Cultural Engagement

A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues

by Joshua D. Chatraw, Karen Swallow Prior

On Sale: 2019-07-09

Book Summary

Cultural Engagement introduces the main principles of cultural engagement and surveys a variety of Christian responses to nine of today’s key cultural issues including sexuality; gender roles; human life and reproductive technology; immigration and race; creation and creature care; politics; work; the arts; and war, weapons, and capital punishment.

About the Book

How should Christians approach important contemporary issues like war, race, creation care, gender, and politics?

Christians in every culture are confronted with social trends and moral questions that can be difficult to navigate. But, the Bible often doesn't speak directly to such issues. Even when it does, it can be confusing to know how best to apply the biblical teaching.

In Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues authors Joshua D. Chatraw and Karen Swallow Prior first offer a broadly accessible framework for cultural engagement and then explore specific hot topics in current Western culture including:

  • Sexuality
  • Gender Roles
  • Human Life and Reproduction Technology
  • Immigration and Race
  • Creation and Creature Care
  • Politics
  • Work
  • Arts
  • War, Weapons, and Capital Punishment

Featuring contributions from over forty top thinkers, proponents of various views on the specific topics present their approaches in their own words, providing readers an opportunity to fairly consider options.

Unique in how it addresses both big-picture questions about cultural engagement and pressing current issues, Cultural Engagement provides a thorough and broad introduction useful for students, professors, pastors, college ministers, and any believer wanting to more effectively exercise their faith in the public square.


In a time when US culture is incredibly fragmented, and the way forward seems to revolve around social media power dynamics, Cultural Engagement is a welcome and needed resource. By itself, part 1 offers a concise review of the literature on culture, its importance, and how it is formed. In part 2, Josh and Karen curate the best thinking on timely and critical contemporary issues--race, gender, work, arts, and challenges to life itself. It is this respectful pairing of differing viewpoints that is rare today, in both secular and Christian circles. Excellently done!

The Christian God never changes. But our culture constantly changes. Every year, every decade, and every century, Christians are faced with new challenges. Cultural Engagement gets us back onto the front foot. Instead of fight, fright, or flight, this book shows us how to face contemporary issues in our culture. It also equips us for the future challenges that are just around the corner. This book is a must-read for anyone who no longer wants to run from culture but to see each and every issue as an opportunity to engage culture with a Christian redemptive dialogue.

Josh Chatraw and Karen Swallow Prior, along with a host of friends, model for all of us what it means to think Christianly about the intersection of the gospel and culture, doing so with courage and conviction while encouraging careful listening, Christlike kindness, and civility. Cultural Engagement will form, inform, and motivate readers not only to engage thoughtfully but to live and serve faithfully. This compelling and comprehensive volume should become an essential resource for students, pastors, and thought leaders alike. Highly recommended!

Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues centers important conflicts, worldviews, and etiologies present in the contemporary church in America. As an instructor in intergroup dialogue and cultural diversity, I find this text to be a helpful resource for both Christian higher education professionals and a much broader audience who would benefit from its concise examination of diverse Christian thought manifested in social-political ideologies and practices. This book reminds us that even within the subset known as the American church there are various competing and impactful perspectives that call for deep understanding and not simple caricatures.

This book will be extremely useful to any Christian seeking to answer cultural questions from a biblical point of view. I highly recommend it to every believer looking for a resource on cultural engagement that's also faithful to the Scriptures.

Christians talk a lot about cultural engagement, but our dismal record in recent decades suggests that our engagement strategies need a lot of work. In this provocative and timely book, Joshua Chatraw and Karen Swallow Prior have convened a wide-ranging cast of authors to debate the most pressing issues facing the church today.

Not only do we Christians lack ready-made answers to some of the pressing issues in our present day cultural life, but most of us are still trying to get clear about the questions. For this we need biblical discernment informed by cultural savvy. Thank the Lord, Karen Swallow Prior and Josh Chatraw have all of that in abundance!

This book is incredibly needed for 'such a time as this.' In this day and age, when rhetoric and worldviews are so divisive, and intelligence with grace and integrity is in short supply, Prior and Chatraw manage to bring together authors who nuance ancient biblical ideas with a wisdom that speaks to the ethical issues of our modern age. Pulling no punches in tackling all the toughest issues, this remarkable one-volume compendium is practically encyclopedic in its perspectives that exemplify goodness, truth, and beauty, while showing that Christians can also thoughtfully disagree on nonessential issues without losing unity in the essentials of the faith.

Product Details

  • Imprint: Zondervan Academic
  • On Sale: 2019-07-09
  • Pages: 368
  • Publisher: Zondervan Academic
  • Publication Date: 2019-07-09
  • Trim Size: 157.000mm x 236.000mm x 31.000mm
  • Weight: 580.000gr
  • Category 1 : RELIGION / Christian Life / Social Issues
  • Category 2 : RELIGION / Biblical Studies / Exegesis & Hermeneutics
  • Category 3 : RELIGION / Christian Theology / Ethics
  • Category 4 : RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Pastoral Resources