Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore’s latest book – Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel – is Christianity Today’s Book of the Year.
The leading evangelical magazine announced Dec. 16, its editorial team had selected Moore’s book as the winner of its first-ever “Beautiful Orthodoxy” award as the release during 2015 that best exemplifies the magazine’s “pursuit of truthfulness and loveliness.” Christianity Today also named the book by the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) as the winner in the politics and public life category.
B&H Publishing Group, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, released Onward in August.
Jennifer Lyell, B&H Trade Book publisher, said the publishing group is thankful for the book’s recognition by Christianity Today and believes “it is very much deserved.”
“Dr. Moore is uniquely gifted to speak to the issues of our day,” Lyell said in a news release. “[His] perspective is grounded by biblical truth, rooted in theological depth and seasoned by the people he’s met through decades of gospel ministry. This all combines with the pen of [a] writer as gifted as any I have ever met, to produce messages that have the potential to shape a generation.”
In Onward, Moore urges evangelicals to engage the culture with hope and boldness. The demise of nominal Christianity in the United States is actually good for the church, he writes. His book encourages evangelicals to embrace the strangeness of Christianity and to recognize they are a “prophetic minority” that should speak with “convictional kindness.” Such kindness – marked by faithfulness to the gospel with a gracious tone – is actually an “act of warfare,” Moore says.
Harold Smith, president of Christianity Today, said in the magazine’s online article about the Book of the Year award, “Moore provides a primer on how our commitments to Christ and his kingdom (as opposed to our political, social, and cultural agendas) should shape not only how we live our lives, but also what our lives should say to a watching, listening world. Combining the beauty of what he calls the ‘true gospel’ with a biblical orthodoxy that will inescapably mark Christians as ‘strange,’ Moore holds forth on the charged issues defining the 21st century.”
In the magazine, Alan Noble, editor in chief of Christ and Pop Culture and English professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, said Moore’s response to the power slippage of conservative Christianity and to the skepticism by younger evangelicals about the church’s engagement in politics “is not bitter or frantic, but measured and confident. We need this book. I only wish we had had it 20 years ago.”
In November, Moore’s book received recognition from Publishers Weekly as a top five religion title for the year.
Among other books honored this year by Christianity Today as ones “most likely to shape evangelical life, thought and culture” were George Whitfield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father by Thomas Kidd, history professor at Baylor University, in the history/biography category and Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion by social critic Os Guinness in the apologetics/evangelism category.
Other books by Moore, the ERLC’s president since 2013, include Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches and Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ.
Onward is available at LifeWay Christian Stores, among other booksellers, and Amazon.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)