Russell Moore: Why Christianity Can Thrive Now That It's Not Normal (CP Interview 1/2)

Now that Christianity is strange to the larger American culture, Christians have an opportunity to reclaim the freakishness of the Gospel message, Russell Moore writes in his new book, Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel.

"As American culture changes, the scandal of Christianity is increasingly right up front, exactly where it was in the first century. The shaking of American culture will get us back to the question Jesus asked his disciples at Caesarea Philippi: 'Who do you say that I am?' As the Bible Belt recedes, those left standing up for Jesus will be those who, like Simon Peter of old, know how to answer that question.

Once Christianity is no longer seen as part and parcel of patriotism, the church must offer more than 'What would Jesus do?' moralism and the 'I vote values' populism to which we've grown accustomed. Good," wrote Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in Chapter two.

In a Wednesday phone interview with The Christian Post, Moore explained that the Church in America can thrive, as the Church always has, when it is seen as abnormal or counter-cultural.

He also reflected on the events of the last month, which saw the murder of Christians in a South Carolina church service and the imposition of gay marriage on all 50 states by the U.S. Supreme Court. This time is "a crucial moment for the Church's witness right now," Moore said.

In part two of the interview, Moore explains why reminding himself daily, the next Billy Graham could be drunk right now, helps his cultural engagement.

Onward will be released on Aug. 1 and is available for pre-order.

Here is the lightly edited transcript of part one of that interview:

CP: June was an eventful Month for the Church in America. You had the racist shooting at Charleston Emanuel AME, followed by the Confederate flag debate and the incredible public witness of the families of those slain. That was followed by a Supreme Court gay marriage decision and Christians who opposed the decision were described by some as hateful bigots. And now we're hearing about churches being set on fire by an arsonist. Have you had a chance to reflect on what these events tell you about the state of the Church in America today?

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