Several bloggers have posted their favourite books in 2013. Here I will mention two books I read last year. There were many good books, but the following stood out for me.
The first is Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes. It is a very readable book written by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon O’Brien. Richards is a biblical scholar and was a missionary in South East Asia for many years. I find this book exceedingly useful. It helps people in the West to read the Bible in its original context, through recognising the Western cultural lens they inevitably use when they read the Scripture. As a bi-cultural Asian-Australian, the book helps me to understand how my Aussie friends read the Bible. The authors’ cultural awareness provides crucial insights for all of us. If you are serious about understanding the biblical texts, this book is a must to read.
The second book is Soong-Chan Rah’s The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity. Rah critiques American Evangelicalism from his perspective of a Korean-American. Rah is not afraid to speak boldly about what he calls “Western cultural captivity” in America. I have to admit that I am not as bold as Rah, and I can’t imagine myself writing such a book. But at the same time I resonate with his feelings as an Asian living in Australia. Rah is a respectable Evangelical in America, being an Associate Professor at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. He serves on the board of Sojourners, and holds an MDiv and a DMin from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. His DMin thesis is “Towards a Post Modern approach to Urban Ministry.” I highly recommend Rah’s book.