Christianity Today's editors have already compiled their list of the top ten news stories of 2008. Only a few of them have theological overtones, so I decided to take a stab at the top ten theology stories from the past year. My criteria, borrowed from the news list, are admittedly subjective. What theological events, books, and debates shaped evangelical life, thought, or mission in 2008? You might recognize a few of the stories from previous Theology in the News coverage.
1. Publishers make 2008 the "Year of the Study Bible."
Zondervan issued a special study Bible to mark the 30th anniversary of the NIV translation. Then Tyndale, which has published a life application Bible for more than 10 years, followed with its first study Bible. Finally Crossway announced that it had sold 100,000 copies of its massive new ESV Study Bible before it even hit shelves in October. Perhaps publishers have noticed evangelicals' need for improved biblical literacy.
Aided by an enthusiastic endorsement from Eugene Peterson, the buzz about William Young's bestselling novel began with its 2007 publication. Then concerned pastors and theologians began reading it, raising loud voices of opposition in 2008. Young re-envisioned the Trinity with God the Father as a black woman and the Spirit as an Asian woman. Readers who connected with Young's story of pain mostly ignored theologians' concerns that Young had dabbled in the ancient heresy of modalism.
The success of California's Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, surprised even many social conservatives. Their opponents responded by denouncing or dismissing the biblical case for traditional marriage. ...1