cover image Losing Our Religion: An Altar Call for Evangelical America

Losing Our Religion: An Altar Call for Evangelical America

Russell D. Moore. Sentinel, $29 (272p) ISBN 978-0-59354-178-4

Moore (Onward), editor in chief of Christianity Today, calls on American evangelicals to “come to Jesus” by abandoning a cultural identity built on nationalism, racism, misogyny, and far-right politics. Formerly the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy agency, Moore was chastised by other leaders for refusing to endorse Donald Trump in 2016 and speaking out about the sexual abuse crisis that rocked the denomination in 2019. Those experiences ultimately led to his own “reverse altar call” when he left the Southern Baptist Convention in 2021. Moore still identifies as “an evangelical after all,” and calls for the evangelical movement’s renewal, highlighting positive aspects of its deeply individualized sense of faith, or the notion “not only that... ‘Christ died for humanity,’ but Jesus loves me; Jesus died for me.” He refrains from offering a roadmap for reform, writing that the “frantic desire” to find a quick fix—“a movement, a curriculum, a funding strategy”—distracts. Instead, he views “genuine renewal” as a process that proceeds “soul by soul,” and must begin with naming “what we have lost—our credibility, our authority, our identity, our stability” if “we are ever to find [those things] again.” Moore’s wake-up call takes clear-sighted stock of the state of evangelical Christianity while retaining measured hope for the future. This will buoy disillusioned hearts and minds. (Aug.)