The Future of Our Faith
An Intergenerational Conversation on Critical Issues Facing the Church
- Pub. Date
- Feb 2016
Younger Christians are leaving the church in droves, frustrated and disillusioned by the track record of American Christianity. Older Christians, who still lead most churches, are concerned about this trend. But the generations don't see eye to eye on many things. There is a lot of talking and writing about the other instead of working to build bridges between generations so they can learn from each other.
In The Future of Our Faith, two evangelical leaders forty years apart in age discuss some of the biggest issues challenging Christianity today and into the future. The authors model and cultivate an intentional, charitable, and much-needed intergenerational dialogue as they discuss key issues that will define the church's faithfulness in the next generation. Each chapter includes sidebar reflections from notable Christian leaders, including Christena Cleveland, Jim Daly, Jason Fileta, Christopher A. Hall, Jo Anne Lyon, Gabriel Salguero, Carol and Peter Schreck, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Jenny Yang. The book also includes individual and small group study questions.
Christians who care about the future of American Christianity will value this work, as will pastors, chaplains, and youth ministers who work with college and young adult ministries. It will also be useful in practical ministry classes.
1. Why This Conversation
Part 1: Ron Sider's Chapters (with Ben Lowe's Responses)
2. Will You Remember Evangelism?
3. Will You Reaffirm Truth as You Learn from Postmodernism?
4. Will You Keep Your Marriage Vows Better Than My Generation?
5. Will You Lead the Church to a Better Stance on Homosexuality?
Part 2: Ben Lowe's Chapters (with Ron Sider's Responses)
6. Will We Live More Like Jesus?
7. Will We Renew Our Political Witness?
8. Will We Reconcile Our Divisions Better?
9. Will We Recover Our Responsibility for God's Creation?
Conclusion: Jesus at the Center
"Just as race and economics can segregate the church, so can age. A generation gap has created a conundrum for the faith. Young folks are leaving the church, and old institutions are hemorrhaging. But this book is a sign of hope--a conversation bridging the generational gap. Here is a dialogue reminiscent of Paul and Timothy, a reminder that the old folks need youth and the young folks need elders. We must dream together about the future of the faith. The church must be both ancient and fresh, rich with tradition and winsome with imagination. There's that ancient prophecy from Joel, quoted again in the book of Acts, 'your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.' On these pages a young man and an old man dream together. And they are joined by a stunning cast of faith leaders who chime in along the way. The Future of Our Faith is simultaneously an invitation to accept the church as it is and to dream of the church as it could be."
Shane Claiborne, author and activist (www.redletterchristians.org)
"I have long looked to Ron Sider for his wise counsel, and I increasingly look to Ben Lowe for his leadership on issues of faith and justice. At this critical time in the church's history, I am grateful for their new book, The Future of Our Faith: An Intergenerational Conversation on Critical Issues Facing the Church. This book is an invitation and a challenge for us to partner across generations for the sake of the kingdom."
Noel Castellanos, CEO and president, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)
"The church needs more intergenerational conversations. It needs even more intergenerational conversations that are as rooted in scripture, as grounded in current-day struggles, and as fruitful as this honest and important dialogue between Ron Sider and Ben Lowe is. The Future of Our Faith will be a blessing to the church today and a model for the church to come."
Karen Swallow Prior, author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More--Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist
"Gathered here is a wealth of wisdom, conviction, and hope from two leaders who refreshingly defy tired religious and political categories. If you care about the future of Christian witness in a post-Christian America, you'll read The Future of Our Faith."
Katelyn Beaty, managing editor, Christianity Today
"There are generational divides on some of our most pressing issues, and there are sincere and faithful voices on both sides. The problem is that the generations often talk past each other rather than listen to each other. The Future of Our Faith is a multifaceted examination of the hazards and hopes of our time across generational lines. Ron Sider and Ben Lowe are two of the best Christian thinkers I know. I can't imagine a more dynamic duo to write a book like this."
Jonathan Merritt, author of Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined
"While I don't agree with everything in this book, the conversation here is thought-provoking and a great help for Christians seeking to analyze the world around us. The discussion between Ron Sider and Ben Lowe ought to remind us of what we are often sadly lacking in the evangelical church--cross-generational connection. I pray this book sparks many more conversations between older and younger Christians about the future of our faith."
Russell Moore, president, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
"What a book! . . . If the first half is Sider offering gray-haired warnings, and young Ben replying, the second half is equally interesting: Ben writes his manifesto and, chapter by chapter, Ron replies. And, through it all, other voices contribute, too. . . . [They are] held up as examples of ways to think well about the many vexing matters picked up and explored together--intergenerationally!--in this fine, fine, and very honest book. . . . A fabulous and insightful and stimulating book just for creating space to converse well and think together apart from the generational differences. . . . Get a bunch and find some older and/or younger friends and read it together. There are great discussion questions included and a lovely reminder at the end about Jesus the Center."
Hearts & Minds Books blog