Book Review: Onward by Russell Moore
I recently finished Russell Moore's book Onward. I received it free along with another book (I Will by Thom Rainer) from the publisher. For me Onward was one of those books I could only handle in small doses; not because it's a bad book, but because it's a deep book. I've heard Moore preach on a couple of occasions, and have always walked away with my heart full and head hurting because of the depth.
Why This Book Is Needed
This book is needed, at the very least, to make the following points:
- For far too long the message of the gospel has been assumed by those in the church. Believers have assumed that of other believers and taken that assumption with them into the culture. This is a dangerous assumption. Moore puts it this way: "A church that assumes the gospel is a church that soon loses the gospel." (pg. 26)
- To debunk the idea that America ever was a Christian nation. It's fair to say that some of America's values, especially about morals, can be traced back to the Bible. But that's a far cry from the claim that this is a Christian nation. To make this claim misses out on what God has been doing from the beginning, creating a kingdom, not building a nation; and it's this kingdom mindset that should make all believers a little weird to the culture in which they live. Here's Moore's point on this topic: "We must learn to be strange enough to have a prophetic voice, but connected enough to prophesy to those who need to hear. We need to be those who know both how to warn and welcome, to weep and to dream." (pg. 45)
- When we approach or are approached by someone of a different opinion, we need to handle that situation with kindness. It's not our job to win the fight/argument, it's our job to represent our King. Here are words of wisdom from Moore: "Kindness does not avoid conflict; kindness engages conflict with the goal of reconciliation." (pg. 200)
Who Needs This Book
In my opinion many, if not all, believers can benefit from this book. It helps you think through some (most) of the issues facing the church today as it relates to engaging culture. Get this book and learn to think more deeply, so you can respond more faithfully.
Is it possible that Moore goes too far? Maybe. But what's far more likely is that I don't go far enough.
All quotes taken from Onward by Russell D. Moore ©2015 by B&H Publishing Group.