Tuesday, October 30, 2007


My nephew-in-law first made me aware of this book - unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity... and Why It Matters. David Kinnamen and Gabe Lyons are the authors. The book has its own website, and received a mention in Time magazine. Publishers Weekly says the following about the book:

Kinnaman, president of the Barna Institute, was inspired to write this book when Lyons (of the Fermi Project) commissioned him to do extensive research on what young Americans think about Christianity. Lyons had a gut-level sense that something was desperately wrong, and three years of research paints exactly that picture. Mosaics and Busters (the generations that include late teens to early 30-somethings) believe Christians are judgmental, antihomosexual, hypocritical, too political and sheltered. Rather than simply try to do a PR face-lift, Kinnaman looks at ways in which churches' activities actually may have been unchristian and encourages a return to a more biblical Christianity, a faith that not only focuses on holiness but also loves, accepts and works to understand the world around it. It would be possible to get lost in the numbers, but the authors use numerous illustrations from their research and life experiences and include insights at the end of every chapter from Christian leaders like Charles Colson, John Stott, Brian McLaren and Jim Wallis.
Many people are talking about this one, including the following:

I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on anything the authors specifically say. That being said, however, I want to express some concerns that I have.

  1. The book seems to have quite a few folks from the emerging-church/religious-left/trendy-Christian perspective, like Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Andy Stanley, and Jim Wallis. Why are we not hearing from anyone like David Jeremiah, John MacAthur, John Piper, or Chuck Swindoll? Were any of them asked to participate (did they decline if they were?), or do Kinnaman and Lyons think they have nothing to say (or that what they say is irrelevant)?

  2. Who is actually guilty of creating these stereotypes? Paul & Jan and other creeps on TBN, or the Lutheran pastor down the street? Who is to blame?

  3. Do Kinnaman and Lyons see any "negative perceptions" as being unreversable? For example, Jesus sounded like He was making any exclusive claim by saying, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father, but by me." Do Kinnaman and Lyons think that Jesus was being exclusive, or is following Jesus just one of many paths to God?

  4. What do Kinnaman and Lyons think Jesus meant when He said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand?" What should we repent of?


  1. I would suggest the loud Christian political operatives are to blame -- think James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Roberts, et al. I doubt the Lutheran minister down the street has anything to do with it unless he's giving sermons in November telling his congregation about the evils of liberalism.

  2. Hey Matt, thanks for the facebook add!

    Here's me addressing your concerns: 1. The book is essentially founded in the Barna Group, which I think would squelch any un-due "leftist" leaning.

    2. I think the point of the book (I'm about 100 pages in, it's actually sitting right next to me) is that you and I are to blame. All of us, for being comfortable with our tickets to heaven and not living out the Kingdom that Jesus proclaimed.

    You should read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts, even though I don't really know you, I like you. Mostly because I like your family members, but thats a great start!

  3. Hey Matt, thanks for the link. On your first question, I had a similar concern (as a big fan of Piper). My take is that Kinnaman's trying to speak to the "young Christian" milieu that is so often associated with guys like McLaren, Crouch, etc. Just the same, I would have liked to hear a more theologically conservative voice...Mark Driscoll would have been good.