I have to admit, Being the Bad Guys initially rubbed me the wrong way. McAlpine introduces the book as a sort of guide to understanding and applying the dichotomy of being “the best bad guys we can be” as Christians. It seemed as if the author believed that stubbornly leaning into our role as an exclusive, judgmental cult was an appropriate response to society’s criticisms of the Christian faith. But the more I read, the more Christianity was presented in its biblically intended form: the timeless, uncompromising movement of God’s people showing God’s love and sharing God’s good news to God’s creation.
Stephen McAlpine dedicates a good bit of this book to exploring the significant emphasis placed by modern cultures on sexual identity and the egocentric authenticity movement. A core identity based on sexual proclivities, McAlpine argues, is hollow, and he presents several cases of society’s championing of sexual freedom backfiring and harming people as they search for meaning in secularism. The authenticity movement, he explains, is inwardly focused and operates counter to the value placed on community by Christianity.
McAlpine goes on to explain the ways in which modern Western society has adopted many basic Christian beliefs while denying that these core societal convictions originate from God:
The post-Christian identity framework is flimsy. It is built upon presuppositions smuggled in from Christianity, including convictions about the inherent dignity of human life and the nature of good and evil, but it rejects the foundations of those presuppositions. This framework is, therefore, inherently unstable, constantly shifting to admit new, often contradictory realities.
Stephen McAlpine, Being the Bad Guys
The book starts out a bit abrasive, in my opinion, but I think McAlpine is simply uncompromising in his convictions about how the Christian should live in a post-Christian world: unyieldingly. I can recommend this book as a quick treatment of what it means to live as foreigners in a kingdom not our own. You can buy Being the Bad Guys: How to Live for Jesus in a World That Says You Shouldn’t from The Good Book Company.