Book Review: The Book that Made Your World by Vishal Mangalwadi

Vishal Mangalwadi (1949-), founder-president of BOMI/Revelation Movement, is an Indian philosopher, social reformer and a Christian intellectual. Vishal has lectured in over 40 countries, published seventeen books, and contributed chapters to many more. Although he has written several other books, this work in 2011 seems to have placed him on the radar of more readers.

Initially, I was sceptical about this book. A friend recommended it, and although I respect his opinion, I did not believe the book would live up to his high praise. Also, the length was initially a factor as I wondered if the book would truly have four hundred pages of content. Yet all of my misgivings were quickly placed to one side as I began to read. Dr. Mangalwadi has an excellent writing style. He helpfully lays out the facts and brings his readers along with him on a voyage of discovery. In fact, the book often reads like a story as it is full of anecdotes and illustrations.

Far from being a dry summary of many facts, this work will inspire the mind and warm the heart of the reader. Since completing it, I have already recommended it to many individuals and am excited to read more forthcoming books by Dr. Mangalwadi.

Perhaps the most surprising element of this book, even for many Christians who already had a strong appreciation of the Bible, is the sheer impact that the Scriptures have had around the world. As one continues to read this book, they will quickly realize that there is no sphere of life that the Bible has not touched in a beneficial way.

The book traces the Christian framework behind the modern Western world. As it does so, the reader will quickly realize that at most points where the West is declining, it is in direct proportion to giving up on the objective foundation of the Bible and Christianity. The author considers why the West has led in literacy, inventions, and education in such dramatic ways. He is clear to point out that not every good invention or educational development has come from the West; yet, the West has been the only culture to retain such inventions and use them for the common good according to the Judeo-Christian ethic.

Yet all of this growth and progress was ultimately begun by a crucified Messiah in the Roman world. This seems counter-intuitive but Dr. Mangalwadi explains how it is true. Additionally, he considers the emphasis on literacy and education in detail. The modern university can draw a direct line to Christian influence and initiation. Furthermore, the decline of Western Universities and quality education from the West has been directly related to the decline of adherence to Christian truth as secular thought has replaced it with a paltry substitute.

The book also considers how Christianity has benefited the West in the areas of morality, family, compassion, wealth, and liberty. Perhaps the last one will be the most surprising for some. The ideas of liberty and freedom are firmly rooted in a Judeo-Christian frame of reference. Without that ultimate foundation they are easily cast aside or corrupted as the world is witnessing.

Throughout, this excellent book is filled with hope. One comes away encouraged, despite realizing how far away the West has wondered from her foundations. At the same time, the reader will be given much to think about as Dr. Mangalwadi contrasts and compares various societies in history to the influence of Christianity. This is a book that could easily be required reading for every high school student in order to instill in them an understanding of where our society and the benefits of our society came from. The one great problem with this book is that the reader is left wanting even more. Thankfully, Dr. Mangalwadi has recently embarked on a series of books in a similar vein that will explore the subject in even greater detail.

Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book that Made Your World Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011. 442pp.

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