Thursday, September 17, 2015
Book Review: Onward by Russell Moore
In the south, it seems the Bible belt is melting away and, according to Russell Moore, that is a good thing. Can the church truly engage a hostile culture without conforming to it? This is the issue that Moore addresses, in his latest book, Onward. In the beginning of the book, Moore makes a strong case why the collapse of the Bible belt is good news for the church. The church was always called to be different than the world yet it seems to become more like the world. Moore says this is no time for the church to retreat but to ask God to use them in being salt and light in a culture that will not welcome them.
Moore wrote that the fact this "shaking of American culture is no sign that God has given up on American Christianity. In fact, it may be a sign that God is rescuing American Christianity from itself...The church has an opportunity now to reclaim our witness, as those who confess that we are 'strangers and exiles on earth' (Heb. 11:13). That strangers starts in what is the most important thing that differentiates us from the rest of the world: the gospel." The gospel is the most important message for Christians but over the years seems to have lost it's meaning with most evangelicals.
Moore continues to write that Christian are not called for shrug off injustice and unrighteousness but fight it very differently and that is with the gospel. Moore also reminds his readers that Christians, while citizens in America, are not citizens of this world. Christians are citizens in the Kingdom of God which has come but not yet fully revealed. Moore stresses that our lives are preparing us for a future reign with Christ. As citizens of the kingdom living as citizens of this world, we have a mission to be a prophetic voice to the culture that they are lost in their sins and Jesus can rescue them.
In the final chapters, Moore writes about how Christians need to take a stand for the sanity of life and religious freedom. These two issues seem to be a hot topic for a lot of Christians as of late and for good reasons. Christians must not be discouraged but fight for the rights of the unborn and for people of faith. Christians also need to know how to love their families and train their children in paths of righteousness. Christians living in this world also need to show kindness to their fellowman especially those who disagree with us, which I know can be hard especially if they come across very harshly because of our beliefs.
This is a very timely book that needs to be read this year. With all that has happened in our culture over the past few years, the time to equip the church is now. I appreciate Russell Moore's boldness when he shares Christian truth in CNN and MSNBC as well through the pages of this book. I consider Moore's book one of the most important books to read this year as well as next year.
Thanks B&H Publishing Group for letting me review this book.