Review of Jackson Wu’s Saving God’s Face by Daniel Eng

Review of Jackson Wu’s: Saving God’s Face: A Chinese Contextualization of Salvation through Honor and Shame by Daniel Eng In Jackson Wu’s dissertation on theology with a Chinese framework, the author takes his understanding of honor-shame and applies it the gospel. He de-constructs the theology that has been heavily influenced by western thinking and guides the reader to understand the concepts of salvation from an East Asian perspective. Wu defines “honor” as the value placed upon people within their social context, and it can be ascribed by others or can be achieved (437, 438). As hard work and self-improvement are generally lauded in Asian culture, one’s honor is placed in one’s own achievements and reputation. The author then defines “shame” as ill repute on a person for failure to meet a standard issued by the community. Within the context of morality, right and wrong are discussed in terms of what is honorable or shameful among Chinese people (445). Wu points out that the Chinese concept of honor is similar to the understanding of biblical writers in discussing the gospel. While western constructions of the gospel are centered around law and judgment (545), the East Asian viewpoint shifts the focus onto the group. In reflecting on my own journey, I see how the communication of honor-shame has been more compelling to me than guilt. I suspect that many Asian Americans would, as I do, relate more to the older brother than the younger brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Both sons’ interactions with the Father brought shame upon the community. The older brother’s words focused on the guilty...