The authors state on page 11 of "UnChristian", "Our research shows that many of those outside of Christianity, especially younger adults, have little trust in the Christian faith, and esteem for the lifestyle of Christ followers is quickly fading for outsiders. They admit their emotional and intellectual barriers go up when they are around Christians, and they reject Jesus because they feel rejected by Christians."
What comes out in the video interview below starting at 1:00 is that most non-Christian young people are ashamed of the behavior of Christians today because "9/10 see us an antihomosexual . . . 87% judgmental, 85 % hypocritical, and 75% of Christians are too involved in politics . . . essentially what they're saying to us is that Christianity is no longer like Jesus intended." At 2:20 Mr. Lyons says, "We need to realize that Christ followers are called to love, to be the most compassionate, service-oriented people, contributing to the common good of culture and to society, and we've gotten a little bit away from that over the last few decades and it's time to get back to that."
At 2:30 the reporter then takes a quote from the book written by one contributor Andy Stanley that said, "churches should not focus solely on converting people" to which Mr. Lyons responded, "In the research this was one of the problems, Christians are known for proselytizing, for trying to get people saved, to get another notch in their belt, and what they said to us was, 'Look, we feel like another product in some ways, that, that people are just motived to convert us over to their way of thinking, but they care very little for us, they don't listen to us, they're not concerned about our real needs, our real challenges, and if Christians would just be normal people, and be friends, and be accepting, and loving, and connect with people in that way, maybe there would be a better chance of us listening to them." To which the reporter says, "That's powerful, just numbers driven on that?"
You can watch the rest of the video to hear a little more of the same, but I have three observations I'd like to make regarding some of the statements above:
1. No Godlover denies that Christians are to be people of compassion and service, but our prime directive is to preach the gospel to Godhaters as the ultimate manifestation of that compassion. What could be more compassionate and loving than warning hell-bound people to flee from God's coming wrath by finding rest in Jesus Christ? Christ commanded the apostles, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
2. This book contains questionable contributors with questionable agendas. For example, take Brian McLaren. Consider what McLaren has said here in regards to homosexuality:
"Frankly, many of us don't know what we should think about homosexuality. . . . Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements. In the meantime, we'll practice prayerful Christian dialogue, listening respectfully, disagreeing agreeably. When decisions need to be made, they'll be admittedly provisional. We'll keep our ears attuned to scholars in biblical studies, theology, ethics, psychology, genetics, sociology, and related fields. Then in five years, if we have clarity, we'll speak; if not, we'll set another five years for ongoing reflection. After all, many important issues in church history took centuries to figure out. Maybe this moratorium would help us resist the "winds of doctrine" blowing furiously from the left and right, so we can patiently wait for the wind of the Spirit to set our course."
The above statement is just plain dangerous. It says without reservation that the Bible cannot speak to our present situation authoritatively and finally (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Even one of his supposed friends, the neo-Reformed Pastor Mark Driscoll thankfully labeled him a heretic at the the Southeastern Baptist Convergence Conference here and documented that McLaren endorsed a book written by John Dominic Crossan that denies the historicity of the birth narratives of Jesus (see here, then scroll down to read McLaren's endorsement of a book written by a man who is essentially a deist). Why are we asking a heretic to inform us what we need to do to improve Christianity's image before the world? The fact is, true Christianity will always be hated by the world and thus will always have what these authors call "an image problem". John said it succinctly, "Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you" (1st John 3:13) and Jesus said in John 15:19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you." We have an image problem because the world hates us and the world hates us because the world hates our Christ.
3. Let's take on a few statements from the book and video. Page 11 says, ". . . they [young people] reject Jesus because they feel rejected by Christians." What in the world does this really mean? If it means that wacko professing pseudo-Christians that are hateful, rude, and downright obscene and vulgar in their denunciation of sinful activities, like the group from "Westboro Baptist Church" (which is actually a cult), then no wonder they feel rejected.
However, the problem is this: Bible-believing Christians are loving and compassionate people, and despite all their faults and foibles, they want more than anything else to see God glorified through the spiritual saving of people from His own impending wrath. This means that they refuse to participate in and associate with the things that sinners do because they love Jesus (1 Peter 1:16). Things like abortion on demand (baby murder), homosexuality, and gay marriage are just the tip of the iceberg. These societal manifestations of sin are just outward symptoms of a greater problem: spiritual death brought about by rejection of the gospel (Ephesians 2:1-5).
So, when you wonder why Bible-believing Christians don't want to be "accepting" and "tolerant" of your "lifestyle choices" (i.e., abortion on demand, sodomy, fornication, lying, thievery) even though they are more than happy to exert great energy to lovingly tell you that God hates your sin and is going to throw you into Hell if you don't repent and place your faith in Christ, yet you continue to mock us and mock our God, so don't be surprised if you feel "rejected". You feel rejected not because there isn't a loving Christian around to tell you the good news, but because when you do and have heard that good news it convicts you and you then can't own up to the fuzzy sense of right and wrong that God has placed in your heart (Romans 2:14-15 - the law of conscience). You feel rejected because you know deep down inside that you will be rejected by God because you don't even meet the standard He's placed in your own conscience, and instead of repenting, you lash out in anger and complaint against God and His people with your laundry list of excuses for not repenting and believing. Yet you still blame Bible-believing Christians for rejecting you when you are the problem. It's really that simple. Look sinner, if you continue to reject the gospel, kick us in the teeth, create websites to foment your anger against God, don't complain if you feel rejected. You are rejected . . . by God (Hebrews 12:17). Your sins have made a separation between you and God and your hatred for God bleeds over into your hatred for God's people (Isaiah 59:2). Be warned, God's people won't hang around you too much if you're constantly hacking away at their Jesus. We'll do the best we can as prudence dictates, but we won't continue to cast our pearls before swine, as Jesus Himself commanded, but we'll leave you and go find someone who might carefully consider what we are saying. We only have a short time because we actually believe we only get one life on this earth, contrary to what Deepak Chopra says (Matthew 7:6; Luke 6:27; Ephesians 5:15-16; Hebrews 9:27). Nevertheless, if you're around a true believer long enough, we will come after you with the gospel and eventually God is either going to save you or you're going to reject the gospel and eventually us and then blame us for your rejection of Jesus because we actually were caring and compassionate enough with you to offend you with the only message that can actually save you (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18). The video says @ 2:30,
"'Look, we feel like another product in some ways, that, that people are just motived to convert us over to their way of thinking, but they care very little for us, they don't listen to us, they're not concerned about our real needs, our real challenges, and if Christians would just be normal people, and be friends, and be accepting, and loving, and connect with people in that way, maybe there would be a better chance of us listening to them."
You feel like a "product" because that is what you are to the market-driven "churches". You are an opportunity for them to expand their market base. These religious institutions are merely the result of a "man-centered" approach to religion, a corporation-like mentality that desires to expand the sheer numbers of people in the congregation by attracting "seekers" through offering certain "products" that can increase the market-share of the religious institution. You might also feel like a product of evangelism in many other churches because of the false gospel of "decisionism", a pragmatic approach to religion which teaches that people become Christians if they are emotionally manipulated into making a "decision" for Christ during an altar call, or through some other unbiblical means.
As to our caring for you and being concerned about your real needs and challenges, here is the problem: if you are not a Christian, then you have no clue as to what your greatest need is because you are spiritually dead. This is why you need to hear it from a Bible-believing Christian who does understand. Your greatest need is not education, it is not a new job, it is not to become a better person, and it is not to become a better father, husband, or employee. Your greatest need is salvation from God's eternal wrath through Jesus Christ. In a thousand years it is not going to matter how great a father, husband, employee, societal reformer, or boyfriend you were. What is going to matter for today and eternity is whether or not Jesus Christ knew you intimately. All other things grow strangely dim when you are faced with that fact. I close this article with a message from Him who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like polished bronze:
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'" Matthew 7:13-23