Christians in the UK have long lived in what Aaron Renn calls the “negative world”, receiving hostility and suspicion from the wider culture because of our beliefs. The secularisation of the USA, where Renn lives, has been slower, but this book examines the phenomenon and suggests solutions.

He argues the American “negative world” has existed since 2014, and evidences this by pointing to widespread support for gay marriage and incidents such as the prominent seminary that withdrew an award for late pastor Tim Keller due to his complementarian views and traditional perspective on sexual ethics.

This frames the book’s audience as evangelicals of a theologically and politically conservative persuasion – progressive Christians might perceive the world as more friendly.

The author applies his management consulting background to the situation, suggesting remedies that blend the practical and the spiritual. For example: personal obedience to Christ, pursuing excellence, being resilient to persecution by pursuing financial independence and frugality, and owning our own spaces and businesses as “cancellation insurance” in case Christian beliefs lead to loss of livelihoods. The book even goes as far as to recommend Christian ownership of large businesses that offer essential services such as electricity. 

Renn goes on to make suggestions for ministry, such as the need for “pre evangelism”. He advises against engaging in “culture wars” and advocates for integrity in political engagement.

The book’s practical suggestions and critiques are interesting and worth reflection. It could be beneficial to have more cross-Atlantic discussion about improving the Church’s response to a hostile culture.