is a preliminary list of resources about redemptive analogies: books, Web links,
and videos that show how Jesus fulfills truths within non-Christian cultures
and belief systems. If you know of other resources, I'd love to hear from
you. I am eager to find more material, especially in regard to Native
America, Central Asia, pre-Christian Europe, Africa, and Japan -- oh, anywhere
else. Below I list the books I have found so far, and the books that I
have reviewed on Amazon.com are linked to the review. I also list some web sites
and a few videos. A few words of explanation are provided where appropriate.
Books on Redemptive Analogies, General
in Their Hearts, Don Richardson
This is where I first learned about redemptive analogies; a great place
to start. Popular style but with references, short stories from around
the world, showing that Jesus is the fulfillment of many cultural ideals.
Five stars. See
and the Religions of Man, David Marshall
My new book isn't entirely about redemptive analogies, but I give a
lot of further examples of how the concept of God is almost universal, of
how the Cross fulfills many specific ideals within non-Christian cultures,
and a lot of other good stuff.
Man, G. K. Chesterton
Five stars. See
of God, Augustine
G. K. Chesterton
Fairy tales as redemptive analogies -- and other things, presented
by Chesterton near the top of his unsurpassable style. See
Books on Europe
City of God,
Through the Centuries,
A scholarly and well-written account of how Western peoples have seen
Jesus. Shows in particular (in this context) how Christian faith rooted
itself in the Greco-Roman culture, and found plenty to root itself on.
Dante to Virgil: "Through you I became a poet, through you a Christian."
Pelikan may not be as alive to the supernatural aspect of this connection
as is Don Richardson, but there's some worthwhile material in here, in conjunction
with the insights Chesterton brings.
by Joy, C. S.
And everything else by C. S. Lewis. Lewis is not as overt as
Richardson in his presentation of redemptive analogies, but he is certainly
the best at creating them! (Narnia, for example.) In this autobiography,
Lewis describes his own search for truth through the literature of the Western
world, and how it finally led him to Christ. He eloquently states one
of the assumptions behind this approach to religion here: "The question was
no longer to find the one simply true religion among a thousand religions
simply false. It was rather, "Where has religion reached its true maturity?
Where, if anywhere, have the hints of all Paganism been fulfilled?'"
Lewis explains how he arrived at this insight here, and expresses its value
in many of his books.
Irish Saved Civilization,
What would you expect from an author with a last name like that? Only
a bit on redemptive analogies in Irish culture . . . would like to see more.
Good book, though, most of the time.
Underground, Richard Wurmbrand
This memoir of a Rumanian pastor who spent many years in communist prisons
may seem a surprising place to look for redemptive analogies. But Richard
Wurmbrand is a philosopher as well as a pastor and a prisoner. As a
Jew and also a Christian, having suffered under Nazis and Communists alike,
Wurmbrand is extremely sensitive and perceptive, and he is very good at building
on truths of non-Christian thinking -- even atheism. His dialogues with
fellow prisoners and even his interogators are fascinating.
Books on China
Son of Heaven: How Jesus Fulfills the Chinese Culture, David Marshall
of Genesis: How the Truths of Genesis Were Found Hidden in the Chinese Language,
C.H. Kang and
Attempts to prove that Christian truths have been encoded within Chinese characters.
Four stars. See
Di Gei Zhong Guo De Ying Xu
A Chinese version of the previous book.
vs. Sheng Jing, Yuan
A book by a Chinese philosopher attempting to prove that Lao Zi was a prophet
and that he was speaking about Jesus in the Dao Dejing, the founding document
of Taoism. While his thesis may be a bit extreme, he does seem to make
some good points along the way. Avaliable only in Chinese, unfortunately,
in the overseas Chinese community. A shorter version was printed in
mainland China as Lao Zi Yu Ji Du (Lao Zi and Christ).
in Ancient Vedas,
This book contains some fascinating material. Could be better written
and arranged, however. Available from Don
Richardson Book Sales.
'n Chips: the New Age of Asian Spirituality,
Ram Gidoomal and Mike Fearon
Dorky title, and assumes that the reader is an Indian living in Britain, but
the book contains a great deal of information that anyone interested in Indian
religion and how the Gospel deepens the best insights of Hinduism would, I
think, find this book valuable. The authors know Hinduism well, and
discuss such topics as karma, dharma, maya, various yogic practices, gurus,
Hindu rituals, liberation, death, and relation to God -- relating each to
the Gospel. I'm just begining to digest the ideas in this book.
of Hinduism, J. N. Farquhar
This book, printed in 1913, might be available in large university libraries.
As the title implies, the author, who was literary secretary for the YMCAs
of India and Ceylon, the book presents the argument that the Gospel of Jesus
is the fulfillment of the best elements in Hinduism. The largest part
of the contents, however, explain the history and philosophies of Hinduism.
Later in the book, he argues that "Instead of world-surrender, Christ demands
self surrender. . . the convert from Hinduism to Christianity is the true
modern sannyasi." There's a lot of strong criticism here of Hinduism,
but it seems honest, and not too one-sided, and the author has done his homework.
Books on Japan
Face of Japan, David Lewis
By an English anthropologist who did a couple years of research in Japan.
He seems to come up with some interesting facts, and attempts in some rather
prelimary ways to build bridges for the Gospel to Japanese culture.
Jesus Way, Tucker
An excellent and sensitive comparison of Zen and Christian approaches to reality.
Calloway was a missionary in Fukuoka, Japan who taught comparative religion,
and spent many years trying to undestand Zen enlightenment. A very gentle
and easy-to-understand book, both for Christians and Zen Buddhists.
Out of print; the book may be available in major libraries. I have tried
to talk the publishers, Charles Tuttle Co, into reprinting. . . Contact them
and see if they've decided to do so yet.
Books on Southeast Asian Tribes
In Their Hearts, Don Richardson
Richardson gives some amazing stories about the Wa, Kachin, Lahu, Mizo, and
other tribes that live in the Golden Triangle area.
Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson, Courtney Anderson
This and another book, whose title I forget, give the story of the conversion
of Burmese tribes to Christ, among other things. Should be available
in large university libaries.
in the Bamboos, Donna Strom
Strom's books about India are very interesting, and some of her stories are
about tribal peoples who became Christians. She discusses in passing
a little of the cultural background that helped them become Christians, as
Chinese Journal, Vol. III, No. 1 / 1995
See the article, "Two Missionary Expeditions to Sichuan and Wenchuan,
China, in 1986 and 1994," for a fascinating tale of redemptive analogies
among the Jiang people in China north of the Himalayas. The author was
a professor of Christian Dogmatics at the University of Edinburg and (more
relevantly) the son of a missionary in that area.
Books on Polynesia
in Righteousness, Daniel Kikawa
Not a very scholarly book or a great piece of writing; a little hard to know
what is reliable and what is not. But in general, this is a very interesting
introduction to how the Hawaiians became Christians, including both ugly elements
in previous Hawaiian religion, and some pretty amazing redemptive elements.
Lots of lively details. Available from Don
Richardson Book Sales.
Books on Jewish Culture
This is more
familiar ground to most Christian apologists, but I haven't studied it too
much. One book I would recommend is Jewish Doctors Meet the Great
Physician, by Purple Pomegranite Press.
Don Richardson Book Sales http://www.DonRichardsonbooksales.com
Search "Keikyo" (one of the pages here discuss the theory that Nestorian
Christians influenced Japanese culture before the Catholic priests arrived
in the 16th Century. Whether or not they are right, it does show some
relations between Christianity and Japanese ideas).
Unveiling the Mystery;
Good News Production
This is about a half-hour video on Chinese characters and ancient Chinese
ideas that relate to the Gospel. The dialogue is in Chinese, with English
subtitles. I recommend this for classes or fellowships; I found it very
interesting, though you have to concentrate -- there's a lot of material.
I think people who only speak English will probably get most of it.
At the end of the tape there is what I found a very off-putting but paranthetical
reference to Noah's ark having been discovered. I think this one sentence
might erase the video's credibility in the eyes of Westerners who can't appreciate
the Chinese. So I'd recommend dubbing that little sentence out before
you show it to Western intellectuals. . .