Book of the Month: Truth & Transformation
Yesterday I posted on the economic effects of sin, and I cited a couple of examples from Vishal Mangalwadi’s book Truth & Transformation. Today I’m going to take the extra step and formally recommend the book.
Mangalwadi has been referred to as “the Francis Schaeffer of India,” partially because he studied under Schaeffer, partially because he follows Schaeffer’s method of applying biblical truth to the pressing issues of the day. Mangalwadi is particularly interesting because he is a non-Western scholar who is well acquainted with Western thought and development. He provides a much needed perspective on our approach to life that is at once intelligent and unbiased.
In Truth & Transformation, Mangalwadi explores the impact that worldview has on our societies. You might be tempted to think that a worldview is a personal matter that doesn’t have much bearing on practical matters that affect whole societies. But Mangalwadi argues otherwise.
For example, Mangalwadi asks why there are still women in India transporting water on their heads, when the Western world has found ample means for piping water and harnessing its power. It has nothing to do with intelligence, ingenuity, or motivation. It has everything to do with worldview.
One important contribution of Christianity to the Western worldview has been in the development of science. Christians see the world as God’s creation, and humanity as God’s caretakers. Because God is an orderly and rational Creator, the creation is worth exploring and mankind is capable of learning how the creation functions and shaping it in ways that benefit our societies. In this way, the Christian worldview has led the Western world into some major technological developments.
In parts of India, by contrast, the animistic worldview leads people to see the world not as something that can be explored and shaped, but rather as something controlled by unpredictable spirits that must be appeased. The local river is not something that can be harnessed for power and the water passing downstream is not something that can be piped into villages and homes. Rather, the spiritual forces within the river must be respected and appeased, and therefore water must be manually transported.
Mangalwadi’s simple argument is that truth transforms. What we believe affects the way we live, both as individuals and as societies. And what God reveals to us holds true in the real world. So when we appropriate truth, it transforms our lives. And when we labor to see that truth take root in our larger societies, then widespread transformation can result.
This doesn’t mean that we can force God’s truth onto our culture or that transformation will be quick and easy. Mangalwadi carefully avoids two extremes here. He insists that this world and our societies are worth fighting for. Real healing and transformation is possible on this earth. But he equally insists that the world will not suddenly become a perfect place through our efforts.
Mangalwadi explains that God calls us to be witnesses, not revolutionaries. Our role is to faithfully represent God’s truth in every area of life. The transformation is in God’s hands. Truth & Transformation will help you think through the impact of truth and our calling to actively bring that truth to bear outside of the walls of our churches.