A Tale of Two Books
Last week, two books arrived in the mailbox from B&H Publishing.
I hadn’t ordered them, they were sent to me in hopes of being reviewed here on the blog.
Upon opening the package and looking at the titles and authors I threw them in the “only if I have to spend a month in the bathroom” pile.
Feeling guilty about this, I decided to read them and review them anyway.
Rainer then gives nine ways to focus inwardly and change your attitudes and be a good church member.
Rainer says it’s not a “to do” list, but it is another “to do” list…not a bad list, or a list without truth, but yet another list that focuses on what we do instead of what He’s done.
The other book that arrived was by Russell Moore entitled “Onward: Engaging The Culture Without Losing the Gospel”.
Moore is the head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
I assume he is also is a conservative Republican.
I’m not a Southern Baptist or a Republican…and I was prepared to hate this book in Jesus name.
Instead, I will say that this is the best book written on this topic since Francis Shaeffer’s salad days.
The introductory chapter is worth the price of the book all by itself.
Moore understands both the culture and the Gospel and his keen insights on both inform the way forward.
His is a kingdom centered approach wherein we go from being the “moral majority” to being the “prophetic minority”.
Moore writes about the book;
“In the book, I argue that the church is, if we ever were, a moral majority no more. We are, on our best days, a prophetic minority, rooted in the gospel of the kingdom. This minority status doesn’t mean siege mentality. The prophetic word, after all, uproots and rebuilds. The new era before us, though, gives us the opportunity to toss aside some aspects of our past that never reflected the gospel in the first place: starting with our bargain-basement prosperity gospel.
We are not ambassadors of “traditional values.” We are stewards of the mystery of the gospel.
The book argues that the kingdom of God should set our priorities, that the kingdom should reorient the cultures of local congregations to speak to the outside world, and that a holistic mission ought to define our engagement. This kingdom-culture-mission framework drives us then to a distinctively Christian vision of human dignity, of religious liberty, and of family integrity.”
In my opinion the path laid out by Moore can be a manifesto of cultural engagement by the church that crosses political party lines as well as denominational ones.
I highly commend it to your reading.