On Tuesday, November 5, InterVarsity Press will be launching its first book by a United States independent presidential candidate. Mark Charles, and coauthor, Soong-Chan Rah, will be releasing Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery.
A recent Publishers Weekly starred review described the book this way: “This sobering critique presents a disturbing yet welcome analysis of how the Doctrine of Discovery has split American church and society along racial lines, and makes a powerful argument for engaging in national dialogue around issues of class, gender, and race.”
With a prophetic blend of history, theology, and cultural commentary, Charles and Rah reveal the damaging effects of the Doctrine of Discovery and call the nation and churches to a truth-telling that will expose past injustices and open the door to conciliation and true community.
“I recall hearing Mark Charles speak at a Confessing Church consultation in Alexandria, Virginia, on the topic of the Doctrine of Discovery, several years before the publication of Unsettling Truths,” said Jeff Crosby, publisher for IVP. “I thought then, Mark’s message must be taken more widely than his speaking engagements will allow. I’m grateful for the InterVarsity Press team’s courageous commitment to publish this book about a topic that is not well understood, a topic we would do well to grapple with. If, as Mark and Soong-Chan write, the ‘unsettling of deeply entrenched beliefs’ leads to healing for a nation, then this book is one to be celebrated for not only its prophetic challenge but also its healing powers.”
Unsettling Truths and the ideas within it were in the works long before Charles decided to run for president. Together Charles and Rah put in nearly a decade of research, three years of writing, and another year of editing. Crosby said, “Unsettling Truths is an unsettling book because it challenges its readers to evaluate what we have long been taught and perhaps blindly accepted regarding American history and our country’s notion of its ‘exceptionalism’ and forces us to consider another viewpoint. It also helpfully and with precision probes questions regarding the intersection of Christian doctrine and a faithful pursuit of justice. While we may not agree with all of Mark’s and Soong-Chan’s interpretations and applications, we will benefit—as individuals, as communities, and as a nation—from giving the work careful, reflective attention.”
Charles, a man of Navajo and Dutch descent, is a speaker, writer, and consultant on the complexities of American history, race, culture, and faith. He and his family live in Washington, DC. Rah was born in Seoul, South Korea, and immigrated to the United States shortly after his sixth birthday. He currently serves as Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. Rah is the author of Prophetic Lament, The Next Evangelicalism, Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church, and others.
Charles and Rah wrote, “The coauthors of this book have been friends for many years. . . . Our connection stems from our mutual love for Jesus and our mutual passion for Justice, both of which have found expression in our mutual lament for the church. In our journey together, we have discovered the power of developing common experiences and a common memory, which moves us toward a common purpose.”
Al Hsu, senior editor at IVP, said, “Mark and Soong-Chan are an ideal team for this project, bringing together history and theology, pointing readers to original sources and grappling with contemporary issues. Together they help us reckon with how the past continues to have ongoing implications for our present. Their unflinching exposition of hard truths will be deeply unsettling to many, in ways that will open us to a more hopeful future.”
The November release of Unsettling Truths also coincides with Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native people and to acknowledge their important contributions.