Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel - eBookRussell D. MooreB&H Books / 2015 / ePub$8.22 Retail:3.5 Stars Out Of 5 6 Reviews
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Former Boy Scout1 Stars Out Of 5Acts 20:28-30 . . . Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth . . .April 25, 2019Former Boy ScoutDr. Moore neglects to realize that the influence of Christianity on the culture brings people closer to the gospel, not further away from it. He mistakenly argues that the past influence of Christianity on American culture hindered the mission of the church. He contends that people mistook Christian values for the gospel itself, which prevented them from experiencing true religion.
True, not everyone who accepts a cultural form of Christianity makes a decision to repent and believe in Jesus. However, the people who once accepted Christianity as a cultural given were much closer to genuine conversion than the post-modern people growing up today. Today's young adults have no concept of objective truth or moral absolutes. As a result, they have a deep skepticism of the gospel, and it is very difficult to convert them.
I thank God that a Christian culture paved the way for the "Jesus Movement" of the 1970's. Scores of my friends devoted their lives to Christ due to a lingering cultural belief that morals matter, and that Jesus holds the answer to our shortcomings.
Sadly, we are not likely to see another spiritual awakening any time soon in this country. We have lost a generation of young people as we have lost the culture. Therefore, let us reject Dr. Moore's denial of America's exceptional Christian past. Let us, instead, pray that the seeds of our founders will find renewed growth, that our culture will return to Christian values, and that many will know Jesus as a result.
Dr. Moore downplays the good work of Christians in government -- people like Wilberforce and the American abolitionists who led the world in ending slavery, and like Reverend King who worked through government to end segregation. He largely ignores the influence of the Puritans in England and the New World, who encouraged republican government and the rule of law and opposed the "divine right of kings."
Dr. Moore doesn't understand that the freedoms and prosperity we enjoy today are the result of five principles in our government. 1) Recognition of a Divine Creator 2) Recognition that inalienable rights come from God 3) Recognition that government exists to protect inalienable rights. 4) There is a fixed moral law 5) Government is by the consent of the governed. The United States of America is the only country in the history of the World that has successfully employed these principles and that is what makes us exceptional. Our form of government is not Christianity, but God blesses our nation because these godly principles are at her core.
ChrisSingaporeAge: 25-34Gender: male4 Stars Out Of 5A gentle critique on the present and constructive suggestions on the futureDecember 23, 2015ChrisSingaporeAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Is America a Christian nation? In the recent years this notion seemed to have been challenged deeply. Yet Russell D. Moore will argue that this notion is completely wrong. America has never been called to be a christian nation and we better not have this notion at the back of our mind.
Within this book, Moore wants christians to wake up to the reality that although the privilege of being in a christian nation has now disappeared, that is actually for the better for christians. Moore highlights the various differences that will happen to christians now. One such difference is that Christians will have to embrace a prophetic role. We have to be like the prophets of old who boldly proclaim Gods Word to a people who will not be happy with us and who will not listen to what we have to say. By the looks of how things have been going, it looks like this is very likely to happen in the near future.
Having raised his observation at the American culture and thinking, Moore then brings in different topics that he wants readers to think about. Moore very carefully helps the readers to think through these topics biblically, rather than thinking through them politically or culturally. These chapters seems to be a good wake up call for all christians on either side of the issue. Moore is careful not to push readers to the position he takes, rather he helps readers think through their own position critically and examine to see if it is really biblical or just seemed biblically.
I really appreciate how Moore ended his book calling christians not to have a defeatist mindset, rather we have to look ahead to how God will lead His own people. Our trust remains on God, the same God who has used a cult following, promiscuous man (Augustine) to further His kingdom in ways no one would have expected. I liked how Moore reminds us that the next person God might use for His kingdom may jolly well be the one who is fighting for the LGBT marriage rights or the right to abortion, just like how Saul, the persecutor of the church was miraculously changed to the apostle Paul. Moore leaves the readers with great expectation that God can and maybe will do great things in the near future. In the meantime, let us learn to live lives faithful to what the Bible calls us to and loving proclaim what God has spoken to us to the world.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
bobbyT5 Stars Out Of 5Excellent BookDecember 8, 2015bobbyTQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Very relavent for the times. Refocuses our thinking of the state of Christianity on where it should be, those lost, without God and without hope in the world. This book has been very helpful to me.
Elaine2 Stars Out Of 5Very DisappointingDecember 6, 2015ElaineQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0I was very excited to have the opportunity to review Onward: Engaging the Culture without Loosing the Gospel by Russell Moore. The descriptions I had read were very positive and the subject matter was very intriguing, especially given recent current events. I hate to admit that I was sorely disappointed upon reading it because the content of the book did not match the descriptions that I had previously read.
The first third of the book is very technically written. So much so that the reader will need to re-read sentences multiple times to understand the author's point. Further complicating the reading is the over use of obscure words which the lay reader will not understand without the use of a dictionary. Unfortunately, not all of the obscure words that the author utilizes are listed in Merriam Webster's online dictionary (see page 20). If the reader can hang on through the first third of the book, the author will change his writing style to a less technical format, however, the use of obscure words will continue.
The changing of the writing style indicates that the author isn't clear on his target audience. This is further emphasized by the wordiness of his writing, where most points he is trying to address are lost. It appears as though the author uses large words and flowery language to intimidate the reader and sound authoritative on the subject matter. However, it is clear to see that his ideas are not solidly backed with Scripture indicating that his words are purely opinion and, unfortunately, the author fails to explain his opinion clearly. The subject matter of the book could be conducive to allowing the reader opportunities to reflect and self-analyze, however, the author quickly extinguishes those opportunities by giving his personal opinion and moving onto another subject.
As difficult as following the thought paths of the author are, two main themes are clear: sex and abortion. According to the author, without clear explanation, these two topics are the crux of what is wrong with our American Christianity. The author rants on other political topics (such as civil rights and the right wing/ left wing agendas) throughout the book, however, these two topics are ranted in depth in nearly every chapter.
I also found it interesting that the author waits until the last third of the book before he begins to contemplate the root cause of evil. His brief thoughts on spiritual issues do not align with the rest of the book. It is almost as if he had the epiphany that there is a very real enemy to God and His followers. This topic, albeit the most useful, well-written, and encouraging portion of the book is short lived as the following chapter picks up again with the political ranting.
By the end of the book, it is clear that the author lost sight of the audience and the purpose of his writing. Onward: Engaging the Culture with out Loosing the Gospel does not do a sufficient job of encouraging followers of Jesus to engage the world around them.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5Excellent book on Christianity and cultureAugust 15, 2015bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5American culture is shifting to an era in which religion is not necessarily seen as a social good. Some Christians leaders will tell us the sky is falling. Moore says the increasing marginalization of Christianity offers an opportunity to reclaim the gospel vision. Christianity is being liberated from American culture. The otherness of the gospel must be proclaimed as Christians have an opportunity to reclaim their witness as strangers and exiles.
A Christianity that is without friction in the culture is a Christianity that dies. Our calling, Moore says, is engaged alienation, preserving the distinctiveness of our gospel while fulfilling our call to be neighbors, friends, and citizens.
I really appreciated Moore's review of Christian values and how they were popular in American culture, even if the actual gospel was not. Now, however, those values are being rejected. Other insights he relates includes evangelism. It used to center on heaven and finding meaning in life. Those issues are not effective any more. I really liked his writing about the covenant relationship of God and Israel and clarifying that God has no covenant relationship with the U.S. He also points out the disparity between what the church preaches and how the congregants really live. And those are just a few of the issues Moore covers.
This book is a real wake up call to Christians. It is a call to no longer settle for an almost gospel. Moore does not skirt issues. He attacks them head on with the clarity of the gospel message, asking Christians to live who they are in Christ. Reading this book might disrupt a few pet ideas, but I think they need disrupting. We are not slouching toward Gomorrah; Moore writes, we are marching to Zion.
I urge pastors, church boards, and small groups to read this book and discuss the issues in it. These topics need to be studied so training can be done for decisions necessary in the future. A small group study guide is available.
Food for thought: The 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.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for an independent and honest review.