Local books: Academic / Bible / History

Over the past month or so, I have written three posts about local books published in 2022.

One covered 15 local books, under the broad heading ‘church in culture, living the Christian life,’ the second looked at eight ‘art, fiction and literature’ books; and the third considered 11 ‘biography and autobiography’ titles.

This week I will look at nine books involving ‘academic / Bible / history’ titles.

The write-ups are generally from Amazon and publisher / author sites.

  •  Jason ByasseeJeremy Kidwell, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Leah Wilson-Hartgrove, editors: Kingdom Come: Reflections in Honor of Jonathan R. Wilson (Wipf and Stock)

For four decades, the Rev. Dr. Jonathan R. Wilson has cultivated an imagination for ‘kingdom realism’ as a pastor, teacher, theologian and friend.

To celebrate his 70th birthday, Kingdom Come has gathered reflections from fellow theologians, popular authors, poets and practitioners to mark both the range of Wilson’s influence on the Christian church and the consistency of his prayer and work for God’s kingdom to come here on earth as it is in heaven.

Far too few beyond the theological academy may recognize the insight or importance of the work of Jonathan R. Wilson, which has charted a way for Christian faithfulness in the midst of cultural fragmentation. Yet if this volume and these contributors are any indication of the significance of his influence as a pastor, teacher and scholar, then this book and his work surely deserve to be taken very seriously. – Curtis W. Freeman, Duke Divinity School

With contributions from: Isaac Villegas, Reggie Williams, Willie Jennings, Stanley Hauerwas, Greg Jones, Tim Dickau, Chandra Mallampalli, Reinhard Hutter, Axel Schoeber, John Berkman, Phil Kenneson, A.K.M. Adam, Margaret Adam, Craig Smith, Jen Harvey, Jeff Greenman, Loren Wilkinson, Marilyn McEntyre, Anna Robbins, Terry Smith, Munyamasoko Gato Corneil, Mike Pears, James Purves, Danny Zacharias, Mike Swalm, Susan Phillips, Ross Lockhart, Ross Hastings, Matt Humphrey, Peter Harris, Anthony Brown, Phil Rolnick, Andrew Shepherd, Chris Hall, Joy Banks, Christopher Johnston, Soohwan Park. 

Jonathan Wilson

After 28 years as a tenured faculty member at Westmont College (1989 – 2003), Acadia Divinity College (2003 – 2006), and Carey Theological College (2006 – 2017), Jonathan Wilson is a scholar-on-the-loose.

He currently serves as Senior Consultant for Theological Integration with Canadian Baptist Ministries and is a Teaching Fellow at Regent College. He delights in learning and teaching around the world, preaching when asked and available.

He is the author or editor of more than 15 books, most recently God’s Good World: Reclaiming the Doctrine of Creation. He is working happily (and slowly) on a number of other books that he hopes to write now or in the new creation.

He enjoys supporting his wife, Soohwan Park, in her continuing friendship with congregations and leaders in Fukushima, Japan, and her service on the board of A Rocha International. He is ordained by Canadian Baptists of Western Canada and an active member of West Point Grey Baptist Church. 

Jason Byassee is now senior minister of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in Toronto, but he was the first incumbent of the Butler Chair of Homiletics and Hermeneutics at the Vancouver School of Theology, from 2015 – 2022. The other editors do not live in the Vancouver area – Jeremy Kidwell teaches at the University of Birmingham, while Leah and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove are his daughter and son-in-law.

  •   Naoko Kato: Kaleidoscope: The Uchiyama Bookstore and its Sino-Japanese Visionaries (Earnshaw Books) 

In the 1920s, a Japanese businessman set up a bookshop in the city of Shanghai which changed the course of history by providing a forum for Chinese and Japanese intellectuals to meet and discuss the great issues of the day.

Now, Naoko Kato’s powerful book Kaleidoscope looks at the story of Uchiyama Kanzo and his bookstore from a fresh perspective, breaking it down into a series of reflections that shift as the years turn.

Uchiyama’s bookstore was a fulcrum of Sino-Japanese contacts, many of the members of Uchiyama’s salon were intellectuals behind the Chinese Communist Party, then an illegal organization in Shanghai.

The ability of Uchiyama and his bookstore to transcend intellectual divisions and borders makes his story of unique inter-cultural interest. And the context of Uchiyama’s efforts to bring peace between his home country of Japan and his chosen home of China is one of the most intellectually uplifting stories of the 20th century.

Naoko Kato teaches Modern East Asian history at St. Mark’s College. She has taught Asian Canadian and Asian Migration courses at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. A former Japanese-language librarian at UBC, she currently works for the North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources. She has a PhD in History (East Asia) and an MS in Information Studies (Archives), both from the University of Texas at Austin, and has degrees from the University of Western Australia, Sophia University (Tokyo) and UBC.

  • Brian Bird & Derek Ross, general editors: Forgotten Foundations of the Canadian Constitution (LexisNexis)

Forty years after the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms arrived and 155 years after Confederation, it might be tempting to think that we have come to grasp all of the facets of the Canadian Constitution.

Forgotten Foundations of the Canadian Constitution reveals that the opposite is true. Many aspects of Canada’s constitutional order remain undertheorized and merit closer examination.

This collection seeks to excavate and explain a variety of foundational elements of the Canadian Constitution. Some of these elements reside in the text, some beneath it and some only come into focus when the written and unwritten portions of the Constitution speak to each other.

The result is an enriching exploration of Canada’s constitutional architecture that will not only aid the work of judges, lawyers and scholars. It will benefit anyone who wishes to grow in knowledge of – and appreciation for – Canada’s supreme law.

Forgotten Foundations of the Canadian Constitution is a collection of papers developed out of the Supreme Court Law Review, Second Series.

Brian Bird is Assistant Professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC. His research focuses on constitutional law, constitutional theory and human rights. His writing on these topics has appeared in several academic journals and media outlets. A lawyer by training, Brian clerked for judges at the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Supreme Court of Canada. He completed his doctorate in law at McGill University. He also holds a B.C.L. from the University of Oxford, a J.D. from the University of Victoria, and a B.A. from Simon Fraser University.

Derek Ross lives in Ontario and is Executive Director and General Counsel for Christian Legal Fellowship. He has acted for public interest interveners in a number of Charter cases, including before the Supreme Court of Canada.

  • Stephen Charnock, author; Mark Jones, editor: The Existence and Attributes of God (Crossway)

Stephen Charnock was a highly regarded 17th century English Puritan theologian whose writings have continued to influence the church for centuries. He is known for his sophisticated approach to topics such as the existence and attributes of God, the person and work of Christ, and the doctrine of sin.

This two-volume set, edited by Mark Jones, contains an updated and unabridged edition of Charnock’s classic work, Discourses upon the Existence and Attributes of God, written to instruct and encourage Christian pastors, theologians and lay people.

Jones precedes each discourse with an introductory summary that explains Charnock’s general approach. In this clear, modernized presentation of this classic work, readers will experience his skillful exegesis, his influential way with words, his insight into human nature, his concern with the practical implications of who God is, and his Christ-focused approach to theology.

Mark Jones (PhD, Leiden Universiteit) serves as the pastor of Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church in Vancouver. He has authored many books, including Living for God and God Is, and speaks all over the world on Christology and the Christian life. His most recent book, Knowing Sin, was published just last February. Mark and his wife Barbara have four children.

  • Enoch Wong: How am I Going to Grow Up? (Langham Publishing)

Second-generation Chinese Canadian evangelicals inhabit a complex liminal space, positioned between the world of their parents and broader Canadian society. In this study, Dr. Enoch Wong explores the ‘silent exodus’ of these Canadian-born Chinese from their parents’ churches, tracing their journeys to negotiate their cultural, ethnic and faith identities for themselves.

Utilizing both sociology of religion and leadership studies, Wong’s research engages Robert Greenleaf’s concept of foresight in servant leadership to examine the role of church leaders in mediating (or failing to mediate) these transitions for children raised in immigrant churches.

This multi-case inquiry offers insight into the concerns of Canadian-born Chinese evangelicals and the cultural and generational conflicts that prompt them to search for new communities capable of understanding their identities and supporting their yearnings – whether inside or outside of the church.

I wrote about the book here.

Enoch Wong has a PhD in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington. He is Director of the Centre for Leadership Studies and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at the Canadian Chinese School of Theology, Toronto. Though he does not live in Vancouver, many of the participants in the interviews which were so key to this book live in Metro Vancouver. He is also an Adjunct Professor with the Canadian Chinese School of Theology Vancouver in Richmond.

Three book which came out in 2021 (and which I missed at the time) should be mentioned:

  • Pitman B. Potter: Exporting Virtue?: China’s International Human Rights Activism in the Age of Xi Jinping (UBC Press)

China’s rise to prosperity on the international stage has been accompanied by increased tensions with international standards of law and governance. Exporting Virtue? examines China’s internationalizing of PRC human rights policy and practice as an example of its international assertiveness, and considers the implications.

China’s international human rights activism is couched in terms of virtue but manifested as authoritarianism, inviting scholars and policy makers around the world to engage critically with the issue.

Exporting Virtue? investigates the challenges that China’s human rights orthodoxy poses to international norms and institutions, offering normative and institutional analysis and providing suggestions for policy response.

Pitman Potter is Professor Emeritus at UBC’s Peter A. Allard School of Law. He is recognized for his precedent-setting scholarship in the field of Chinese legal studies and for his dedication and service to his community. He is an internationally acclaimed expert noted for his innovative and impactful research on human rights, foreign trade and dispute settlement in Taiwan and China. Potter is licensed as deacon to the Archdeaconry of Vancouver. This arrangement allows him to be in ministry with the parishes of St John’s Shaughnessy, St Philip’s Dunbar and St Anselm’s, as well as continuing his work with the West Point Grey Neighbourhood Ministry. He was recently appointed to the Order of Canada.

  • John Paul Sonnen: Sant’Onofrio al Gianicolo: Journeying to a Citadel of Faith (Arouca Press)

The Renaissance was a time of realization, continuity and rebirth that began in 15th century Italy. The name Renaissance or Classical is given to that manner of building and style of ornament which is an adaptation of the models of ancient Greece and Rome.

These ancient classical models helped influence the new architecture and painting of Sant’Onofrio. It is my hope this little book will inspire you, dear pilgrim, and help create a conversation among other pilgrims to venture off the beaten path to explore Sant’Onofrio, a rare legacy of the Italian Renaissance. 

In 2020, when everyone was being locked down because of COVID-19, former Vancouver writer John Paul Sonnen turned the time of isolation into something constructive. The author finished an account of the history of his favourite church in Rome, Sant’Onofrio al Gianicolo. The sometimes-overlooked church is the spiritual centre in Rome for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. In 2014 Sonnen was invested in the order in a centuries-old knighthood ceremony at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver. (The B.C. Catholic)

  • Nikki T. White: Identity in Exodus: Journey with Moses from Identity Crisis into Missional Community (Word Alive Press)

Has your sense of self been buffeted by trauma, mental illness, culture shock, post-modern ideologies and the like? If so, you are kindred spirits to this biblical patriarch. Journeying through the book of Exodus, Nikki T. White explores the topic of identity crisis in the life of Moses, inviting us to discover – through the ordinary, extraordinary and unthinkable events of our lives – a new identity of purposed and purposeful mission.

In the ancient story of Moses, White finds many modern parallels to the stories of this current generation. She examines the different forms of identity crisis faced by millennials, missionaries, migrants, the marginalized and the grievously misunderstood.

Interspersing their stories throughout the book, White offers well-researched insights into some of the sources of identity crisis in North America.

Relating the ways in which God has woven her own personal brokenness into his overarching story of redemption, she leads readers to see how God can impart profound meaning to the seemingly random chapters of life. This book helps us to find our identity and calling within the bigger scope of God’s divine narrative. For we, like Moses, are being sent.

Nikki White writes for Multiply, the global mission agency of the North American Conferences of Mennonite Brethren Churches. While gathering and publishing stories from all over the world, White also serves the local and global church through prayer seminars and helping in the training of short- and long-term missionaries. She attends North Langley Community Church, where she oversees curriculum development and training for prayer ministry.

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