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Publisher: Intervarsity Press
Price: $2.99 (Apr 18-19)
Bookwi.se’s Favorite Books of the Year, Non-Fiction
What was clear to the original readers of Scripture is not always clear to us. Because of the cultural distance between the biblical world and our contemporary setting, we often bring modern Western biases to the text. For example:
When Western readers hear Paul exhorting women to “dress modestly,” we automatically think in terms of sexual modesty. But most women in that culture would never wear racy clothing. The context suggests that Paul is likely more concerned about economic modesty–that Christian women do not flaunt their wealth through expensive clothes, braided hair and gold jewelry.
Some readers might assume that Moses married “below himself” because his wife was a dark-skinned Cushite. Actually, Hebrews were the slave race, not the Cushites, who were highly respected. Aaron and Miriam probably thought Moses was being presumptuous by marrying “above himself.”
Western individualism leads us to assume that Mary and Joseph traveled alone to Bethlehem. What went without saying was that they were likely accompanied by a large entourage of extended family.
Biblical scholars Brandon O’Brien and Randy Richards shed light on the ways that Western readers often misunderstand the cultural dynamics of the Bible. They identify nine key areas where modern Westerners have significantly different assumptions about what might be going on in a text. Drawing on their own cross-cultural experience in global mission, O’Brien and Richards show how better self-awareness and understanding of cultural differences in language, time and social mores allow us to see the Bible in fresh and unexpected ways.
Getting beyond our own cultural assumptions is increasingly important for being Christians in our interconnected and globalized world. Learn to read Scripture as a member of the global body of Christ.
Gospel e-books is working together with Christian publishers to allow you to choose what e-books you’d like to have discounted. Cast your vote below and the book with the most votes in each poll will be placed on sale soon after. If there are less than 100 total votes in a particular poll, the winning book will not be discounted.
Kregel: Like a River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart (vs.) Lethal Harvest by William Cutrer &, Sandra Glahn
Crossway: Spurgeon on the Christian Life: Alive in Christ (Theologians on the Christian Life) by Michael Reeves (vs.) Lewis on the Christian Life: Becoming Truly Human in the Presence of God (Theologians on the Christian Life) by Joe Rigney
New Leaf: Glass House: Shattering the Myth of Evolution by Ken Ham & Bodie Hodge vs. Creation & Evolution: Compatible or in Conflict? by Jay Seegert
Intervarsity Press: Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards & Brandon J. O’Brien vs. Knowing Scripture by R. C. Sproul
Christian Focus: If There’s a God Why Are There Atheists?: Why Atheists believe in unbelief by R. C. Sproul vs. The Dawkins Letters by David Robertson
Reformation Heritage: In Defense of the Descent: A Response to Contemporary Critics by Daniel Hyde vs. An Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed by Caspar Olevianus
Publishers Weekly: “In this enjoyable history, O’Brien . . . proposes that born-again activist Isaac Backus (1724–1806) should be thanked for the development of religious freedom within the United States. . . . Those interested in the origins of America’s policy on religious regulations will enjoy this assured history of the battles Backus fought when freedom of belief was no foregone conclusion.”
Religious liberty is one of the most contentious political issues of our time. How should people of faith engage with the public square in a pluralist era? Some citizens hope to reclaim a more Christian vision of national identity, while others resist any religious presence at all.
This dispute is not new, and it goes back to the founding era of American history. As the country was being formed, some envisioned a Christian nation where laws would require worship attendance and Sabbath observance. Others advocated for a thoroughly secular society where faith would have no place in public life. But neither extreme won the day, thanks to the unsung efforts of a Connecticut pastor who forged a middle way. Historian Brandon O’Brien unveils the untold story of how religious liberty came to be. Between the Scylla and Charybdis of theocracy and secularism, Baptist pastor Isaac Backus contended for a third way. He worked to secure religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all Americans, not just for one particular denomination or religious tradition. Backus’s theological ideas had social consequences, giving us insights into how people of faith navigate political debates and work for the common good. Backus lived in an age of both religious revival and growing secularism, competing forces much like those at work today. Then and now, people fiercely argue about the role of government and the limits of liberty. The past speaks into the present as we continue to demand liberty and justice for all.Description.