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onward

I'm currently reading two books on Christian engagement, Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option, and Russell Moore's Onward.  There's much to think about in both, but I'm attracted to Moore's prophetic-minority engagement model.  

Here are a few early highlights... 

I don’t accept the narrative of progressive secularization, that religion itself will inevitably decline as humanity evolves toward more and more consistent forms of rationalism. As a matter of fact, I think the future of the church is incandescently bright. That’s not because of promises made at Independence Hall, but a promise made at Caesarea Philippi—“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). I believe that promise because I believe the One who spoke those words is alive, and moving history toward his reign. That is not to say that the church’s witness in the next generation will be the same. The secularizing forces mentioned before are real—obvious now in New England and in the Pacific Northwest but moving toward parts of the country insulated so far from such trends. One can almost track these forces as one would a tropical depression on a hurricane radar map. The Bible Belt is teetering toward collapse, and I say let it fall. ... 

Such attempts have too often created subcultures of “us” versus “them,” that divide people up into categories of “red state” and “blue state” rather than that of church and mission field. At their best, such efforts have reminded us that all of our lives are to be framed by what is permanent and what is ultimate: the kingdom of God. ...

Our call is to an engaged alienation, a Christianity that preserves the distinctiveness of our gospel while not retreating from our callings as neighbors, and friends, and citizens. ...

Our end goal is not a Christian America, either of the made-up past or the hoped-for future. Our end goal is the kingdom of Christ, made up of every tribe, tongue, nation, and language. We are, in Christ, the heirs of this kingdom. The worst thing that can happen to us is crucifixion under the curse of God, and we’ve already been there, in Christ. The best thing that can happen to us is freedom from death and life at the right hand of God, and that’s already happened to us too, in Christ. That should free us to stand and to speak, not because we’re a majority, moral or otherwise, but because we are an embassy of the future, addressing consciences designed to long for good news.

~ Russell Moore, Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel
(B&H Publishing, 2015)


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