If you're a faithful reader of Christianity Today (and if so, thank you!), you'll have noticed that our magazine looks a little different from the version that arrived in your mailbox this time last year. So it's fitting that our annual book awards have some new features of their own—three, in particular.
First, beyond naming winners in our ten regular categories, we've christened from among those winners our CT Book of the Year: God's Forever Family, Larry Eskridge's history of the Jesus People movement. Now, this is no exact science. And really, we wouldn't have gone wrong laying the extra laurel atop any of the competitors, or a dozen other books besides. You may have your own favorite to recommend. But we can't see any harm in generating buzz—or provoking debate—around a book our judges praised for its originality, meticulous research, and colorful character sketches.
Second, speaking of those judges, we've lifted the veil of anonymity from their comments on the winning books. Our judges—best-selling authors, experts in their fields, and simply thoughtful people—have strained their eyes and brains reading and evaluating a thousand or more pages. They deserve to have their labors recognized. And you deserve to have your curiosity satiated.
And third, we've introduced a new awards category targeted at readers of Her.meneutics, CT's popular women's blog. Just what qualifies as a "women's" book, you might ask. Don't women care about apologetics, theology, and history? Good questions. Certainly, the boundaries are harder to specify than, say, biblical studies. (And it's worth noting that we've encouraged publishers to nominate Her.meneutics entrants in the other "gender-neutral" categories—and vice versa.) There's no precise formula, to be sure, but the talented writers and editors behind Her.meneutics do a fantastic job hitting that "women's interest" sweet spot. We want to honor their work.
Whatever you think of our new-look magazine or its new-look book awards, keep in mind that change at CT unfolds against the background of a core mission that doesn't. Our promise to you, faithful reader, is to never stop loving God and the books that glorify his name. —Matt Reynolds, associate editor for books
Book of the Year
God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America
Larry Eskridge (Oxford University Press)
Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense
Francis Spufford (HarperOne)
"Spufford writes fluently and attractively for non-Christians. Most evangelicals will disagree with some views he holds, but this book is ideal to start a conversation with your skeptical friend or jaded family member." —John Stackhouse, theologian, Regent College
Award of Merit
The End of Apologetics: Christian Witness in a Postmodern Context
Myron Bradley Penner (Baker Academic)
"This well-researched, lucidly written, irenic work demonstrates that postmodernism, far from being a gateway to relativism, atheism, and the death of the church, offers resources for furthering the gospel and strengthening discipleship. All reason-based apologists need to wrestle with it." —Louis Markos, professor of English, Houston Baptist University
Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study
Constantine R. Campbell (Zondervan)