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Living at the Crossroads

An Introduction to Christian Worldview

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“Intellectually stimulating and an important read for those wanting to take their faith to the next level. . . . A significant contribution to those involved in teaching worldview studies at the undergraduate level.”—James VanderBerg, Calvin Theological Journal

This engaging introduction to Christian worldview explores how Christians can live faithfully at the crossroads of Scripture and postmodern culture.

Ideal for undergraduate students and laypeople, Living at the Crossroads first lays out a brief summary of the biblical story and the most fundamental beliefs of Scripture. The book then tells the story of Western culture from the classical period to postmodernity. Authors Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew next analyze how Christians live in the tension that exists at the intersection of the biblical and cultural stories. They proceed to tease out the implications for key areas of life, such as education, scholarship, economics, politics, and church. The result is a deeply thoughtful yet approachable text that draws on the rich tradition of Reformational thinking but contextualizes it to a postmodern setting for a contemporary audience.

Readers will emerge from their study and reflection of worldview with renewed hope in the gospel and restored fervor to help meet the tremendous need for justice and mercy in the world.


"In this book, the authors show students how to recognize and gradually understand more fully the relevance of the living Word of God for their living, working, and studying in these complex and often bewildering times. If I still had university-age children, I would be very pleased if they received their basic introduction in academics from these two trustworthy and deeply engaged Christian educators."--Bob Goudzwaard, professor emeritus, Free University of Amsterdam

"If you haven't been able to keep up with all the books on a Christian worldview that have appeared in recent years, now is the time to act. Read this book. Goheen and Bartholomew not only have made use of all the other worldview books but also have written a volume that distinguishes itself. Illuminating our times with historical perspective, biblical depth, and social breadth, the authors show what a biblical worldview should mean for us today."--James W. Skillen, president, Center for Public Justice, Washington, DC

"As the title implies, this book shows that a Christian worldview is not merely something of intellectual importance, but it has relevance to the whole of life. Clearly written and powerfully argued, Living at the Crossroads is rooted in biblical faith but reaches out to engage the contemporary world in a historically informed way. This is essential reading for thoughtful Christians who wish to live out the gospel and love God with all of their being."--C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University

"The concept of 'Christian worldview,' let alone 'biblical worldview,' has more often been invoked than helpfully defined. In this stimulating, well-informed, and practical sequel to The Drama of Scripture, Goheen and Bartholomew once again demonstrate their remarkable effectiveness at articulating accessibly an understanding of Christian identity in the West that is both scripturally grounded and, notably, shaped by the Reformed intellectual tradition in its ecumenical context."--David Lyle Jeffrey, author of Houses of the Interpreter: Reading Scripture, Reading Culture

"This book means to put genuine life back into worldview studies. Bartholomew and Goheen present a Reformational world-and-life view with missional dynamic. Biblical theology and an evangelizing church enter fully into their reflection on following Jesus in every sphere of human society in today's mixed-up, deteriorating world culture. The authors bring redemptive insight to bear upon Western history, business, politics, art, and spirituality as well as the resurgence of Islam, and they do it in clear, passionate, down-to-earth language. Living at the Crossroads is basic, an invigorating challenge to anyone who would become a mature disciple of Jesus Christ."--Calvin Seerveld, Institute for Christian Studies, emeritus, Toronto

"Knowing where you have come from is nearly as important as knowing where you want to go. Goheen and Bartholomew trace the deep roots of our contemporary Western worldview in that kind of easy, broad-brush comprehensiveness that makes one exclaim, 'Yes of course, that's exactly the way things are--and why!' But alongside that, they do an equally good job in presenting the biblical worldview as the story that tells it like it really is, for life, the universe, and everything. That's the way things are--but as God sees them. The combination powerfully forces us to see the dissonance between the two, and the stark choice that Christians need to make. Which story do we live by? Which road do we travel from the crossroads? But the book is far from all theory. It grounds the challenge of living out the Christian story in a variety of very practical, very up-to-date, areas of life in the world around us. This is a book filled with eye-opening insight, biblical nourishment, practical challenge, and robust hope. It turns the mission of God into our mission in the world and compels us to make some radical choices."--Christopher J. H. Wright, international director, Langham Partnership International; author of The Mission of God

"Finally, a worldview text that moves incisively beyond mere theory. Living at the Crossroads is profound and practical, intelligent and warmly pastoral as it proceeds from a comprehensive understanding of the biblical story to an insightful engagement with twenty-first-century issues. Goheen and Bartholomew write out of their deep missional commitment with admirable clarity. They beckon us into a faithful and relevant involvement with complex issues, including globalization, postmodernity, consumerism, and the resurgence of Islam. Living at the Crossroads will stir you to embrace both unbearable tension and unprecedented opportunities to bring genuine hope to a waiting world. It is a must read for all who long to develop a worldview shaped by God's word."--Rod Thompson, School of Theology, Laidlaw College

"Living at the Crossroads is a landmark book. It is informed by wide and deep scholarship and motivated by a radical and passionate commitment to a missional understanding of the gospel in its relationship to contemporary Western culture. Though dealing with some of the seminal issues of Western (and now global) history and civilization, it is written in an engaging and accessible style. I predict that this profoundly biblical book will become a lodestar for a new generation of Christians worldwide who are serious about faithfully engaging culture in the name of Jesus Christ."--Al Wolters, professor of religion and theology, Redeemer University College

The Authors

  1. Michael W. Goheen

    Michael W. Goheen

    Michael W. Goheen (PhD, University of Utrecht) is professor of missional theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is also professor of missional theology and director of theological education at the Missional Training Center, Phoenix. Goheen is...

    Continue reading about Michael W. Goheen

  2. Craig G. Bartholomew

    Craig G. Bartholomew

    Craig G. Bartholomew (PhD, University of Bristol) is director of the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology in Cambridge, England. He was formerly senior research fellow at the University of Gloucestershire and the H. Evan Runner Professor of...

    Continue reading about Craig G. Bartholomew


"The [book's] three-chapter primer on modernism and postmodernism is worth the effort and an excellent introduction to cultural changes. Parents or youth ministers wanting to understand young adults and church leaders wanting to understand their communities will benefit from this primer. In addition, Goheen and Bartholomew's discussion on living out the Christian story in the midst of the Western story is thoughtful and practical."--Chris Altrock, Christian Chronicle

"This text provides in-depth definitions and topics for discussion for those seeking a better understanding of the definitions of worldview, modernity, and postmodernity, as well as the role of Christianity within those definitions. This is a solid text designed to help readers start digging into those questions."--Annie A. Lockhart, YouthWorker Journal

"Living at the Crossroads is a thoughtful book that draws on the rich tradition of Reformed thought. It gives the reader renewed hope in the power of the Gospel."--Johan D. Tangelder, Christian Renewal

"Living at the Crossroads is intellectually stimulating and an important read for those wanting to take their faith to the next level. It is a book that I look forward to reading with my student leaders and those that I am mentoring in ministry. I imagine it will also be a significant contribution to those involved in teaching worldview studies at the undergraduate level. For this, Goheen and Bartholomew's work ought to be applauded."--James VanderBerg, Calvin Theological Journal

"Living at the Crossroads is well constructed and stimulating. . . . The authors' call to a wholehearted Christian engagement in every area of life and to 'faithful, relevant witness' is both appropriate and timely."--Keith Ferdinando, Theological Book Review

"Goheen and Bartholomew's first book, The Drama of Scripture . . . provided an overview of the biblical story, explaining its major themes and applying them to all areas of life. Living at the Crossroads is its natural sequel, focusing on the story of Western culture and explaining where the two stories meet and conflict. . . . Even though there are many books written on developing a Christian worldview, this one should not be overlooked. How we live out that truth is always difficult and we need books like this one to help us be more faithful in our callings."--Derek Melleby,

"This is an excellent book. It accomplishes what it sets out to do. In fact, it exceeds expectations. The authors tell an engaging story, avoiding sectarianism and oversimplification, while covering a great deal of history and complex issues in a relatively brief space. The book is appropriately balanced in theory and practice and in biblical study and philosophy. . . . It is also written as an introduction to the subject; those desiring more depth or more specificity will find a wealth of resources in the endnotes. This book is highly recommended for college and graduate students, especially those without an extensive background in the history of philosophy or worldview studies. It would make an excellent resource for small-group discussions on how to put into practice the command to be in the world but not of the world."--Glenn R. Kreider, Bibliotheca Sacra

"The clarity of the exposition of [this book's] themes is well worth the effort. It presents a very clear overview of our culture and its problems."--Roger Coode,

"The authors explore the history of the worldview concept, the biblical basis for a Christian worldview, the historical development of the dominant Western worldview, and the way in which Christians might faithfully live as missionaries 'at the crossroads' between these divergent worldviews. This is the crux of the entire book, the idea that shakes us out of our complacency. It inspires us to ponder the difference between the story of humanity as portrayed by Western culture versus biblical Christianity and, consequently, to reconsider the difference a worldview makes in every area of life as we engage daily with the culture in which we live."--Leslie Wickman, Religious Studies Review

"I was truly delighted as I read through this work. It is clearly written, well-organized, and helpfully illustrated (both graphically and through written examples). I'm particularly pleased to see that where others have paid lip service to the need for envisioning worldviews in terms of narrative, Goheen and Bartholomew have actually done it, and done it expertly, engagingly, and in a way that is eminently readable. The combination of expertise in the realms of biblical-theological insight (Bartholomew) with historical and philosophical theology (Goheen) is symbiotically fruitful. Moreover, its usefulness as a textbook is further enhanced with a supporting website filled with Power Point slides and additional resources. . . . It is a joy for this reviewer to recommend highly in writing what I've already recommended in person to nearly a dozen people so far. Many thanks are due to the authors for their masterful accomplishment!"--Ray Lubeck, Cultural Encounters

"Goheen and Bartholomew have done it again! With Living at the Crossroads they have successfully provided the church with another narrative based, biblically grounded, academically informed book that can be used in youth ministry training or with lay ministers at the local church. . . . Their book [is] very readable and quite engaging. . . . I highly recommend this book for youth ministry education. As we continue to move into a multi-cultural world, an excellent foundation in worldview will be necessary. Living at the Crossroads delivers. This book can be used profitably on the undergraduate level, with lay people at church, and is deep enough to be used as a supplemental graduate text. . . . [It] will be an essential text in the coming years."--Steven D. Bonner, Journal of Youth Ministry

"Living at the crossroads of the story of Scripture and postmodern culture requires a basic, accessible introduction to Christian worldview that this volume presents. . . . A better primer for introducing people to the relevance and contours of Christian worldview we have not found. Linking effectively with [the authors' previous book] The Drama of Scripture, this modest and accessible book . . . is useful for classroom, youth groups, church Bible studies, and book clubs. Its style mixes charity with candor, invitation with correction, and hope with realism. Its content articulates what is perhaps the church's most needed challenge today, especially the church in the West. Warmly recommended!"--Nelson D. Kloosterman, Mid-America Journal of Theology