In his book The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons describes a new generation of Jesus followers in the United States (a generation that he called the “new normal” or “the restorers”). (My review of this book will be posted tomorrow.)
In the second part of his book – Part II) The Restorers – Lyons compares and contrasts (generally) this new generation of Christians with those who have come before in the previous generation or two (especially).
For example, he says that “the restorers” are provoked by the world’s culture when previous Christians may have been offended.
No one – Christians included – can avoid all contact with potentially corrupting people, systems, perspectives, and influences. For everyday followers of Jesus, this tension begs the question: How should Christians react when placed in an environment that celebrates sin, overlooks injustice, or tolerates immorality?
Michael Metzger has said, “When confronted with the corruption of our world, Christians ought to be provoked to engage, not offended and withdrawn.”
In contrast, classic Separatists Christians (the insiders, culture warriors, and evangelizers) are often offended by corruption. Characterized by their lifestyle choices, these Christians tend to remove themselves from potentially harmful situations – citing their disgust of immorality or their pursuit of holiness as the reason…
This approach does little to transform our existing culture or further the mission of God in our world.
When a community is provoked, they assume a proactive posture; when a community is offended, they assume a reactive posture. (page 75)
Do you agree that there is a difference between being provoked by culture instead of being offended at culture? Which posture (provoked to be proactive or offended to be reactive) helps a community best further the mission of God in our world?