Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel

Russell Moore . B&H, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4336-8617-7
Moore (Adopted for Life), president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, offers a smart, well-argued manifesto for a new kind of Christian cultural activism that he calls engaged alienation. This stance doesn't buy in to secular American culture, and instead upholds the Christian mission to demonstrate distinct beliefs about Jesus. Moore rightly notes the decline of the Bible Belt; the kind of gospel-centered Christianity he advocates will never motivate a Moral Majority, but it will animate a prophetic minority. Moore's criticism of the "traditional family values" formula and the rhetorical excesses it encouraged will startle some religious conservatives. But the values he promotes—human dignity, religious liberty, family stability—are familiar to his audience, and he articulates them with nuanced language. His argument is thoroughly grounded in scriptural references, another reassurance for his religiously conservative readers. Mainline Christian readers will wonder whether this is old wine in new bottles, but Moore may be pointing the way for a new guard, as the Christian Right ages and loses key cultural battles. This important book is sure to provoke interesting discussions among many different kinds of Christians. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/27/2015
Release date: 08/01/2015
Genre: Religion
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