If you are a regular reader of Equip to Disciple, you are aware that the Christian Education and Publications ministry is oriented to a kingdom perspective materializing in a Christian world and life view. Understanding the kingdom, a world and life view, and the role of the church is crucial to the present and future effectiveness of Christianity. It is apparent that we have been conditioned to think dualistically about life, i.e. life is comprised of the secular part and the sacred, faith and fact are two different things, the spiritual and the material are not connected, etc. Such thinking has permeated Western Christianity, as a number of people have suggested, even though it is antithetical to biblical Christianity.
We have attempted to encourage our readers and constituents to work towards the goal of changing the way we think by not being conformed to this world but rather by thinking God’s thoughts after Him. Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew have given us a book directed to that very end. Living at the Crossroads is actually a follow-up to an earlier book by these authors. Their previous book, The Drama of Scripture: Finding our Place in the Biblical Story, takes a holistic look at Scripture from a kingdom world and life view perspective, a single great story with many parts.
While we are living at a “crossroads” moment in history, we need to have the right understanding of life and reality in order to navigate the diverse and often not so friendly waters of our time. I have come more and more to the conclusion that it is cruel for Christian parents and local churches to fail to help their covenant children understand, embrace, and apply a Christian world and life view and understand what it means to have a total view of Christianity in all things.
We cannot continue to be silent to the dualistic teaching that allows us to look at areas of life from a non-Christian perspective. Whether we are dealing with the arts, medicine, sports and recreation, history, education, politics, or business, if we are going to be more than Sunday Christians we must have a foundational view of what Paul means that in all things Christ the King is preeminent.
The authors are committed to the task of doing what many good books on a Christian worldview fail to do, something that we believe is absolutely critical to the world and life view – keeping it connected with the kingdom of God. While they agree that Christianity involves “a healthy life of prayer and meditation, immersion in Scripture as the true story of the world, and hearty participation in the life of the congregation; it is here that the life of the kingdom is known, experienced, and shared.” They further state, “And God’s people need to be equipped for their tasks, perhaps by meeting and struggling together with other Christians who share their task-for example, a group of Christian lawyers might meet to discuss how best to bring a kingdom vision to their vocational setting.” The book gives a good overall concept of an approach to Christian discipleship from a kingdom perspective.
Most Christians upon their own admission do not understand how reality works nor are they prepared to live in their culture in a way that enables them to serve Christ in all of life; hence Christianity is simply one thing among many that we do instead of being the basis for everythingwe do. At best, we simply learn to blend our Christianity with the teachings and ideas of the world, when in reality they do not mix and we end up compromising the biblical world and life view process.
I have to appreciate the authors’ kingdom framework, a natural outcome for one who has studied men like Abraham Kuyper. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of the kingdom and the message that Jesus came to proclaim is the kingdom of God, which according to the authors means no less than God “restoring his rule over all human life in Jesus and by the Spirit.” The authors are correct in observing that evangelicals often serve the enemy rather than Christ because they do not see the totality or wholeness of their faith. But for those who do, an interest in all things seems to develop and Christianity is not excluded from any area of life.
This is a great book to read, study, and discuss in the family and Christian community. Though it is called an introduction, it actually covers the waterfront, not merely from a theoretical, abstract level but in a way that actually helps you know how to apply the entire process. Living at the Crossroads has now become one of the five books we use and recommend in developing a kingdom perspective on discipleship. This book assists us with our commitment to bring the gospel of the kingdom to bear on all of life, realizing that the kingdom is both now and not yet, as we look forward to the final consummation of history.