Build A Firm Foundation for the Family (Book Review)

Moore, Russell. The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home. B&H Books, Nashville, TN. 2018. 320 pages.

My vocation as pastor overseeing youth and family has put me at the forefront of witnessing the blessing and brokenness that comes with the home. Whether we care to admit it or not, our families impact and shape us and we impact and shape our families. But there is something more that should shape the way we view our families and how we live among our families. That something is the cross of Jesus Christ. It is this truth of the cross reshaping the home and transforming the family that can be found in Russell Moore’s new book The Storm-Tossed Family.

Comprehensive View of the Family

Addressing family from a number of directions, Russell Moore sets the tone of the book with the truth of the gospel and its need where the family is in crisis and facing spiritual warfare (chapters 1–3). This truth encourages families to see family is not first (chapter 4), to understand family is broader than its traditional definition (chapter 5), to realize family is made up of married couples, singles, and children (chapters 6­–8, 10–11) while also taking notice of the impact of sin and brokenness upon the family by the way of divorce (chapter 9), family tension and trauma (chapter 12), and the realities of aging (chapter 13). Even in all of this, there is a call to be free to be a family (chapter 14).

The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home by Russell Moore equips families to understand the shape of the family according to Scripture and to live out this shape in the midst of a culture that seeks to conform families to their mold. Whether it is about divorce or the definition of marriage, Moore handles the categories of the family with biblical truth and grace. He sets the family in proper perspective (see chapter 4) and reminds the reader the greater spiritual force families battle (see chapter 3). Along the way, he offers counsel to families who live in a broken and fallen world and whose families show it. Yet, the most transformational element of the family that reshapes the home is the understanding of the church as family (see chapter 5). If families and churches would get a hold of this concept of family, the focus on families by blood would recognize the importance of family by the blood of Christ.

A Couple of Confusing Spots

As comprehensive as Dr. Moore is in explaining the biblical concept of family, a few spots in the book lacked clarity. For instance, in chapter 11 Moore states it is more important that a child has a Christian world than a Christian worldview (Moore 223), briefly mentioning what he means by Christian world but not elaborating on it. Just a chapter later he addresses the topic of forgiveness in family tensions and traumas but neglects to make distinctions between categories such as attitudinal forgiveness and transactional forgiveness. Additionally, the discussion in chapter 4 on identity and inheritance seems to put the emphasis on the Christian’s identity on the point of God as our Father when truly the point of the prayer at the start is to focus on God.

A Firm Foundation for the Family

These critiques do not get in the way of allowing this to be a recommended book provides for families. The personal and transparent approach Moore takes is coupled with powerful and truthful points to shape families by the cross through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Both families and churches would benefit from the points this book makes. If you are someone who wants to know how they can build a firm foundation for their family and minister to other families in the midst of a cultural storm, then check out The Storm-Tossed Family by Russell Moore.

I received this book from B&H/Lifeway Bloggers Program in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Published by Theron St. John

Steward of the Lord Jesus Christ

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