things in the book. This book, I thought I agreed with more for quite a while. It was a very well thought out and rational book. Where he diverges, is where he claims that theology must be of the highest concern, but then diverts himself from his theological framework because of hurt feelings on the part of new friends. He allowed his love for his neighbour (which is a good thing) distort what was clearly shown to him about essential, emotional topics. On the issue of the LGBTQ community, I agree with him that we must do better as a church to love and reach out to those who struggle, or even choose to engage in that lifestyle. Where I do not agree is the commending and accepting of it. For that, I cannot in good conscious recommend this book. It's sad too since this started out on quite a high note with consistent glimpses of very well thought out and careful thoughts on how to display good faith. Unfortunately, he allowed his good faith to become compromised faith. Edit: I have since reduced this to three stars. I have no ill feelings in doing so. It's still very well written. The content obviously didn't change. But I feel it reasonable to change it to a more deserved rating based on function more than firm.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer A.

    Someone recommended this book to me three years ago, and I confess that when I finally started it, I wasn’t very hopeful that I would find it useful, let alone compelling. However, I stuck with it and found it rewarding in the end. These authors articulate a clear and practical understanding of orthodox Christian faith and life, while also advocating for respect and love for those who do not place themselves in that community. I recommend it, both for evangelical Christians who would rather not Someone recommended this book to me three years ago, and I confess that when I finally started it, I wasn’t very hopeful that I would find it useful, let alone compelling. However, I stuck with it and found it rewarding in the end. These authors articulate a clear and practical understanding of orthodox Christian faith and life, while also advocating for respect and love for those who do not place themselves in that community. I recommend it, both for evangelical Christians who would rather not be associated with partisan politics but need help formulating how they engage their faith in the world, and for those who are willing to consider that such a group might exist, and are wondering what it would look like.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Janoski

    The premise is good. Yet...I felt it lacking in depth and substance on each topic. I know that the authors are researchers and have a wealth of statistics, questionnaire responses, etc. almost as though by pummeling the reader with data will get their point across. Perhaps this would be an excellent read for those who are not aware of societal issues in our country (perhaps if you have been in stasis tube or a monastery). Or perhaps my view is slanted from good church teaching on how we as Chris The premise is good. Yet...I felt it lacking in depth and substance on each topic. I know that the authors are researchers and have a wealth of statistics, questionnaire responses, etc. almost as though by pummeling the reader with data will get their point across. Perhaps this would be an excellent read for those who are not aware of societal issues in our country (perhaps if you have been in stasis tube or a monastery). Or perhaps my view is slanted from good church teaching on how we as Christians should live in our world. I do hate to give this a low review because the topics attempting to be addressed are so huge.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Scott McFaddin

    Good Faith = Great book Good Faith is a great book and cannot be more applicable for its time. Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman do a marvelous job guiding us back to the foundations of our Christian faith and show us how we can, and should, engage in conversations and relationships in our culture. They remind us we are not really in the trenches of uncharted territory as Christianity has been counter-cultural throughout history. Lyons and Kinnaman will challenge you and together we can model good fa Good Faith = Great book Good Faith is a great book and cannot be more applicable for its time. Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman do a marvelous job guiding us back to the foundations of our Christian faith and show us how we can, and should, engage in conversations and relationships in our culture. They remind us we are not really in the trenches of uncharted territory as Christianity has been counter-cultural throughout history. Lyons and Kinnaman will challenge you and together we can model good faith and reconcile our culture's brokenness to the Kingdom.

  16. 5 out of 5

    B Dittrich

    This should be REQUIRED READING for every person who calls themselves a Christian in this day and age! Kinnaman & Lyons masterfully face some of today's most contentious issues between faith and the culture without shrinking back or harshness. They expose how we can influence our world in a positive way by looking more like Jesus and less like those who are either timidly compromising or who are self-righteous and self-absorbed. I find all of the wonky statistics, gleaned as only Barna can, to b This should be REQUIRED READING for every person who calls themselves a Christian in this day and age! Kinnaman & Lyons masterfully face some of today's most contentious issues between faith and the culture without shrinking back or harshness. They expose how we can influence our world in a positive way by looking more like Jesus and less like those who are either timidly compromising or who are self-righteous and self-absorbed. I find all of the wonky statistics, gleaned as only Barna can, to be particularly intriguing and insightful. Do not miss this book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    One of the most personally challenging books I have ever read!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chad Brady

    Good book, and while I don't subscribe to all the theories of the authors, I appreciate the main point of the book! Well worth the read!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elisha Lawrence

    Kinnaman & Lyons are helpful voices for current in this age. Kinnaman works with Barna and brings his experience in research to give clarity to today's spiritual landscape. He combines insights from his surveys with wisdom learned from walking with other Godly men. Lyons does the Q conference which informs how Christians can advance good in society. He is at the forefront of some of the best conversations Christians are having about art, public service, and honoring God in the workplace. Good Fa Kinnaman & Lyons are helpful voices for current in this age. Kinnaman works with Barna and brings his experience in research to give clarity to today's spiritual landscape. He combines insights from his surveys with wisdom learned from walking with other Godly men. Lyons does the Q conference which informs how Christians can advance good in society. He is at the forefront of some of the best conversations Christians are having about art, public service, and honoring God in the workplace. Good Faith has three parts...understanding our times...living good faith...the church and our future. The first section explains how Christians are perceived in modern day America through looking at Barna surveys and giving examples. This echoes what tons of books on Christianity in modernity are saying---Christianity is thinning out and this is ultimately a good thing. It's less cool to be a Christian and this is purifying the church. Kinnaman and Lyons main idea for how Christians should live is summarized in these three words: Love, Believe, Live. "How well we love + What we believe + How we live = Good Faith" The middle section of the book looks at practical areas where Christians need to exercise good faith and the main ways Christians can be a witness in a hostile world. Christians can't just focus on what we believe when it comes to topics like homosexuality or racism. These require the nuance that their three-pronged approach allow. The question isn't just, "Do I agree?" but also "How should I respond to this God-made person in front of me?" The authors gave some inspiring examples of how they interacted with the President of the United States and a homosexual chaplain at Stanford University. Praise God for those opportunities! How encouraging to see God using Christian brothers and sisters in the public square like that. The third section of the book is the final three chapters on how the church should move forward from here. I really like the analogy of having "a firm center and soft edges." Christians should be strong in what they believe, not easily moved by the cultural tides, but also full of love for other people welcoming those who disagree with them into their lives. I want to model that type of living. I liked this book. It's one of many talking about this cultural moment and how Christians should live. And it's encouraging to see some areas of unity and consistency in Christian authors. It does seem that hospitality, genuine love for neighbor, perseverance, and holding to orthodox Christian doctrine are vital parts of good faith in Christian living. Kinnaman and Lyons write well, they have helpful examples and stories from their lives and they point out some glaring issues in Christianity. A few that I am thinking about: -Young Christians tend to adjust their beliefs to accommodate a relationship (This is just sad and I can see the pull in myself. Being a Christian is adjusting my belief to what God says. He holds the truth, not me, not my friends. We are sick from sin and shouldn't hold doggedly to beliefs that are tainted by our selfish sin nature. Loving people means being willing to confront-and that doesn't mean you have to be a jerk about it. Confrontation can be done in a loving way. I long to see young Christians learn to have relationships with those they disagree with and the cultural value of tolerance needs to be unpacked and tossed out. "True tolerance is permitting others to have a view you disagree with.") -Playboy executive said nudity is "passe" at this point...when the Playboy executive is saying we're getting too perverted in society, it's time to stop and think about what we're doing. Sexualization in America is everywhere and I'm dying for more voices (Christian and non-Christian) to influence us in a different way. God help us- we're killing ourselves from over stimulation with sex. -The widest divide politically is between black and white evangelicals...this is tragic. Part of overcoming racism is listening to even Christians that we disagree with. I'm so encouraged by black evangelical Christians living out their faith in the public sphere. The AND Campaign, Jemar Tisby & Tyler Burns, Dhati Lewis, John O., Kevin Jones...these guys are some of my heroes. They have introduced me to Christian ideas from an African American perspective I didn't know existed a few years ago. White evangelicals need to learn from black evangelicals. African Americans know a lot about living boldly for truth when it isn't popular. Our country has not overcome racism and racialization. The criminal justice system, education, and housing are glaringly disproportionate and white Christians rarely acknowledge this. We need more conversations and some clear steps of action to remove the stain of racism from evangelicalism. -Chuck Colson told one of the authors to stop freaking out about every issue as if it's the newest objection to Christianity. He said the church has responded to these issues before and we need to learn from those in the past. Read more old books. You so right Grandpappy Chuck! I'll try to read more old books!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Elliott

    p. 13-More than two out of five Americans believe that, when it comes to what happens in the country today, "people of faith" (42 percent) and "religion" (46 percent) are part of the problem, rejecting the idea that religious individuals could be part of the solution. p. 15-The aim of this book is to make a case for good faith. Christianity has managed to survive and thrive as a minority religion countless times throughout history--and does so in many places around the world today. So we hope you p. 13-More than two out of five Americans believe that, when it comes to what happens in the country today, "people of faith" (42 percent) and "religion" (46 percent) are part of the problem, rejecting the idea that religious individuals could be part of the solution. p. 15-The aim of this book is to make a case for good faith. Christianity has managed to survive and thrive as a minority religion countless times throughout history--and does so in many places around the world today. So we hope you'll gain confidence that holding tight to biblical conviction is not only worthwhile and critical but also absolutely doable. Despite the faults we Christians bring to it, Christianity practiced well helps people thrive and communities flourish. Together, we want to discover how Christians can do good for and with the people around us--even when doing so may, at first, be an unwelcome advance. p. 17-Good conversations demand active listening, mental and emotional engagement, openness to the possibility that we're wrong, and empathy to see the situation from the other person's point of view. p. 18-We'll make the argument, however, that it's no longer sufficient for Christians to be winsome. Being winsome is not bad. It's good. But aiming for niceness as our ultimate goal can give us a false sense of making a difference in people's lives. And as you will see in the research conducted for Good Faith, many of the basic ideas Christians believe are perceived as irrelevant and extreme. Nice doesn't overcome the perception that Christians are crazy. p. 20-Social media makes it far too easy to self-select voices that always affirm and never challenge our assumptions and sacred cows. Plus, many of our sanest thinkers and leaders are choosing to stay out of the fray altogether. They've clued in that the most strident and extreme voices are liked, shared, and retweeted--not the most reasonable ones. pgs. 25-37 [Ways in which the religiously unaffiliated think that Christianity is bad for society] Perception: Christian leaders aren't credible guides for life Perception: Faith-driven organizations are irrelevant to a charitable society (Nearly three out of five believe most charitable work would continue without Christians. Shockingly, 17 percent of practicing Christians believe the same... Perception: Christianity is irrelevant to the "real stuff" of life and culture Perception: People can live a good life without Christianity Perception: Many of Christianity's good ideas feel like normal life. p. 27-For increasing millions of people in the wider culture, Christianity feels like a long list of rules that matter to someone else. Some try to hang in there out of a sense of duty or obligation. They might make a sincere effort to participate in church, maybe because it's important to people they care about. But Christianity just doesn't stick. p. 29-Millions of adults are oblivious to how charity happens. Our research shows that up to half of Americans believe a majority of the charitable work in the nation--including providing food, clothing, shelter, counseling and disaster relief, for example--would still happen if there were no religious people or organizations to do that work. Among those who claim no religion, nearly three out of five believe most charitable work would continue without Christians. Shockingly, 17 percent of practicing Christians believe the same, reflecting a lack of confidence in Christian contributions to society. Although their view is far from reality, perceptions matter. p. 35-However, we maintain that, by proclaiming and living under Christ's reign, we can work for the common good in ways that are relevant to the majority culture. (To be clear, just because an increasingly secular and narcissistic society thinks the gospel is irrelevant doesn't mean that it is irrelevant. In fact, sharing the gospel is one of the most relevant things we can do!) p. 40-However, perhaps out of fear instilled by 9/11 and an obsession with making ourselves "safe" in a world that is clearly not safe, our society too often counts religious conviction and public observance in the same column with religious extremism. Countercultural faithfulness is conflated with radicalism. p. 43-Forty-five percent of atheists, agnostics, and religiously unaffiliated in America agree witht eh statement "Christianity is extremist." That's just shy of half. p. 44-If Christians are to be agents of good faith, we've got to overcome the real or perceived barriers to talking with people who don't already agree with us. We need to become experts at engaging in difficult conversations. p. 45-As a culture, we are trying to figure out how to make sense of the widening religious and ideological differences we experience everyday. Sometimes it feels like we're all in an epic tug-of-war to decide who gets to narrate reality and determine what is true and good. And, by default, the mushy middle seems to be winning. Many people are gravitating to a contrived centrist position that says everything will be okay if none of us holds too tightly to any particular belief. Ironically, this contrived center is itself becoming an ideology, as people grip it more and more tightly and call the people tugging on the ends extremists. p. 57-New research...highlights the extent to which Americans pledge allegiance to the new moral code, summed up in six guiding principles. 1. To find yourself, look within yourself. 2. People should not criticize someone else's life choices. 3. To be fulfilled in life, pursue the things you desire most. 4. Enjoying yourself is the highest goal of life. 5. People can believe whatever they want as long as those beliefs don't affect society. 6. Any kind of sexual expression between two consenting adults is fine. [This is then contrasted on p. 60 with principles of God's moral order] 1. To find yourself, discover the truth outside yourself, in Jesus. 2. Loving others does not always mean staying silent. 3. Joy is found not in pursuing our own desires but in giving of ourselves to bless others. 4. The highest goal of life is giving glory to God. 5. God gives people the freedom to believe whatever they want, but those beliefs always affect society. 6. God designed boundaries for sex and sexuality in order for humans to flourish. p. 59-Too many Christians have substituted comfortable living for a life changed by the gospel. The government's tacit endorsement of vaguely Christian morals has made it difficult, in many ways, to discern what it means to be faithful, beyond showing up. p. 76-Being countercultural means bringing good faith--a vision for what is orderly and right, abundant and generous, beautiful and flourishing with life and relationships--to the broader culture. This vision is not just an individual pursuit; it is best expressed in communities of faith where believers love and care for one another well and then invite others in to experience the same grace. Christians and churches that live this way find not only that their faith becomes more alive but also that their collective impact on their communities is deeper. p. 81-(Three out of ten Americans of no faith say a church is not a benefit to a community, and another three out of ten don't know if it is or isn't.) p. 103-[One (or both) of the authors attended a meeting with President Obama to discuss faith, tolerance and his leadership on the issue. During this meeting they reminded him of a speech he had made as a Senator which is as follows] Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King--indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history--were not only motivated by faith but repeatedly used language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition. [The authors end this chapter with the conclusion that the President had an opportunity to declare an unwavering commitment to promote confident pluralism yet he did not make that pledge and instead a few months later at his inauguration removed evangelist Louie Giglio from the speaking list because the public outcry of a message he had given 20 years ago regarding homosexuality and gay-marriage.] p. 105-In a confidently pluralist society, people of good faith do not insist that those who don't share our values be legally compelled to live by them--to eat our green bean salad. That's fake tolerance. But neither should we be compelled by force of law to eat someone else's tuna casserole. Confident pluralism requires that good faith Christians concern ourselves with defending everyone's liberty. This may feel uncomfortable at first for those who are used to Christianity holding a privileged place in American society. But pluralism and, more importantly, Christ's command to love our neighbors oblige us to defend the rights of all citizens to live by their conscience--in and out of the public square. p. 158-Most US adults recognize that the agency of people of color, in particular, is often limited in this way: seven out of ten Americans agree that people of color "are often put at a social disadvantage because of their race." For Christians, this might translate, "People of color are often limited in their ability to act as God's representatives"--not because they are black or brown but because of the social, legal, and cultural inequities that are the enduring legacy of racial oppression. And yet evangelicals--the vast majority of whom are white--are more than twice as likely as the general population to "strongly disgree" that people of color are socially disadvantaged because of race. They are also twice as likely to "strongly agree" that "racism is mostly a problem of the past, not the present." p. 173- [On the argument that the church is on the wrong side of history regarding homosexuality; like slavery] This sounds pretty convincing. After all, if the church messed up on huge issues in the past, who's to say we're not repeating those mistakes? Didn't the church convict Galileo of heresy for arguing, based on science, that the earth is not the center of our universe? What if we are wrong again?...However this argument has a problem: it doesn't account for history or align with Scripture. [This argument continues for another page and a half suggesting that "From Genesis to Revelation, the trajectory is toward more freedom when it comes to oppressed social groups such as slaves and women." "On human sexuality, the trajectory of Scripture is toward more-clarity on God-given constraints--that is, it illuminates a higher, more interconnected set of standards for our sexual lives. As the story of God's people unfolds--from the Old Testament to Jesus' ministry to the Epistles written to the early church--the Bible's sexual ethic grows clearer and remains in line with the Creator's intentions."] P. 197 A more nuanced (and biblical) theology of the family and a more robust theology of singleness and celibacy will allow the church to gain a more credible position on the joys and hardships of living the biblical sexual ethic. Only as the family of God can we credibly call gay and bisexual Christians to celibacy. If we do not reconfigure our churches to be communities that welcome, support and celebrate singleness, we are asking gay and straight brothers and sisters to do hard, lifelong work without the willingness to do so ourselves. p. 201-[Five lenses through which we can view our response to LGBT people and related topics...these lenses not only help us think clearly about the current sexuality debate but also provide a framework for how good faith believers can respond to current issues and to future issues that arise. Theology: What does God's Word and the church's wisdom reveal about this? Ministry: What is the proper pastoral response to people living in a fallen world? Relationships: How should I engage friends and neighbors with whom I disagree? Politics: What government policies, however imperfect, best empower human flourishing? Public square: What is the appropriate relationship between personal conviction and day-to-day interactions with those who hold different sets of beliefs? p. 204-Some Christ followers are called to celibacy as a vocation, but all single believers are called to chastity. This vision for sexuality applies to every person, desire, and category. Gay, bisexual, straight, married, single, or other--everyone bears the same burden. For some, this may seem a heavier weight to carry, but, nonetheless, God's design for sexuality applies equally to each person. p. 207-As we touched on in previous chapters, Christians should be careful not to make marriage an idol, assuming it is every believer's destiny. Instead, we need to cast a compelling vision for the value and vocations of single people. We must not define significance or maturity in terms of marital status. Instead, we must reorient our community's values around spiritual gifts and service. p. 211-when it comes to relationships, tone matters as much as--if not more than--substance. Christians should be the most loving, kind, respectful, and teachable friends, always going the extra mile to understand, to listen, and to give grace far beyond what is expected. p. 222-With simple population projections, we can reasonably say that Christianity will continue to be the dominant-but less dominant--demographic force in the United States even a hundred years from now. p. 222-the signs of a more active secularism are hard to miss. Most people believe that culture is adrift from its Christian moorings. Four out of five Americans agree with the statement "US society is becoming more secular, meaning more likely to exclude faith and religion from public life." Also, 43 percent of all adults and 57 percent of practicing Christians say the description of a "secular nation" fits today's America. Other adults are apt to call the nation "godless" (23 percent) or "Post-Christian" (31 percent). pgs. 224-225-We can acknowledge that it's not a bad thing to see superficial forms of faith fade away. When inert faith evaporates, there is greater opportunity for the faithful to stay on mission. But a few questions we should wrestle with are: -What practices should we incorporate into the life of believers that can be sustained alongside a secular culture? -How should our churches prioritize reaching seekers (evangelism) and equipping the saints (discipleship)? -And how do we pass on a strong, vibrant faith heritage to a new generation? p. 226-Among Elders in the United States (age seventy and older), three out of four believe the Bible to be authoritative, and the ratio of those who are engaged with the Bible to those who are skeptical is 4:1. Among the youngest generation of Americans (Millennials, age eighteen to thirty-one), fewer than half believe the Bible is authoritative, and the ratio of Bible engagement to skepticism is 1:2.... These data reflect a sea change in the way young Americans are approaching the Scriptures. If older generations of non-Christians don't exactly believe the Bible, they generally don't find fault with it. Telling someone "the Bible says so" might communicate persuasively among older Americans, but young adults are much less likely to buy it. The prevailing ethos goes, "Keep your dogma to yourself." p. 228-Eighty-four percent of US adults and 66 percent of practicing Christians agree that the "highest goal of life is to enjoy it as much as possible." Ninety-one percent of adults and 76 percent of practicing Christians believe that the "best way to find yourself is to look inside yourself." Ninety-seven percent of adults and 91 percent of practicing Christians agree that you have to be true to yourself. These are simply mind-blowing statistics. Millions of Christians have grafted New Age dogma onto their spiritual persona. When we peel back the layers, we find that many Christians are using the way of Jesus to pursue the way of self. p. 237-[Citing 1 Cor. 5:9-12] Paul was saying there is a big difference between how we engage with the world and how we engage in Christian community. And we would humbly suggest that conflating, confusing, or emphasizing one over the other of these two postures weakens the church inside and out. p. 238-In 2010, a University of Pennsylvania professor and a nonreligious research group in Philadelphia decided to see if they could determine the economic "halo effect" of a house of worship on the surrounding community. They wanted to figure out a congregation's economic worth, if any, to the local community it serves. Using a metric of fifty-four factors, researchers tallied up the economic benefits of ten Protestant churches, one Catholic parish, and one synagogue in Philadelphia. The grand total for the twelve congregations combined? Over $50 million every year. p. 242-Whether it's throwing a prom for special-needs teens, providing practical and relational resources for homeless people, caring for children whose parents are struggling financially or emotionally, hosting weekend camps so high school students can hear the truth about Jesus, coaching immigrant students in English literacy, bringing diverse leaders together to stem the tide of racism in our communities, sharing our personal stories of salvation with friends and neighbors, supporting moms-to-be who don't have a husband--these and countless others are the reconciling, proclaiming, restorative, outward-facing activities of a good faith church. p. 243-[9 factors that make a significant difference between baseline churches (maintaining or declining] and growing churches 1. Prioritizing outreach by serving the poor and sharing faith 2. Partnering with other churches and causes 3. Being innovative for the sake of the gospel 4. Focusing on receptive teens and young adults 5. Teaching the Bible thoroughly 6. Fostering close Christian community 7. Developing new leaders 8. Leading with a team that has diverse skills and spiritual gifts 9. Prayer p. 256-As Christians, we believe God knows what he is doing and is not surprised or confounded by ungodly civilizations. Daniel, perhaps the Bible's most famous exile, says as much to King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4: "The Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world. He gives them to anyone he chooses" (v.17). When we maintain the belief that God knows where all this is headed--towards his end and purposes--we don't have to worry about the direction of culture. We just need to be faithful to God and to his calling. In exile, we learn to trust God. pgs. 261-262-The Christian community is called to be a counterculture for the common good. We are countercultural when we: -love others well -remain committed to orthodox beliefs -make space for those who disagree -stand out from the crowd -ask the right questions -live under God's moral order -offer a vision of human intimacy beyond sex -practice hospitality -do the good, hard work of racial reconciliation -value human life in every form, at every stage -love our gay friends and trust God's design for sex -build households of faith -are theologically grounded and culturally responsive -make disciples -practice the sacred art of seeing people -make disciples and faith communities that are Christlike

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jared Adams

    With a thesis that came across as self-evident, this book did not seem particularly insightful. That thesis is this: Belief in Christian values in the United States is waning and Christians are trying to figure out what it means to be a part of a society that no longer tacitly agrees with it. The authors went to a lot of trouble to do surveys to determine this, but was there any chance they'd discover something else? What hurt the book further was that it never left a framework of generalities. With a thesis that came across as self-evident, this book did not seem particularly insightful. That thesis is this: Belief in Christian values in the United States is waning and Christians are trying to figure out what it means to be a part of a society that no longer tacitly agrees with it. The authors went to a lot of trouble to do surveys to determine this, but was there any chance they'd discover something else? What hurt the book further was that it never left a framework of generalities. For instance, it offers a simplistic three-word formula for living the Christian life (Love, Believe, Live) and then gives a bare page or two on each before proceeding to treat it as a settled matter. Take "Believe." Believe what? "Orthodox Christianity," they say. What does that mean? It begs for a digression into what constitutes core doctrines of Christianity, but that conversation doesn't really happen. And that's important, because in any book of Christian life, you need a solid rooting in the gospel to avoid going down the path of legalism. As a result of this lack, the book often feels like a mound of things I need to do before I'm considered a "good faith" Christian. Which brings me to the title: "Good faith." That phrase is used over and over again in the book, implying a dichotomy of good Christians and bad Christians. How helpful is that? If you're doing the things in the book, is it helpful for you to say to yourself "Hey, I'm a good Christian, unlike those shlubs over there"? And if you're not, is it helpful for you to doubt your salvation because you're not, say, "having hard conversations with people of different faiths"? All that said, there were some truly challenging things to think about. One was how the modern Western church idolizes marriage to the detriment of single people. On one hand, we expect single people to remain chaste, and on the other hand everyone is so caught up in their marriages and families that single people have no place to develop the kind of familial, platonic relationships that will help fill their need for intimacy. Families in the church, the authors say, should intentionally welcome such people into their homes, making them part of their families. They also linked this with the church's response to homosexuality, urging a welcoming attitude toward people who are often even further isolated in Christian communities. The other point that struck me was that Christians should expect to be viewed as irrelevant and extreme. We have different values than the prevailing culture, and that's okay. We neither need to wring our hands at the "post-Christian" world, nor assimilate. Things will go our way in this life, or they won't, but that makes little difference, because we are citizens of an eternal city in which we will spend infinitely more time. Better, then, to practice the cultural norms of THAT place, than this one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Reid Mccormick

    I think the first question you need to ask before you read this book is this: do I live in a society where society thinks my faith is irrelevant and extreme? I think it is a valid question but the answer is quite complex. I can definitely think of aspects of Christianity that are not en vogue with modern American culture, however I am not sure I identify with those aspects of the faith. Christianity is a “come as you are” faith, there are no initiations and certifications to earn. This is what m I think the first question you need to ask before you read this book is this: do I live in a society where society thinks my faith is irrelevant and extreme? I think it is a valid question but the answer is quite complex. I can definitely think of aspects of Christianity that are not en vogue with modern American culture, however I am not sure I identify with those aspects of the faith. Christianity is a “come as you are” faith, there are no initiations and certifications to earn. This is what make faith in Jesus so wonderful, but it is also its downfall. Literally anyone can claim to be a Christian then pivot and say the vilest, most hateful thing ever. And it is not my place to say they are not a Christian, I can only attest that those words do not reflect my beliefs. Moving on, though Christianity definitely does not dictate normative thinking and behavior in American culture the way that it used to, it definitely still has the strongest grip on society. Every person that has run for president of the United States in the past three decades (at least) has had to pander to Christian voting bloc. Candidate Obama had to go out of his way to show his Christian faith. Candidate Trump had to be endorsed by the largest Christian university in the country. Though Christianity may not be the solid majority anymore, it is still the dominant view. In my opinion, you are safer in this country expressing your Christian faith over your Islamic or Jewish faith. This is sad, but true. Having said all that, I understand Kinnaman and Lyons argument. It is very likely that a “committed” Christian will get some push back for their faith, and Christians need to respond with love and humility while sticking true to their values. I was disappointed how the authors just swept over the atrocities of Christianity. For example, men used the Bible to endorse slavery. That is a fact. Some men used the Bible to condemn slavery. That is a fact, too. However, the authors totally dismiss the former argument because the latter argument exists. That is a totally insufficient response. That is likely saying you have a great basketball team because one person made an awesome half-court shot though it missed a hundred shots from the free throw line. Christianity was used to promote injustices and today it is still used to promote injustices. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. What we may think is standing up for faith today, may be seen as an injustice tomorrow. I say this from my own experience. I have said some stupid and hateful things in my past while standing on my soap box of faith. When I step off the soap box and listen, things began to change. I liked the overall theme of this book but I just did not find it helpful.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    A friend recommended this book to my husband and I as one of the best books he has read this year, so we purchased it hardcover! (Rare!) My husband read it first and shared tidbits as he went along. He shared the title with our worship minister who incorporated many of the thoughts of the book in his prayers and meditations. When I got around to reading the book a month or so later, I think the "wow" factor had worn off and many of the premises of the authors seemed self-evident to me. This is p A friend recommended this book to my husband and I as one of the best books he has read this year, so we purchased it hardcover! (Rare!) My husband read it first and shared tidbits as he went along. He shared the title with our worship minister who incorporated many of the thoughts of the book in his prayers and meditations. When I got around to reading the book a month or so later, I think the "wow" factor had worn off and many of the premises of the authors seemed self-evident to me. This is perhaps more my fault than the authors! As a Christian who happens to be a registered Democrat, I got nervous with the political conservative feel of the beginning of the book. There's a story about one of the authors visiting President Obama, and my hackles went up about where the story was going. Again, it was my bias going into the book that caused my concern. The second half of the book was more practical and less political. I'm not sure if the authors intentionally meant to capture the interest of conservatives before they brought down the progressive hammer in the second half or not, but that is how I perceived it. Living in the Midwest I'm just beginning to see that many perceive Christianity as irrelevant and extreme. The solution to this perception, according to the authors, is to be Christians of good faith. The recipe is "how well you love + what you believe = how you live." I certainly agree with the premise. The authors then specifically go through some hot topics in which Christians could use good faith, such as sexuality and race. If a Christian is well-read on any of these topics, then the book might not seem enlightening, but most sections gave me at least one new theoretical or practical insight.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Survey results from Barna Group, a Christian organization that, like Ipsos-Reid or Gallup, polls people about trends and tries to synthesize the results does not necessarily set the stage for gripping reading. However, one the authors, David Kinnaman, spoke at a conference I was able to attend this spring. It was his obvious passion for what he had discovered in researching the North American evangelical church that captivated me and led me to this book. Dividing the findings into three main head Survey results from Barna Group, a Christian organization that, like Ipsos-Reid or Gallup, polls people about trends and tries to synthesize the results does not necessarily set the stage for gripping reading. However, one the authors, David Kinnaman, spoke at a conference I was able to attend this spring. It was his obvious passion for what he had discovered in researching the North American evangelical church that captivated me and led me to this book. Dividing the findings into three main headings—Understanding our Times, Living Good Faith, and the Church and Our Future—Kinnaman and Lyons look for godly ways for the church to respond to the negative ways it is perceived in broader society without compromising its faithful relationship with God. In that, the response that comes up repeatedly is that of grace. Whether discussing politics, medical ethics, race, prejudice, gender, or orientation, the admonition was to respond in grace and love to the other! My only quibble with the book (and the reason I gave this otherwise excellent social commentary a 4 vs. a 5) were the chapters devoted to same-sex attraction. While the authors were able to look objectively (and critically) at the trends of the church in a broader social context with almost every other issue, they were less able to do so with LGBT concerns. It seemed, instead, that they were mired in the very "evangelical culture" they were able to clearly flag in other areas. Having said that, the posture did not change—grace MUST be paramount. In short, while a critique of the church, I found this book to be hopeful in tone, posture, and expectation. I would definitely recommend evangelicals to be open to grappling with Kinnaman and Lyon's findings and grace-filled recommendations!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paul Weaver

    I'm a numbers nut, so I find statistics to be both interesting and fascinating. It's no secret to anyone that our current culture is becoming more hostile toward Christianity. The authors of this book use the statistics to make the case that mainstream Christianity is under pressure to prove itself legitimate and relevant in our society today. They bring to the forefront topics that religious tradition would rather not discuss. The numbers make a compelling case that it is time for the Church t I'm a numbers nut, so I find statistics to be both interesting and fascinating. It's no secret to anyone that our current culture is becoming more hostile toward Christianity. The authors of this book use the statistics to make the case that mainstream Christianity is under pressure to prove itself legitimate and relevant in our society today. They bring to the forefront topics that religious tradition would rather not discuss. The numbers make a compelling case that it is time for the Church to begin having these discussions. I did not learn anything new from reading Good Faith. However, my own convictions as to where the Church stands in our culture were confirmed by the data given in the book. The authors do an excellent job presenting and explaining the statistics. They make a push on the necessity for the topics of morality and sexuality to be discussed on a serious level as the Church will one day be fully engaged with many different viewpoints than religious tradition adheres to. The authors do lay out some factors that can make a significant difference and impact the health of the Church in an increasingly secular culture. None of these factors are new and they should surprise no one who has been in Church leadership for any length of time. Overall I like the book. It is easy to read, even with all of the statistics! It also provides the reader with plenty of information to think about. I would recommend this book to those in the leadership of the Church as they must become aware of how the world around us views us as the Church.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jason Blean

    A considerate and balanced book; looks at post-Christian society, honestly acknowledges the failures of the church and Christians to be relevant and loving towards those outside the church and those who reject orthodox Christian teaching while making helpful suggestions on how to engage with a culture that increasingly is aggressively hostile to Biblical Christianity. Lots of personal anecdotes make this very readable and easy to follow. Lots of research (from the author's own research organisat A considerate and balanced book; looks at post-Christian society, honestly acknowledges the failures of the church and Christians to be relevant and loving towards those outside the church and those who reject orthodox Christian teaching while making helpful suggestions on how to engage with a culture that increasingly is aggressively hostile to Biblical Christianity. Lots of personal anecdotes make this very readable and easy to follow. Lots of research (from the author's own research organisation) and comprehensive referencing from different sources gives the impression of well supported ideas, not opinionated views. It warns against" the divisive cliques" that "social media at its worst" can produce, "name-calling and finger-pointing", and the individualism that has come to characterise much of the western church. It effectively details and evaluates the "new moral code" for society (including the "morality of self-fulfilment" and the damage that causes). It then outlines six counter-cultural principles of God's moral order and how these challenge our culture's self-centred assumptions. The second part of the book outlines how to live as a "good faith" Christian in a post-Christian society, suggesting the simple (but admittedly difficult) formula: "love, believe, live". All in all, this is an encouraging, helpful read for those struggling to engage with a society that is content to label any expression of orthodox Christian belief extreme and/or irrelevant.

  27. 4 out of 5

    JeanD

    Didn't expect to even like this book but found it so thought-provoking instead of preachy (what I expected). It's been a long time since I finished a book with lots of bookmarks on parts I wanted to remember. It presents viewpoints on current controversial subjects in a respectful way while staying true to the Christian viewpoint presented in the book. I found myself sharing parts of it with my teenager as I read it. One part I shared was on Fake Tolerance (pg98): "True tolerance is an ability t Didn't expect to even like this book but found it so thought-provoking instead of preachy (what I expected). It's been a long time since I finished a book with lots of bookmarks on parts I wanted to remember. It presents viewpoints on current controversial subjects in a respectful way while staying true to the Christian viewpoint presented in the book. I found myself sharing parts of it with my teenager as I read it. One part I shared was on Fake Tolerance (pg98): "True tolerance is an ability to acknowledge and permit other people's views. To put up with opinions with which you don't agree. To live with ideas and people you find appalling. True tolerance-sometimes call it "principled pluralism"-is a fundamental feature of a truly free society." I also shared the discussions on good works and allowing religious freedom for all. Extremely interesting. I loved how the authors advocated seeking out and forming relationships with people who think differently than ourselves as a means of understanding. Definitely one of the better nonfiction books I've read in a long time. Worth reading no matter what your view and beliefs regarding Christianity and religion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Richard Angelus

    This book aims to address these questions: "What does the future hold for people of faith when people perceive Christians as irrelevant and extreme? In what ways can faith be a force for good in society? How can people of faith contribute to a world that, more and more, believes religion is bad?" From the outset, Kinnaman and Lyons convincingly show that many people increasingly view religion—any religion—as "extreme" and "irrelevant." This forces "good faith" Christians to be more intentional a This book aims to address these questions: "What does the future hold for people of faith when people perceive Christians as irrelevant and extreme? In what ways can faith be a force for good in society? How can people of faith contribute to a world that, more and more, believes religion is bad?" From the outset, Kinnaman and Lyons convincingly show that many people increasingly view religion—any religion—as "extreme" and "irrelevant." This forces "good faith" Christians to be more intentional and prepared in their interactions with the world. Although the future becomes more hostile, faith can be good in society through ongoing mercy-care and the Gospel proclamation. Both authors also say that Christians can contribute to this world by holding firm to their confession and convictions while striving to live peaceably with all. In essence, Good Faith = How Well We Love + What We Believe + How We Live To read my review of David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons' Good Faith: Being A Christian When Society Thinks You're Irrelevant and Extreme (2016), CLICK HERE: https://www.richardangelus.me/2018/07...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Wes Moldogo

    Author's Intent- Good! The steadfast call to conintue to love your neighbor that is different to you in the pluralistic context that is growing increasingly diverse is important. That I give five stars. I outta slap this book on the heads some of the elders in my church and in several of the faith communities I walk in. Who seemed to be the intended audience, were American Evangelical Christians. Everything else - picking and choosing. One star. In a nutshell: One moment - don't listen and be lea Author's Intent- Good! The steadfast call to conintue to love your neighbor that is different to you in the pluralistic context that is growing increasingly diverse is important. That I give five stars. I outta slap this book on the heads some of the elders in my church and in several of the faith communities I walk in. Who seemed to be the intended audience, were American Evangelical Christians. Everything else - picking and choosing. One star. In a nutshell: One moment - don't listen and be lead by your feelings and empathy, especially when it comes to theological and interpretations of scripture re: same sex marriage and practice. Don't bother listening to their experiences and their interpretations of the Bible. Next moment -lead by heartbroken feelings to empathize for African-American neighbors, and theologies birthed out of their experiences - in light of racial tensions in the past 5-6 years.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joel Jackson

    In "Good Faith," Kimmaman and Lyons offer a challenge to the Christian who seeks to remain consistent with the witness of Scripture and yet not compromise their ability to be a witness in a pluralistic society. Arguing that people of Good Faith are those who stay true to the fullness of the revealed word of God they encourage believers to remain orthodox in their beliefs while offering the love that Christ offers to us. They encourage readers to remain extreme in regards to the world's view of u In "Good Faith," Kimmaman and Lyons offer a challenge to the Christian who seeks to remain consistent with the witness of Scripture and yet not compromise their ability to be a witness in a pluralistic society. Arguing that people of Good Faith are those who stay true to the fullness of the revealed word of God they encourage believers to remain orthodox in their beliefs while offering the love that Christ offers to us. They encourage readers to remain extreme in regards to the world's view of us while seeking relevancy through Christ's example to all. The good faith Christian offers truth to those living in ways contrary to Biblical faith and also offers love, receiving all into the fellowship of believers. We need to be a people of both love and holiness, not compromising one for the other. I received this book through goodreads' giveaway program.

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