Book Review – written by Lindsay
The Book That Made Your World* by Vishal Mangalwadi, published by Thomas Nelson 2011
I am grateful to a missionary friend for drawing my attention to this remarkable book. It is subtitled How The Bible Created The Soul of Western Civilization and as the back-cover says: “will transform your perception of the Bible’s influence on virtually every facet of Western Civilisation”.
So much that we take for granted in our own society, such as education, human dignity, the social and economic empowerment of women, human rights, the passion for scientific, medical and technological advancement – all these and more can be traced back to the Bible and the godly men and women who took the Bible seriously and whose lives were transformed by its message of the Saviour of the World.
The impact of the book is greatly strengthened by the fact that its author is Indian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi who initially studied philosophy at secular universities and Hindu ashrams. Then after studying at Swiss L’Abri for six months, he returned to India to initially serve the rural poor. The account of his experiences in a rural setting makes gripping reading, and strengthens Mangalwadi’s thesis that only a mind transformed by God’s Word can bring about transformation in a society.
Mangalwadi’s interpretive sweep of history is both impressive and convincing, as he examines the origins of our civilisation’s greatness and the forces that today threaten to unravel its very basis. Many early civilisations made many notable discoveries or inventions. But they lacked the impetus to use them for the betterment of their world.
I found the account of the development of modern written Indian languages fascinating, with its record of the profound impact of Christian missionaries on language, particularly through Bible translation.
One simple illustration also struck me forcibly. Today we rightly think of a “hero” as a suffering servant, someone for example who rescues others from a burning building. Yet other societies without a background in the Bible could well see the “hero” as the one who set the building alight in the first place.
Do buy or borrow a copy of The Book That Made Your World and read it for yourself. It will rejoice your heart and reconfirm what we know to be true – that the Bible changes lives, societies and civilisations.
*Available from Koorong for $14.95 in paperback; also available in various electronic version for downloading.