David Kinnaman Interview: Part I

Possibly the most intriguing book I’ve read over the past several years is “UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity…and Why it Matters” by David Kinnaman (president of the Barna Group) and Gabe Lyons (founder of Q and a cofounder of Catalyst). This is an important book. In fact, it’s so important that I think every Christian in the U.S. needs to read it. The book is based on research done with sixteen to twenty-nine-year-olds on their perceptions of Christianity.

Our role in the world as followers of Jesus, both individually and collectively, is to give an accurate picture of who God is by the way we live. That’s why it’s so troubling to receive confirmation of what many of us have suspected to be true: “We have become famous for what we oppose, rather than who we are for” (p. 26). The research revealed six broad themes about outsiders perspectives of Christians. Outsiders see Christians as hypocritical, too focused on getting converts (“Outsiders wonder if we genuinely care about them” (p. 29), anti-homosexual, sheltered, too political, and judgmental. This interview is part one of a three part interview, I’ll post parts two and three over the next two days. Let me know what you think…


  4 comments for “David Kinnaman Interview: Part I

  1. September 13, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I happened to come across your blog. Kinnaman’s “UNChristian” is indeed intriguing and I agree it should be read by all who consider themselves followers of Christ. He reports that, “the gay issue has become the ‘big one,’ the negative image most likely to be intertwined with Christianity’s reputation”. Kinnaman explains, “Out of twenty attributes that we assessed, both positive and negative, as they related to Christianity, the perception of being ‘anti-homosexual’ was at the top of the list”. Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young church goers say this phrase describes Christianity. He tells readers, “If you are interested in communicating and expressing Christ to new generations, you must understand the intensity with which they hold these views.” Perhaps even more sobering, Kinnaman affirms that, “Christianity’s image problem is not merely the perceptions of young outsiders. Those inside the church see it as well.” Kinnaman warns, “Both inside and outside the church, they are telling us to wake up to this issue!”

    It goes without saying that nearly every person who acknowledges an aversion to homosexuality does so on the basis of what he or she believes the Bible has to say. In their mind, there is no doubt whatsoever about what the Bible says and what the Bible means. Their general argument goes something like this: Homosexuality is an abomination and the homosexual is a sinner. Homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, if we are to be faithful to the clear teachings of Scripture we too must condemn homosexuality. Needless to say, this premise is being widely debated among evangelicals today and seriously challenged by biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders everywhere.

    It rarely occurs to any of us that our reading of Scripture is profoundly colored by our own cultural context and worldview. Clearly, throughout church history most Christians who have used the Bible to condemn other Christians were acting in good faith. However, history has revealed that what many were defending was their presumption of what the Bible teaches, not the truth of Scripture.

    As I happen to speak and write on this very topic, I thought perhaps you might find some of these posts of particular interest and relevance since you lead a youth ministry.

    -Alex Haiken

    • September 13, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      Hey, Alex! Thanks for checking out my blog. I’m definitely going to check yours out! Have a great day!

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