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. (Kindle location 163)
Moore’s book is thoughtful and thought-provoking. A conservative evangelical himself, Moore is also on the cutting edge of a new generation of American Christians who find themselves uncomfortable with the “moral majority” approach of the past to political and social issues, but who also don’t want to completely abandon the church’s engagement with cultural issues.
Onward provides both a theoretical foundation for how American Christians ought to view themselves and their present context (in chapters titled “Kingdom,” “Culture,” and “Mission”,) and also wrestles with specific issues confronting the American church today (human dignity, religious liberty, and family stability). Particularly refreshing is Moore’s chapter on present but not fully here Kingdom of God. Moore does well to outline a kingdom perspective throughout the book which I believe to be the main focus. Once we seek a perspective focused on God’s Kingdom everything else begins to fall properly into perspective.
If you’ve noticed the use of the word “American” many times in a few short paragraphs, you’re not alone. Moore’s book is most directly targeted toward the church in the United States. And it does a very good job in addressing American Christians. And yet, I found myself wondering what it would look like to apply Moore’s arguments in non-American contexts. Does the book have any application for Christians in China, Latin America, or Germany? I believe it does, but the reader is largely left to put the puzzle pieces together alone.
Nonetheless, for American Christians confronting a less-Christian culture, Moore provides a grounded, hopeful treatise on how to think about interaction with their culture.
Let’s not seek to resuscitate the old civil religions. Let’s work instead for something new, and for something old: the kingdom of God, on earth as it is in heaven, gathered in churches of transformed people, reconciled to one another, on mission with one another, holding together the authentic gospel of Jesus Christ. (Kindle location 3604)