Is There Hope in the Chaos?
Our civilisation is unstable. Everyone can feel it. We face a looming mental health crisis. Slavery, censorship and superstition are back. Our politics are polarising. All the affluence in the world can’t seem to quench our thirst for meaning and purpose.
But maybe there is hope—if we know where to look.
In this timely book, Kurt Mahlburg shows how profoundly the West has been shaped by the life and teachings of Jesus—from our democratic freedoms and our pursuit of reason and science to our belief that every life is precious. Could rediscovering Jesus be the answer to our crisis?
“A much needed message for our time.”
—Peter Walker, Indigenous Elder, Bundjalung Nation
“I applaud Kurt Mahlburg on this landmark book.”
—Ps Margaret Court AO MBE, Former World Tennis Number One
“Cross and Culture deserves to be widely read.”
—Kevin Donnelly, Australian Catholic University
PRAISE FOR CROSS AND CULTURE
Cross and Culture is a superb primer for the reader who wants to understand the West’s present malady and discern a way forward. The book is refreshingly accessible, yet deeply insightful. Most importantly, Kurt Mahlburg not only reminds us of the past—he also points us above, to revive our focus on the true source of the help we need for better days ahead.
—Martyn Iles, Managing Director, Australian Christian Lobby
Kurt Mahlburg presents a very timely, relevant and detailed account of the dangers facing Western civilisation as a result of denying the significance and importance of Christianity. Mahlburg argues that in an increasingly secular, materialistic world, it is time for Christians to reassert the value of a spiritual and transcendent sense of life. Cross and Culture deserves to be widely read.
—Dr Kevin Donnelly AM, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Catholic University
I believe Cross and Culture will activate Christians in the Western world and especially leaders to wake up, get up, and grow up. The kingdom of God is under attack and the Christian church has compromised on many of its values. This is a time for Christians to be educated and rise up in their spiritual authority to reclaim the territory that has been lost. I applaud Kurt Mahlburg on this landmark book—it is a clarion call to the generations to be a voice.
—Rev Margaret Court AO MBE, Senior Pastor, Victory Life Centre, Western Australia, Former World Tennis Number One
Kurt Mahlburg’s Cross and Cultureis a brilliant book. It is well researched, inspiring and full of hope.
—Ps Andrew Evans OAM, Former Member of the Legislative Council, South Australia, Founder of the Family First Party
Uncle Ronnie Williams used to teach us young fellas that “the Bible is tribal”. For us as Indigenous people, we get the twelve tribes, we get the Ten Commandments, and we get the creation story. These stories are embedded in our culture. We also understand the blood covenant and the need for Jesus to die to save us from our sin. The picture on the front cover of this book will strike a deep chord with Indigenous people here in Australia. It shows the blood-stained cross, representing the high price of the covenant God made with humanity through his Son Jesus. This is the message that Western civilisation—with all its many faults—was founded on. Kurt Mahlburg argues that we—both white and black—ignore this message at our peril. Australia will not continue unless it comes back to its godly foundations, which Paul the apostle sums up as “Christ and Him crucified”. I commend Cross and Culture to you as a much needed message for our time.
—Ps Peter Walker, Indigenous Elder, Bundjalung Nation, New South Wales, Founder, National Solemn Assembly
You don’t have to believe in Jesus as the Son of God to know that his influence has moulded our culture for untold good. Cross and Culture explores the West’s rich heritage, traces its current decline, and challenges us to work for its restoration. A worthy read for a worthy cause.
—Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, Senator for Tasmania, Former Leader of the Government in the Senate, Liberal Party of Australia
Cross and Culture traces the decline of Western culture as our societies have moved away from their Christian foundations. In Christian belief, we have long possessed a vital ingredient for societal wellbeing; an affirmation of everyone’s worth; and a hope beyond the immediate. Kurt Mahlburg reminds us that when we surrender this, the only thing that remains is the unfettered rule of a powerful elite. But in his mercy, God can bring about a recovery of the West’s life-sustaining foundations. Cross and Culture advances that crucial concern: one that needs to be heeded by all.
—Rev R.H. Goodhew AO, Retired Anglican Archbishop of Sydney
In Cross and Culture, Kurt Mahlburg provides a sweeping account of the historical, cultural, and intellectual path to our present post-Christian age. He shows how all these changes have led to many of the crises that we are facing today, including our violent social divisions and also attacks on religious freedom. As a book introducing readers to key historical events and ideas, it is excellent. But Mahlburg also offers a way in which Christians can think creatively to be agents of change in this post-Christian—or perhaps pagan?—age. In this respect, Cross and Culture is not just a book of profound insight, but it is a book of hope.
—Dr Stephen A Chavura, Author, Lecturer in History, Campion College, Sydney
In this very readable and engaging book, Kurt Mahlburg has skilfully identified the key factors that are influencing Western culture, and he issues a challenging call to Christians and non-Christians alike to seriously consider where we are heading. The Judeo-Christian heritage on which the West stands is the key to the extraordinary benefits Western society enjoys. But these are under threat from philosophies and practices that run contrary to those foundations. What can be done? Kurt Mahlburg’s encouraging and insightful work points to an achievable solution and provides an inspiring call to action.
—Dr Mark Harwood, Scientist, Creation Ministries International (Australia)
I am thankful Captain Cook came to Australia. Yes, the coming of the white man brought great heartbreak and terrible disease to our people. But in the midst of this darkness also came the light, and with it, blessing. The light was the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the message of Kurt Mahlburg’s book Cross and Culture. There is a blessing in the message of the gospel. It has the power to revive both us as individuals and our culture at large. Australia needs the revival that the message of the gospel can bring. Kurt’s book demonstrates the power of the gospel. I encourage you to read it!
—Ps Anderson George, Indigenous Australian, Wuagalak Nation, Northern Territory
With a curious mind, an inquisitive heart, and a genuine love for the Lord, Kurt Mahlburg is emerging as a very important voice for the church of the 21st century. In Cross and Culture, Kurt paints a panorama stretching from Nietzsche to Rod Dreher, from Bob Dylan to Kanye, and from Kierkegaard to Jordan Peterson. Navigating the lessons of history with ease, he mixes past and present, sacred and secular, church tradition and pop culture, history and politics—all the while remaining firmly connected to our world, and casting a vision for our future. I would recommend Cross and Culture to anyone who has a heart to understand and reach the younger generations without judgment. This book should be part of any teaching on biblical worldview that seeks to be relevant in our ever-changing times. Kurt has a voice that the church needs to hear, and that many young people thinking about leaving (or perhaps returning to) the church will recognise as a cry from their hearts.
—Rev Pablo Nunez, Senior Pastor, Ballina Uniting Church, New South Wales
Cross and Culture is a very inspiring and enlightening book. Kurt Mahlburg’s thought-provoking volume calls for a response from us as servants of Christ, especially in these troubled times. The question is, “What shall we do?”—or as Francis Schaeffer asked many years ago, “How shall we then live?”
—Hon Rev Fred Nile MP, Member of the Legislative Council, New South Wales, Federal President, Christian Democratic Party
In this well-written and well-referenced volume, Kurt Mahlburg offers us both the big picture as well as the fine detail as he examines post-Christian Western culture. How did it get to its current state of malaise—and can it recover? Specifically, can it regain its Christian roots and flourish, or will it continue to disintegrate and decline? Part history, part apologetics, and part cultural commentary, the threads of this useful volume make for a coherent whole, and offer us hope for the way ahead.
—Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Cross and Culture is a much needed and brilliant book examining the Christian foundations of Australia and Western civilisation more broadly. Kurt Mahlburg chronicles how far we have fallen and calls us back to the foundations on which our nations were built. The Bible talks about Christ being a ‘sure foundation’. Unless we can again find this sure foundation, Western civilisation will cease to exist. Read Cross and Culture and be challenged, forewarned, informed and encouraged to build your nation and your life on a sure foundation. There is only one—and his name is Jesus.
—Warwick Marsh, Faith and Family Advocate, Co-Founder and Director, Canberra Declaration
The publication of this book is timely. Through in-depth research, Kurt Mahlburg traces the Christian roots of Western civilisation and describes the struggle of the church today in a post-Christian world. Drawing from the great writers, thinkers, artists and musicians of the past, he reflects on the polarising of our political landscape today, the influences of social media and other forces shaping our lives, and the need to rise to God’s kingdom call at this hour. This is a fascinating read.
—Ps Jenny Hagger AM, Founder and Director, Australian House of Prayer for All Nations
When St Paul proclaimed, “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female,” he set forth a radical proposition, founded on the dignity and liberty of each human—a truth that underpinned the development of Western civilisation and our insistence on human rights. In his book, Kurt Mahlburg traces this development and the way it is being challenged today, before proposing a return to these essential foundations against authoritarianism.
—Hon Kevin Andrews MP, Member for Menzies, Victoria, Liberal Party of Australia
Kurt writes with an insightful understanding of the times in which we live, providing a clear challenge to all Christians to be “canaries in the coal mine” at such a time as this. Many are wondering how we should respond to the evil in our day. Cross and Culture sets a clear direction for us as to how we are to respond, not only in action but in being. A must read for these times.
—Commissioner James Condon, Commissioner Emeritus, The Salvation Army
I love the way my friend Kurt Mahlburg thinks. He is not afraid to engage the most significant hot-button issues of our time, most notably the power of truth to shape society and culture. We have been dramatically plunged into a post-truth age in which the much-heralded ‘Information Age’ has rapidly descended into the ‘misinformation age’ and even further down the slippery slope into the ‘disinformation age’. Our technological revolution has paved the way for society to comprehensively lose its moorings, drifting a long way away from the divinely revealed truth of Scripture. I heartily recommend this book to you as a much-needed compass and signpost for cultural and societal transformation in these dark days. Kurt is not just a great thinker, but he is also an innovative leader who leads with integrity, keen insight and exemplary character.
—Ps Phil Mason, Senior Pastor, Tribe Byron Bay, New South Wales
The goal posts have moved, the game has changed, and the stakes are high. In this eye-opening account, Kurt surveys the history that has brought us thus far, and proposes ways to weather a coming Cultural Revolution. The new tribal identity warfare that we face, fuelled by a radical individualism, can only be countered by cultural renewal: rediscovering true justice and grace. When so many Christians lament the darkness, Kurt has found a way to understand these cultural dynamics while calling readers to move forward with confidence in God.
—Neil Johnson, Producer and Presenter, Vision Christian Radio
I get the impression from this book that Kurt Mahlburg would likely pigeonhole me as a Christian version of the ‘left-of-centre chattering class’. Yet, he somehow won me over with his intelligence, calm demeanour, and beautiful writing. This is more than a book from the culture wars (though it sometimes comes close). It is a wide-ranging guide to what is distinctive about those societies shaped by Christianity, and what is lost when we turn our back on that heritage. Parts of Mahlburg’s argument made me bristle, but his central thesis is very convincing and deserves a large readership: in a secularist age wearied by its own cynicism, irrationality, and emptiness, traditional Christianity is the true life-giving revolution that we need.
—Dr John Dickson, Author and Historian, Distinguished Fellow in Public Christianity, Ridley College
This is a must-read book for anyone who genuinely desires to follow Christ in our post-Christian culture. Kurt Mahlburg is a generational voice who has been gifted by God to speak into such a time as this. In Cross and Culture, Kurt masterfully unpacks the underlying currents that have shaped our Western worldview, and he boldly declares that Jesus is still—as he always has been—the hope of the world.
—Ps David Shepherd, Campus Pastor, Hills Baptist Church, South Australia
Kurt Mahlburg’s Cross and Culture is engaging, informative, wide-ranging, interesting and challenging. Thinking Christians who want a single readable volume that tells them what is happening in our society, how and why it is happening, and what needs to be done about it, need look no further: this is the book. It is contemporary Christian apologetics in everyday attire, without the academic gown. But be warned: once you start reading it you may find it impossible to stop. And if you are not stirred to some kind of active response, I will be surprised.
—Dr Barry Chant, Author and Teacher, Founding President of Tabor College Australia
Kurt Mahlburg provides a valuable account of what has led the West to abandon Christianity, while reminding us that though we live in a post-Christian world, our Christian memory and conscience remains. He demonstrates that the Western idea of the value and dignity of each human being can never be detached from the Christian faith, otherwise we risk cutting the lifelines on which those values essentially depend. I recommend Cross and Culture to everyone who wishes to know more about the links between Christianity and Western culture.
—Dr Augusto Zimmermann, Professor and Head of Law, Sheridan Institute of Higher Education
Surveying the cultural landscape of the West, Kurt Mahlburg’s tour de force that is Cross and Culture shows how our civilisation, cut adrift from its Christian moorings, is heading towards disaster and decline. Will a return to those Christian moorings save our civilisation? Can we even restore Christianity in a culture so opposed to the faith? Mahlburg answers this and more, reminding us of the biblical adage: “With God all things are possible.”
—George Christensen MP, Member for Dawson, Queensland, Liberal National Party of Queensland
Cross and Culture is a book for our times. With Western culture and values changing rapidly, and our societies experiencing uncertainty and division like never before, Kurt Mahlburg expertly navigates the forces of history, culture and religion to explain how we got to the place we are in. This is a must-read for anyone who has the feeling that things are not as they should be; questions where our society can go from here; and wonders what—or who—can possibly save it. This book is thoroughly researched, brilliantly argued and easy to read.
—Rev Mark Sanders, Senior Pastor, Hills Baptist Church, South Australia
In an easy-to-read style, Kurt provides an excellent analysis of the historical, cultural, political and spiritual condition of Western culture. There is a wealth of information within these pages! If you’re in any way interested in the current malaise we are in—and want to know what to do about it—then this is a great place to start. Take and read. You won’t be disappointed.
—Right Rev Mark Powell, Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory
In Cross and Culture, Kurt Mahlburg seeks to clarify what it will mean for the West to move away from its Christian roots and values. There are voices that want us to believe that we need to shake off our Christian values to release Western nations into a new freedom. What we may discover is that we will lose much more than we hope to gain. Kurt Mahlburg’s book is well researched, clearly written, and contains wisdom that our community desperately needs to hear. This book is worth both reading and sharing.
—Karl Faase, CEO, Olive Tree Media
Can Jesus save the West? In light of all that is happening across the Western world, I don’t believe a more important question could be asked. Politicians come and go, movements are birthed and die, but Jesus continues to save and transform day after day. Kurt Mahlburg has written a book for our times. An Australian thought leader and gifted author with a heart of gold, Kurt draws you into both to the challenges and the solutions for our times, in a way that is both robust and relational. Filled with incredible research, insightful critique, captivating stories and “now I get it” diagrams that enrich the journey, this work comes highly recommended for anyone who is wrestling with the state of the West and what the answer is for us all.
—Andrew Scarborough, Ministry Director of Youth for Christ Australia
Kurt Mahlburg is a thoughtful, considered, passionate follower of Jesus who is emerging as a leading voice on faith and culture. He oozes integrity and writes from a thoroughly-researched position, as well as his own personal experience. Cross and Culture is a compelling book imploring followers of Jesus to understand the times we live in and to put our trust in a faithful God. A must-read for those seeking to live out their faith in an authentic and relevant way.
—Rev Mike Stevens, Lead Pastor, Clovercrest Baptist Church, South Australia
The purpose of Jesus coming to earth was not to save civilisations—but to save people from their sins. However, one overflow of individual salvation is the greater flourishing of many. It was William Wilberforce who said that the conversion of one is the elevation of fifty. Whatever the statistics, Christians should have a decided impact for good in their societies. Cross and Culture will help many to think through these issues, and to live more effectively as salt and light in degenerate and dark times.
—Rev Dr Peter Barnes, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia
At a time when the church continues to neglect the cultural battle threatening to engulf its next generation, Kurt Mahlburg presents a timely response. Synthesising the best Christian cultural thinkers of the past century, Mahlburg takes the reader on a journey of discovery through the ideas that have undermined the West’s Christian foundations and that leave us standing at the edge of an abyss. He reminds us of the forgotten elements of the gospel that we have locked away ‘upstairs’, and he urges us to bring them back down to a world desperately in need of the transformation that only the kingdom of Jesus offers.
—Lyle Shelton, Author, Former Managing Director, Australian Christian Lobby
Very well written and highly engaging, Cross and Culture takes us on a journey through the halls of postmodernism. Kurt rightly concludes that the fall of Western civilisation is directly tied to our rejection of God. And yet, he has much love and hope for our society; our Judeo-Christian foundation is sound. This book will fill you with optimism for our future, but it will also require us to be moved to action as Christians, and return wholeheartedly to God.
—Ps Eric Teitelman, House of David Ministries
Kurt Mahlburg’s Cross and Culture boldly and accurately addresses the times in which we live. I am extremely worried to see Australia drift from its Christian roots, and to observe our children—who are the next generation of leaders—blindly accept philosophies like atheism and communism. I believe that Kurt’s timely book brings these issues to light. To quote Bishop Nazir-Ali, who grew up in Muslim Pakistan: “History is about what actually happened, not what we wish had happened.”
—Dr Colin Stringer, Author, Australian President of the International Convention of Faith Ministries International
Cross and Culture is an historical, political and theological journey that lifts the veil from the eyes of despairing Christians, and lays bare the self-inflicted shambles of our Western civilisation. This could easily be a book that pessimistically recounts the loss of Christian culture and civilisation. But as you immerse yourself in its pages, you find a message of recurring hope. In a world drowning in the sorrow that comes from apathy and despair, the message of Cross and Culture is hope. And that eternal hope—given to us as a gift to be shared—may be all that we need.
—Stephen Campbell, Federal Secretary, Democratic Labour Party
I have read many books on culture and polity. Kurt’s analysis in Cross and Culture is a deeply satisfying exposition of where we’ve been, where we are now, and how we got here. This should impact each reader as to where we go from here. The storytelling woven throughout makes it an easy, albeit personally challenging, read. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to align their own worldview to one of truth, knowledge and understanding.
—Wendy Francis, Queensland and Northern Territory Director, Australian Christian Lobby
Kurt Mahlburg has grasped that today’s radical secular creed cannot hold a society together. It is leaving Christians under siege in the ‘uncivilisation’ that is being created. His valuable book recognises that, with the help of God’s divine grace, a Christian-led counterculture is needed to renew Western civilisation.
—Patrick J Byrne, President of the National Civic Council
With hundreds of footnotes, Kurt provides a clear understanding of today’s culture wars through his surprising depth of knowledge. In army training, one of the principles of warfare is to know your enemy. Kurt’s contribution helps us to be better informed and overcome those principalities and powers that are not of God.
—Dr Graham McLennan, Chairman, National Alliance of Christian Leaders, Founder, Christian History Research
In a time of increasing division and discord, Cross and Culture provides an analysis of the way in which Christianity and its legacy of stability and concern for the common good is being broken down by secularism and its attendant focus on individualism, materialism and selfishness. Starting with a sound analysis, it offers hope, direction and a call to action for Christians everywhere.
—Tom Kenyon, Former Member for Newland, South Australia, Australian Labor Party
Western democracy is struggling under the weight of sin and compromise, led by attacks from within and without. The temptation to be ‘relevant’ has resulted in ignorance, complacency and distraction. There is no solution besides the blood of Christ. No person, no culture, no nation can be saved without Him and the magnificent gift of all that Jesus achieved on the cross. Kurt Mahlburg’s book Cross and Culture: Can Jesus Save the West? will provide encouragement and guidance to all who take to heart the message: we are called to be salt and light, while the battle belongs to the Lord!
—Kirralie Smith, Spokeswoman and Director, Binary Australia
Kurt has written a profound and extensive timeline of the formation of Western society that lays out the way we primarily think and operate. He’s documented how the West has been blessed by God’s principles and has embraced God’s goodness—and simultaneously how it is progressively erasing the very idea that God exists: a scary thought with real implications. His writing culminates in the truth that Jesus Christ has been by far the most influential figure in history, and he challenges us with the question, Can Jesus Save the West? You’ll have to dig into this book to find out Kurt’s conclusion.
—Kevin Stickl, Founder and Director, YWAM Byron Bay, New South Wales
In my work with men, I see many struggles arising from our post-Christian society—including broken relationships, self-medication, and the dismantling of the human person. Intelligently detailed and capturing the imagination, Cross and Culture addresses these issues, presenting the case for us to return to our Christian foundations and reinstall God at the centre of all life. Mahlburg does not leave the reader in despair but encourages personal integrity and a wholehearted return to God. This is a really important book.
—Robert Falzon, Author, Founding Director of menALIVE
Kurt Mahlburg has a keen eye for the follies, failures and fantasies of secular thinking. His commentary is imbued with a deep sense of our shared Christian past and informed by a broad knowledge of contemporary culture. A very stimulating read!
—Michael Cook, Editor, MercatorNet
This groundbreaking book is a must-read for Christians and others who want to know how the West stumbled into self-loathing and our cultural and moral malaise, and how to reclaim the positive aspects of our heritage. As nations, we stand at the crossroads, and we need to find the best way forward. Kurt provides a roadmap.
—Ps Barbara Miller, Pastor and Author, Centre for International Reconciliation and Peace
Cross and Culture is a thorough and thought-provoking page-turner. In this book, Kurt creates a place of quiet for readers to indulge their curiosity. He traces the development of Western culture, the decline of our civilisation, and the promise of God’s future grace as we turn our hearts back to Jesus. Exploring the powerful influence that Christian ideas have had in transforming our societies, this book gives readers hope that Jesus can indeed save the West.
—Evelyn Rae, Writer and Commentator, Girl Rising Above the Noise
The timeless C.S. Lewis said that “When you argue against [God], you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all: it is like cutting off the branch you are sitting on.” In this wonderful book, Kurt Mahlburg outlines how the West has been sharpening the axe and is inanely hacking away at our culture’s essential limbs. Read Cross and Culture, dwell on it, and use it to prompt sane dialogue about where we are going—and why we are in this predicament.
—Jude Hennessy, Director of Evangelisation, Catholic Diocese of Wollongong