As the culture changes all around us, it is no longer possible for Christians in North America to think they are the Moral Majority. This may be bad news to America, but it is good news for the Church. Christians need a church that speaks to social and political issues with a bigger vision in mind: the Kingdom of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Biblical Christianity has always been countercultural. Christians today have a real opportunity to be about knowing and making known the gospel of Jesus Christ to their friends, family, and coworkers. This is why as I read Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Dr. Moore, the President of the Ethics and Religious Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, I was deeply encouraged. Christians are to seek the Kingdom of God, before everything. We connect the kingdom agenda to the culture around us, both by speaking it to the world and by showing it in our churches. As we do so we remember our mission to oppose demons, not to demonize opponents. As we advocate for human dignity, for religious liberty, for family stability, we need to keep in mind we are called to do so with the gospel that turns the world upside down.
Onward is a book that calls Christians to have a right understanding of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is already and not yet. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Kingdom was inaugurated. The Kingdom is not yet in that Jesus has not yet returned, His people are not glorified, and His Kingdom is not yet fully established. Onward is a call to help Christians live in the already while they anticipate the not yet of the Kingdom of God. To this end, Dr. Moore helps readers understand they are a prophetic minority, what the Kingdom of God is, how to engage culture, engaging in mission, religious liberty, family stability, convictional kindness, and a gospel counter-revolution.
Dr. Moore notes, “Kindness does not avoid conflict; kindness engaged conflict, but with a goal of reconciliation” (200). With those words in chapter nine, Dr. Moore demonstrates why a generation of young pastors and ministry leaders have been helped by his ministry. Dr. Moore models convictional kindness in that he speaks to the issues of our day but with great compassion by speaking the truth in love. People are created in the image of God and deserving of dignity and respect. Behind the positions that people hold to are people who need Jesus Christ. This is what Dr. Moore does so well in Onward, he helps us to understand how to minister the gospel in-between the already and not yet of the Kingdom of God, by presently growing in, and making known the glory of God in Jesus Christ.
Onward is not a call for surrender, panic, or outrage. Jesus is alive. Onward will help Christians to understand the times we are in, to follow Jesus in them, and to press onward in the future. I highly recommend this book and believe every Christian will be helped by reading and reflecting on the truth in this book, and applying the message of it to their lives.
I received this book for free from B&H for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.