Book Review: Good Faith by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons

Take Up Your Cross
Good Faith Book Cover Good Faith
David Kinnaman, Gabe Lyons,
Baker Books
March 1, 2016

Many Christians today feel overwhelmed as they try to live faithfully in a culture that seems increasingly hostile to their beliefs. Politics, marriage, sexuality, religious freedom--with an ever-growing list of contentious issues, believers find it harder than ever to hold on to their convictions while treating their friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even family members who disagree with respect and compassion. This isn't just a problem that affects individual Christians; if left unaddressed, the growing gap between the faithful and society's tolerance for public faith will have lasting consequences for the church in America. Now the bestselling authors of unChristian turn their data-driven insights toward the thorny question of how Christians talk with people they know and love about the most toxic issues of our day. They help today's disciples understand what they believe and why, and how to keep believing it without being judgmental and defensive. Readers will discover the most significant trends that offer both obstacles and opportunities to God's people, and how not only to challenge culture but to create and renew it for the common good. Perhaps most importantly, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons invite fellow Christians to understand the heart behind opposing views and show them how to be loving, life-giving friends despite profound differences. This will be the go-to book for young adult and older believers who don't want to hide from culture but to engage and restore it.

I am honestly not much of a book reader. For me, reading a book usually means (A) My sunday school class is reading one, (B) Someone at work has asked me to read one related to work, or (C) My small group decided to read one and discuss it. My small group has been going through the Bible from start to finish, taking breaks in the summer. This is where we found some time to search for some good faith.

Our choice of reading was Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. As a suggestion from one of regulars, and would keep us busy most of the summer, and give a reason for a new person to join us.

The book is broken up into 3 sections:

  • Understanding Our Times
  • Living Good Faith
  • The Church and our Future

Good Faith starts out with this really depressing look at society and the view people have of Christians and the Christian Church. Looking back at this, you can almost relate it to boot camp. Gabe and David appear to be breaking you down in preparation of getting your attention and rebuilding you. My ever paranoid inner self cautiously kept reading, and by the end of the first section I was pleasantly surprised.

Filled with lessons on loving people, real-life stories, research data, and scripture, Gave and David draw a picture of how many Christians feel today. They explain those feelings, and relate it to the past, giving you some peace that things might not be quite as bad as they appear. You’ll start off with lessons of irrelevance, extremism, and tension. This is all surrounded by good advice on good faith vs bad faith.

When you get into section 2, this is where some of the tougher reading comes in. You’ll find yourself immersed in very deep, controversial, and very real topics for today. Asking the right questions, the true meaning of tolerance, marriage, friends, family, and more. There is no doubt that you will at some point feel some conflict, and wonder if this is the right book to be reading. Don’t stop here.

With that in mind, section 3 circles back to the Church, talking a bit more about exile. There is a really good piece from scripture where Paul is talking in 1 Corinthians that should set your mind at ease about all those conflicts you felt in the previous section. David and Gave do a good job of validating some their writings that gives you perspective to what they were trying to convey.

It is important that this book finished strong, and it is definitely worth remembering that if you’re in some topic you don’t agree with them on, keep reading. I was nearly convinced that they were off base on a couple of topics, but quickly realized where they were coming from.

Over all, the authors did a wonderful job of explaining many things, using examples, studies, and scripture to present their case. The only knock I have on some of their topics is I felt they drifted a little too far into accepting things. Section 3 put my mind at ease. David and Gabe were able to back up their feelings with reason, even if I didn’t quite agree with them.

One other thing I would like to have seen was more reference to scripture. Instead of being heavily focused on research, examples, and justifications for things, I would have liked to have seen more Biblical references. Backing up every research chart and every example of justification would have given some things more clarity and possibly avoided the questioning I had of the book as a whole part way through.

Who should read this?

In my opinion, anyone who is struggling in the world, feeling like they’re more out-of-place than normal, or someone wanting to help them understand the basic premise of loving people and accepting them into their world. This is also a great book for a small group to read. This will invoke thoughtful discussions and help you all grow together.

Here’s a link to buy the book: Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme

You’ll find the book in all formats. I have the Kindle version, and found it to be a great eBook.

Good Faith starts with understanding your feelings, what others feel, and how God wants us to handle things. Filled with data, scripture, and good advice, Good Faith will guide you through controversy, and build a foundation deep inside you to handle your daily life.


Written by Dan
This is my collection of bible study lessons and book reviews. I am the Executive Pastor of Cross Waves Church and graduate of the Willmington School of the Bible, part of the Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity.