Monday, November 5, 2007


Author: David Kinnamon
Type: Research Study
Shepnerd Rating: 4 Stars

David Kinnamon is the president of the Barna Group – a nationally recognized church research organization – who embarked on the 3 year task of discovering what Mosaics and Gen X-ers (16 – 30 year olds) think about Christianity – what he discovered was horrifying. 60% of those interviewed were churched individuals, and 40% were not. The statistics?

Only 16% of the total number said they had a “good impression” of Christianity. The vast majority said they were “Skeptical and frustrated” with the Church and Christians.

Of the unchurched interviewees, only 3% said they have a favorable view of Christians.

91% of churched individuals said ministry was hard because people are increasingly “hostile and negative about Christianity”.

The number one comment that was heard was "Christianity doesn't look like Jesus anymore, its "UnChristian". The vast majority said adjectives that described Christians were ones like: judgmental, hypocritical, too political, scientifically ignorant, homophobic, and sheltered.

What’s striking about the study is that it was commissioned by conservative right-wing Christians, and it reveals a scathing truth about their message to which they have countered “But Jesus said the world would hate us, so we are doing good!” – However, being hated was not the goal of Christianity. Jesus said the world would hate the disciples for shining the light of truth and mercy into a cruel and oppressive Pharisaic church structure. Kinnamon’s book shows clearly - Evangelicals are hated, but not for the right reasons. They are not being hated because they are teaching grace and truth, they are being hated because they are opposing science, common sense (can they truly believe that climate change is not occurring and the world is only 10,000 years old? Haven’t they heard of dinosaurs?), acting badly, rudely and without grace.

Each chapter ends with some thoughts about the issue at hand from some of the most well known evangelicals of the day. It lacks a call to change the church from being an entertainment palace/bully pulpit into a missional fellowship dedicated to Jesus Christ. Realizing evangelicals are the hands that feed him, he spends much time healing their hurt feelings, and neglecting to lay out a map for the healing of these wounded generations and furtherance of the real message of the Kingdom of God. Still it offers a hope that with our understanding of the effects - we can hear the Spirit to change the cause.

A Baptist minister wrote a review of the book in which he concluded: “This is a book all church leaders should read on their knees”. I heartily agree.

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