Tag Archives: Russell D. Moore

Onward by Russell Moore

OnwardMoore, Russell. Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel. Nashville: B&H. 224 pages. $24.99. Purchase at Westminster Books for less. Or, you can purchase for Kindle for more than half off.

Note: This review is written by Dr. Gary Shultz. Read previous reviews of Russell Moore’s books.

We live in a time when fewer and fewer Americans are self-identifying as Christians, and more and more Americans are explicitly rejecting Christian values. Christian understandings of sexuality, marriage, the sanctity of life, gender, and religious liberty are increasingly seen as outdated, if not dangerous. Younger people especially are rejecting religion in general and Christianity in particular as lifestyles of intolerance and even oppression. The idea of America as a Christian nation, or even a nation committed to Christian principles, is no longer tenable.

This current cultural situation has left many churches struggling to respond. Some have jettisoned or downplayed certain aspects of biblical morality in an attempt to stay relevant, while others have adopted siege mentalities and walled themselves off from the culture at large. Still others seem to have given up the fight, preaching the gospel as a private experience separate from life in the secular realm. However, the Bible doesn’t call us to compromise or privatize our faith in order to be engaged citizens, and it doesn’t call us to wholly separate ourselves from society in order to be faithful Christians. Instead God calls us to embrace the truth and implications of the gospel and to engage the culture from the perspective of the gospel.

Explaining this biblical vision of Christian cultural engagement is the point of Russell Moore’s book, Onward. Moore, who currently serves as the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, understands that American culture no longer assumes that Christianity is a social good. He doesn’t see this situation as a threat or a call to change what we believe, but instead as an opportunity. For too long Christians have assumed that our culture shared our understandings of faith, family, and morality, when at best this has been a superficial agreement. We now have the chance to clearly articulate what we believe and why, not as a majority standing up for American values, but as a minority pointing toward the kingdom of God.

Moore calls the church to what he calls “engaged alienation,” which means staying faithful to the distinctiveness of the gospel while also staying faithful to our callings as neighbors, friends, and citizens. The biblical basis of engaged alienation is our understanding of the kingdom of God. In Christ, we are citizens of God’s kingdom, and we are called to live as citizens of God’s kingdom even as we look forward to the fullness of the kingdom to come. This means seeking God’s righteousness and justice as we seek the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). It means embracing our status as strangers and pilgrims (1 Peter 2:9-11) while also staying on mission to bring people to Christ and make a kingdom difference in the culture (e.g., James 1:27). In our culture today it also means paying particular attention to human dignity, religious liberty, and family stability, all with the conviction kindness that flows from the gospel.

In this season of primaries, polls, and presidential candidates, we as Christians are once again faced with the question of how we will choose to engage our culture with our faith. Onward gives us a clear biblical picture of where we need to go and how we can get there. As Moore concludes his book, “It’s our turn to march into the future. And we do so not as a moral majority or a righteous remnant but as crucified sinners, with nothing to offer the world but a broken body and spilled blood and unceasing witness” (222). So in Christ’s name, let us go and let us make a difference.

Gary L. Shultz Jr. (Ph.D. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Fulton, MO. He also serves as Assistant Professor of Religion at Liberty University and Adjunct Professor of Theology and Church History at Baptist Bible Theological Seminary. He writes a monthly book review column for The Pathway and is the author of A Multi-Intentioned View of the Extent of the Atonement (Wipf & Stock).

Tempted and Tried by Russell D. Moore

Moore, Russell D.  Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011.  208 pp.  $14.99.  Purchase at Westminster Books for much less.


Dr. Russell Moore is the dean of the School of Theology as well as the vice president for Academic Administration at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as the editor of the journal Touchstone and is a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has also authored Crossway’s The Kingdom of Christ among other books.

He has also written the paradigm-shifting work, Adopted for Life.  You can read my review of that great work here.


This resource is divided into seven chapters.  The first chapter sets the tone for the entire work and explains why temptation matters.  The second chapter warns that we should always be aware of temptation and that if we are not, we are practically dooming ourselves.  Chapters three and four look at why we would rather be fed than fathered in the sense that we shy away from being disciplined and also why our pride (see, sin) keeps us from admitting when we need help from error.

In all cases of temptation, we fight and fight and often times we lose because we are blinded by our selfish desires.  Chapter five looks at Christ in the desert and how we, apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, would rather be exalted ourselves instead of being crucified unto Christ so that we can better fight against the devil.  The sixth chapter explains why you cannot resist temptation and why you need a Helper.  The last chapter is aptly titled (Not a) Conclusion.  Here, the reader is told why the battle must rage on indefinitely this side of eternity.


It seems as though Dr. Moore continues to call the saints to the obvious though not often discussed doctrines of the church.  Tempted and Tried is a much needed resource for the church today.  There is much in the way of self-loathing and pity today as many are seeing their sin as egregious before the Lord but never really getting beyond that fact except to cry out for salvation.  Russell Moore shows us how temptation is a part of our life just as it was Christ’s.  He helps us to see that the sin is not in the temptation but in our giving in to the temptation.  He further explains to us that we cannot fight against these temptations on our own.  We need Christ more than just for an entrance to salvation.  Rather, we need the power of Christ for everyday living and for the everyday battle.

If there is one critique I have on this work it is the chapters are a bit long.  I only say that because there is so much to digest that each chapter takes a few evenings to digest!  By the time you get through one chapter, you find that you want to go back and re-read the chapter in one sitting.


There is much for the thirsty soul in this work.  I highly recommend to all Christians Tempted and Tried.  You will certainly be a better follower of Christ and a more effective witness of his grace and mercy in your life as you learn what it means to be tempted and tried and then Who it was that faced the same temptations and trials and never gave in.  What encouragement to come to the cross daily for your sustenance!  What encouragement to live a victorious life in the power of Christ (and that is not a charismatic phrase)!

Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore

Moore, Russell. Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 230 pp. $15.99.  Purchase at Westminster books for $10.55.


Dr. Russell Moore is the dean of the School of Theology as well as the vice president for Academic Administration at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as the editor of the journal Touchstone and is a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has also authored Crossway’s The Kingdom of Christ among other books.

More germane to the topic of this book, he and his bride, Maria, have four children, two of which are adopted. However, he will be the first to tell you that he has four sons without any qualifying terms. In other words, he writes as a man who has been in the trenches and has lived what he writes. Continue reading Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore