Introducing My New Book, Saving God's Face

Introducing My New Book, Saving God's Face May 2, 2013

I previously announced that my book has been published! It is called . . .

Saving God’s Face: A Chinese Contextualization of Salvation through Honor and Shame .

savinggodsfacekindlefinalFor a sample, check out Chapter One for free. Click here.


Theologically, the book seeks to understand the doctrine of salvation from the perspective of honor and shame.

In missiological terms, the book suggests an approach to theological contextualization in which Chinese culture helps us to interpret Scripture better. I am not suggesting “eisegesis,” by which we force some contemporary ideas into the Bible. Not at all. As an evangelical, I affirm that there is one gospel and the author’s original meaning does not change because of the reader.

Instead, I explore what happens when we cross disciplines, bringing together missions, theology, and biblical studies in addition to both Chinese culture and the Ancient Near East.

We all have a worldview that shapes the way we read Scripture.

Because we are all sinners who come from cultures that are limited, we have to be intentional in the way we interpret Scripture. People generally recognize that their personal theology is not necessarily equivalent to what the Bible may say on a matter.

If this is the case, this what are the implications for the way we understand Scripture and preach the gospel?

I hope the book helps people both in the West and the East. There has been a lot of talk about the importance of honor and shame but I have found most of the studies are introductions. In addition, there are countless books and articles that discuss the meaning of the gospel and contextualization. Again, there is agreement at the broadest levels, but we still need to develop more practical approaches to contextualizing the gospel.


It is being published as a part of the Evangelical Missiological Society’s Dissertation Series, published by WCIU Press.

Other titles in the series have included:

Doug Coleman’s “A Theological Analysis of the Insider Movement Paradigm from Four Perspectives: Theology of Religions, Revelation, Soteriology and Ecclesiology” and

Ant Greenham’s “Muslim Conversions to Christ: An Investigation of Palestinian Converts Living in the Holy Land.”

In the coming weeks, I’ll be doing a blog series introducing the various parts of the book. I’ll am also making the introduction available so that people can get a better look at it.

""For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, ..."

When Good Missionaries Get the Bible ..."
"Where are the Matrix memes when I need them??"What if I told you...""...the Bible isn't ..."

When Good Missionaries Get the Bible ..."
"Thank you for this article. I think it is good that you were willing to ..."

When Good Missionaries Get the Bible ..."
"While intelligently written, thoughtfully explained and poignant in factual and historical reference, this article may ..."

How Shame Can Prevent People from ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I bought this book the day it was announced. I began reading last night. This morning I became so engrossed in the first chapter—looking up many of the Scripture verses referenced and reading many of the footnotes—that I was late for my dentist appointment. I’ve been reading and writing and doing some training about the dynamics of honor and shame for the last four-plus years. So I am familiar with some of the issues surrounding the dynamics of honor and shame relative to missiology and theology. Concerning this new work by Jackson Wu, the words that come to mind are: intriguing, brilliant, phenomenal scholarship, good writing, comprehensive, revealing, and, critical for missions effectiveness in the 21st century. I love what I’m seeing and learning so far. I’m truly excited about learning more. Thank you, Jackson Wu.

    • Werner, you are too kind. I sincerely appreciate your encouraging words. I dearly want the book to drive people back to Scripture, not merely to anthropology and culture books, as helpful as they may be. I would love to hear your feedback as you read it. If you are willing, post a review on Amazon and/or on your blog. Thanks for taking this subject so seriously and helping to further the gospel.

      • I will gladly write a review on Amazon when I am done and mention it in my blog.

        Yesterday, I began teaching a 6-week Sunday morning class of about 100 people about honor and shame in cross-cultural ministry — in a Phoenix-area church. It’s comprised of families who homeschool their children. So it is a really dynamic group, young and old and in-between. yesterday’s class was about the motif of honor-status reversal in Scripture. One of the assignments for the week is to create a big poster answering the question: What is the Gospel? I was inspired to do this because of what you had written about “assuming the gospel”. My idea is to have them do this exercise again at the end of the 6-week class, and to see if their view of the Gospel has changed to incorporate a more comprehensive biblical view, one which does more than deal with humanity’s guilt, but also humanity’s shame, or other biblical expressions of the atonement. It’s gonna be a learning adventure, for me and for them.

        Also, I find your Figure 1 and your explanations to be very very helpful. I know I will be using this in many ways, giving appropriate credit to your book, of course. This diagram is endlessly useful and sheds light on so many issues and problems in the life of the church and her mission.

        You are teaching me a lot and I am passing it on. Thank you so much. (Rom. 11:36)

        • This is so great to hear. I’m excited it is helpful. On related point, the April article I just published gives my view on “what is the gospel” and how to contextualize it in any culture. Second, my January article and part of the April article flesh out a bit more of what’s behind Figure One. The glasses imagery in the April article applies Figure One (from the book) to the task of interpretation. I hope those resources can help as well. I’d love to hear how the class goes!

  • Glad to see another book like this coming out, but not from an university context I expect like the ones Bruce Malina, John Pilch, Jerome Neyrey, Ben Witherington etc. write from. I actually got introduced to this kind of scholarship on exegesis 4 or so years ago by the apologist of I’ve found the insights so helpful I’ve written an article that brings those insights to bear in a Gospel presentation (which is under “Becoming a Christian” on my website linked in my name). Also, the time of your book release is pretty close to the apologist’s ebook of the website I mentioned, “The Atonement Contextualized” by James Patrick Holding, which he released about 7-8 months ago.

    • Thanks Clint, I look forward to checking out the resources you mentioned. Given your familiarity with the topic, I look forward to hearing your review of the book. Feedback is so helpful to me and others as we try to share the gospel in a biblically faithful and culturally meaningful way. Thanks.

      • I put it on my wish-list, so I hopefully I’ll get to read it sometime soon.

    • I just realized that yes, I read Holding’s book right when it came out. I read it on a plane I recall. However, please do send me resource recommendations anytime. I’m always looking for them. Thanks

      • Oh ok cool. Have you seen his argument for the resurrection or his material on hell on his site or youtube page (tektontv)? He also has book-length treatments of those topics out too (Defending the Resurrection and What in Hell is Going On). He uses a lot of social-science resources for those which makes his treatments pretty unique in apologetics.

        Also, if you get the time, I’d be interested in your thoughts on my “What is the Gospel” article I mentioned in my 1st comment. I wrote using some of my own research and Holding’s.

  • Pingback: The Personal History behind “Saving God’s Face” | jacksonwu()

  • Pingback: Missiology or Theology? Crossing Academic Cultures for the Sake of the Nations | jacksonwu()

  • Pingback: The Dangers of Being an Evangelical Missiologist | jacksonwu()

  • Pingback: Missiology or Theology? Crossing Academic Cultures for the Sake of the Nations | jacksonwu()

  • Pingback: Who Should Read “Saving God’s Face”? | jacksonwu()

  • Pingback: Like Theology & Missiology Books? Want 5 Free Ones? | jacksonwu()