Drawing on recent research and in-depth interviews with young leavers, Generation Ex-Christian will shine a light on this crisis and propose effective responses that go beyond slick services or edgy outreach. But it won’t be easy. Christianity is regarded with suspicion by the younger generation. Those who leave the faith are often downright cynical. To make matters worse, parents generally react poorly when their children go astray. Many sink into a defensive crouch or go on the attack, delivering homespun fire-and-brimstone sermons that further distance their grown children. Others give up completely or take up the spiritual-sounding “all we can do is pray” mantra without truly exploring creative ways to engage their children on matters of faith. Some turn to their churches for help, only to find that they frequently lack adequate resources to guide them. This is where Generation Ex-Christian will lend a hand. It will equip and inspire parents, church leaders, and everyday Christians to reawaken the prodigal's desire for God and set him or her back on the road to a dynamic faith. The heart of the book will be the raw profiles of real-world, young ex-Christians. No two leavers are identical, but upon close observation some categories emerge. The book will identify seven different kinds of leavers (the postmodern skeptic, the drifter, the neopagan, etc.) and offer practical advice for how to connect with each type. Shrewd tips will also intersperse the chapters alerting readers to opportunities for engagement, and to hidden landmines they must sidestep to effectively reach leavers.
A messianic Jew who has led several family members to Christ, Newman urges Christians to look to the Bible before they evangelize. He writes, “a richer understanding of biblical truth, I have found, can provide a firmer foundation for bold witness and clear communication.” After a brief introduction on the nature of family, he delves into discussions of grace, truth, love, humility, and time. He also addresses issues related to eternity and end-of-life conversations. Bringing the Gospel Home will help any Christian as he seeks to guide loved ones into God’s family.
Jesus said his followers would be a light to the world and a city on a hill. He envisioned a wildly diverse yet compellingly unified multitude of strangers that would penetrate the world with love. They would be a counter-culture, in a way that was for the culture not against it. They would lead the world in acts of love and justice and be the most life-giving bosses, employees, neighbors, and friends. They would also be the best enemies, returning insults with kindness and persecution with prayers. They would stay true to their biblical convictions and--not in spite of those convictions but because of them--would love, listen to, and serve those who don't share their convictions. Over time their movement--Jesus' movement--would become irresistible to people from every nation, tribe, and tongue.
This is not how many, perhaps most, today see Christianity. And justifiably so, given that many bearing the name Christian use the Bible to justify behavior that Jesus would never endorse and would always condemn, that would in fact make Jesus furious. But Jesus's vision for the church is possible, and Irresistible Faith provides a blueprint for Christians to pursue it as redeemed individuals, as a renewed community, and as those working for a restored world. This is a way of being that gives a tired, cynical world a reason to pause and consider Christianity . . . and to start wishing it was true.