Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The joy of translation; book review of The Kingdom That Turned The World Upside Down

Why do people translate? Why did William Tyndale translate the Bible? Why has Pilgrims Progress been translated into so many languages over the centuries? What motivates translators to translate? Money? Fame? For some, maybe, but I would say: passion and joy. Yes, it is passion and joy which drive people to do that.

The passion for truth is like magma, and the joy like an overflowing river. It kindles the heart of the reader to share the treasure which he/she found in the particular book, with others. So where there are passion and joy in the hearts of readers, there brings forth translators.

I was not a translator originally but the encounter with the books of Bro.David Bercot made me a translator. And so far I have done two of his books into Japanese as a volunteer with great passion and joy.

Today, I’d like to share with you why I translated The Kingdom That Turned The World Upside Down and what this book has done in my spiritual journey.

Ever since I started to tackle with the reconciliation issue with other East Asian friends, I have been searching and asking myself what it means to be Japanese. In high school, I started to feel troubled whenever we sang national anthem because of the content of the song. It reminded me of the bloody wars and the emperor worship which caused millions of people to destruction. So I stopped singing for my conscience sake.

After baptism in an evangelical church in Seoul, I started my Christian walk in Tokyo. But the struggle regarding my identity issue as Japanese continued. It seemed to me that both Korean evangelicalism and American evangelicalism were well linked with patriotism and nationalism. I read that the American Revolutionary War, for example, was greatly encouraged and supported by evangelical preachers. Although I love Bible-believing teachers such as Francis Schaffer etc, when it comes to American patriotism, I’ve got confused.

I said to myself, “well, it might be O.K. for American believers to be patriotic because after all, America is a Christian nation, isn’t it? But it cannot and should not be applied to our own context because if we dare to do the same, it will cause tremendous tensions and problems within the church and with other Asian countries again." 

For example, suppose one American believer decorates national flag in the yard of the church in USA. What do you think?What is your response? I assume most people don't think it is weird. Am I right? But if we do this in Japanese church, oh no, people will be scared and think something must be terribly wrong in this church. 

So the question kept ringing in my ear; if one biblical teaching can be applied to one nation and then cannot be applied to another, can we call it truth? Is biblical truth supposed to be universal and trans-national? Was Japanese patriotism destructive simply because Japan was a pagan nation? Is there any hope in me and in us?

With these questions in mind, I had visited various Christian groups, hoping to find one church which I could fit in. In the liberal-left circles, I did not hear patriotic messages but because I believe inerrancy and divine inspiration of the Bible, I could not fit in there. 

I also went to mukyo-kai meetings (indigenous evangelical churches in Japan founded by Kanzo Uchimura [1861-1930]) but the majority of its members there were over 70s and I found myself being out of place. I had been searching seriously, but I could not find my spiritual nest neither in evangelical-right nor liberal-left.

So you cannot imagine how I was thrilled when I first read The Kingdom That Turned The World Upside Down. After many years of searching and wandering, I finally found a guide who could straighten out my mental and spiritual strings. Nobody ever could explain to me so clearly as the author did regarding the relationship between the earthly nation and the Kingdom of God. It did make sense to me. 

And the great discovery was that the Kingdom teachings were applicable for everyone, even for a person who was born in a pagan nation like me! I was liberated! I was overjoyed to know that I have become a citizen of this eternal Kingdom and now I have universal brotherhood and sisterhood across the nations. How wonderful!

If you are a serious Bible-believing Christian and if have similar struggles and questions like I had, then, this book is for you. The author will guide you to a fascinating Kingdom historical tour where you find various believers who dared to live up to Jesus teachings literally and seriously. As the author says;

,,perhaps this book has struck a responsive chord in your heart. Perhaps you, too, are burning with excitement about the kingdom. Is the kingdom of God to you like the pearl of great price? Does the kingdom bring you such joy that you’re willing to let go of everything in order to obtain it? If so, please join me and other modern-day kingdom Christians. Let’s do our part in turning the world upside down! (p.268)

You can find this book in English here
in Chinese here in Spanish here in Portuguese here in Romanian here in French here