Christianity Today is proud to announce the results of our annual book awards. This marks the second year of the contest, and like the inaugural year, the awards come in two varieties and seven categories. The Readers’-choice Awards were chosen by means of the ballot that appeared in our November 19, 1990, issue. The Critics’-choice Awards were chosen by a panel of judges for each category. The books were nominated by the publishers. For the Book of the Year Award, readers wrote in their selection on the Readers’-choice ballot.

We congratulate the authors, editors, and publishers whose fine work the awards recognize.

Book of the Year

Dictionary of Christianity in America, edited by Daniel G. Reid, Robert D. Linder, Bruce L. Shelley, and Harry S. Stout (InterVarsity)

Biography and History

Comeback, by Dave Dravecky with Tim Stafford (Zondervan)

Christian Living and Spirituality

The Grace Awakening, by Charles R. Swindoll (Word)


The Spirit, the Church and the World: The Message of Acts, by John Stott (InterVarsity)

Contemporary Issues

The Agony of Deceit, edited by Michael Horton (Moody) (tie)

The Frog in a Kettle, by George Barna (Regal) (tie)

The God of Stones and Spiders, by Charles Colson (Crossway) (tie)


A Symphony in Sand, by Calvin Miller (Word)


Dictionary of Christianity in America, edited by Daniel G. Reid, Robert D. Linder, Bruce L. Shelley, and Harry S. Stout (InterVarsity)

Theology and Biblical Studies

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, 3d ed., by Ronald J. Sider (Word)


Book of the Year:The Agony of Deceit, edited by Michael Horton (Moody)

Biography and History:D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith, 1939–1981, vol. 2, by Iain H. Murray (Banner of Truth)

Christian Living and Spirituality:A Quest for Godliness, by J. I. Packer (Crossway)

Commentaries:The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 2, edited by Frank E. Gaebelein (Zondervan)

Contemporary Issues:Children at Risk, by James Dobson and Gary L. Bauer (Word)

Fiction:Munich Signature, by Bodie Thoene (Bethany House)

Reference:The NIV Exhaustive Concordance, by Edward W. Goodrick and John R. Kohlenberger III (Zondervan)

Theology and Biblical Studies:After Modernity … What? by Thomas C. Oden (Zondervan) (tie); Gospel in a Pluralist Society, by Lesslie Newbigin (Eerdmans) (tie)

Biography and HistoryThe Democratization of American Christianity, by Nathan 0. Hatch (Yale)

Christian Living and SpiritualityIn Search of Happiness, by James Houston (Lion) (tie)

A Quest for Godliness, by J. I. Packer (Crossway) (tie)

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The First Epistle of Peter, by Peter H. Davids (Eerdmans)

Contemporary Issues

Gender and Grace, by Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (InterVarsity)


The Breaking of Ezra Riley, by John L. Moore (Lion)


Dictionary of Christianity in America, edited by Daniel G. Reid, Robert D. Linder, Bruce L. Shelley, and Harry S. Stout (InterVarsity)

Theology and Biblical StudiesAfter Modernity … What? by Thomas C. Oden (Zondervan)


Biography and History:The Memoirs of Charles G. Finney, edited by Garth M. Rosell and Richard A. G. Dupuis (Zondervan) (tie); The Struggle for America’s Soul, by Robert Wuthnow (Eerdmans) (tie)

Christian Living and Spirituality:Finding Happiness in the Most Unlikely Places, by Donald W. McCullough (InterVarsity) (tie); Making Choices, by Peter Kreeft (Servant) (tie)

Commentaries:The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, by O. Palmer Robertson (Eerdmans)

Contemporary Issues:How Does America Hear the Gospel? by William A. Dyrness (Eerdmans)

Fiction:Clare, by Kent Gramm (Harold Shaw)

Reference:Harper’s Encyclopedia of Religious Education, edited by Iris V. Cully and Kendig Brubaker Cully (Harper & Row)

Theology and Biblical Studies:Theology in the Age of Scientific Reasoning, by Nancey Murphy (Cornell University Press

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by Wayne Grudem and John Piper (Crossway, 566 pp.; $19.95, paper). Reviewed by Susan Foh, author of Women and the Word of God.

Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is significant to the evangelical community because it is written by a large number of evangelical scholars who share a common view (expressed in the 1989 antifeminist Danvers Statement) and because it covers a broad range of related subjects.

In addition to the expected exegesis and application of the pertinent passages, there are chapters on the meaning of authority in the local church, psychological studies on the formation of gender identity, neurological differences between men and women, and the legal ramifications of making sexual distinctions in religious organizations. Vern Poythress’s chapter on the church as family, a buttressing argument for male leadership in the church, paints an appealing picture of the intimacy and caring that should exist in the church.

The main purpose of the book, as stated in the preface, is “to help Christians recover a noble vision of manhood and womanhood as God created them to be.” The premise behind this goal is not new (men and women are different in being, not just in role), with one update (men and women are considered equal in being): “Men and women, as God created us, are different in hundreds of ways. Being created equally in the image of God means at least this: that when the so-called weakness and strength columns for manhood and for womanhood are added up, the value at the bottom is going to be the same for each. And when you take those two columns and lay them on top of each other, God intends them to be the perfect complement to each other.”

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Christlikeness In Pink And Blue

The authors prefer the term complementarian, rather than hierarchicalist, to describe their position, because “it suggests both equality and beneficial differences between men and women.”

Pastor and scholar John Piper begins by addressing single people (mainly) in order to convince them of their need to be involved in the issue of male-female relationships. His argument here is the reason he considers this issue fundamental to the Christian faith: “The question every man and woman should ask earnestly is this: ‘What does it mean to be a woman and not a man?’ (and vice versa). We are persuaded from Scripture that masculinity and femininity are rooted in who we are by nature.” In other words, we do not strive to be Christlike; rather, a man’s goal is to be a Christian man and a woman’s is to be a Christian woman.

Manhood and womanhood are defined as the following: “At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to a man’s different relationships. At the heart of mature femininity is a freeing disposition to affirm, receive, and nurture strength and leadership of worthy men in ways appropriate to a woman’s different relationships.” The fact that much of the scriptural backing for these ideas is located in the endnotes contributes to the chapter’s lack of persuasiveness.

Are these definitions or any definitions of manhood and womanhood found in Scripture? Is the emphasis of the biblical texts (such as Eph. 4:22–24; Gal. 5:22–23; Col. 3:9–15) on becoming Christlike in two different modes (blue and pink)? Where are the commands to develop different qualities based on our sex (different from having different roles)? If man and woman are essentially different in being (though equal), do they reflect God’s image equally, differently? Does it take both man and woman to reflect God’s image? If our sexuality colors our whole being and was intended to do so before the Fall, what happens to it after the Resurrection (Matt. 22:30)?

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There is a great difference between saying that men and women have different roles in marriage and in church and saying that a man does or should do all things as a man, and that a woman does or should do all things as a woman. Men and women may be different in nonanatomical ways, but the question is this: Are these differences (the man drives the car; the woman changes the diapers) goals God has commanded us to pursue?

Within this concept of manhood and womanhood is the idea of all women being in a subordinate (“supporting the leadership of”) position to all men. Piper qualifies it with the notion of “worthy” men (who is worthy?) and with the idea of appropriateness. Where is the idea of general submission of women to men found in the Bible? Submission of a wife to her husband and subordination of women in the church are there (even if one limits their application). Should we not confine ourselves to the areas that are explicit, rather than extrapolate from them to all-encompassing generalities? Not every contributor agrees with Piper’s position (exceptions include George Knight and perhaps Douglas Moo).

Another corollary of this complementarian view is a division of labor based on sex: the man wins bread (the provider), and the woman makes it (cares for children and the home). Gregg Johnson offers “support” for this division in his interpretation of neurological differences between men and women:

The bridge of nerve fibers or processes between the two hemispheres known as the corpus callosum was significantly larger and contained more nerve fibers in females.… A biological argument for the purpose of this ability of females to capture more stimuli would be that in the role of child rearing there is great advantage in being able to receive and process multiple stimuli in order to monitor multiple children and other social contacts.

Males, with their lateralized brains, tend to have thought processing more regionally isolated and discrete, with fewer interconnecting nerve interactions and perhaps more straightforward, quick reactions to important stimuli. This would be more conducive to the hunter, tracker, and builder.

Piper finds the division of labor implied in Genesis 3: “In appointing the curse for His rebellious creatures, God aims at the natural sphere of life peculiar to each. Evidently [emphasis added] God had in mind from the beginning that the husband would take special responsibility for sustaining the family through bread-winning labor, while the wife would take special responsibility for sustaining the family through childbearing and nurturing labor.”

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But Is It Biblical?

One of the most helpful chapters in terms of the debate is Wayne Grudem’s on kephalē (“head”). Though it could be viewed as overly meticulous to respond point by point to his critics, Grudem does effectively settle the issue by doing so. He shows that “there are still no unambiguous examples before or during the time of the New Testament in which kephalē has the metaphorical sense ‘source.’ ” His conclusion is that “head” in the New Testament texts concerning Christ as the head of the church and the husband as the head of his wife includes the idea of authority.

The debate regarding men and women will continue. The book may raise more questions than it answers. It is perhaps more consistent for this group to say that all women should encourage leadership in all (worthy) men and that the principle of female submission carries into all areas of life, rather than in just marriage and the church. It may seem more logical, if the previous is true, to see an intrinsic difference in the natures of men and women—this difference would enable men and women to carry out their complementary roles. It is magnanimous to emphasize that women are just as valuable as men, even if they are different.

However, the real question, which remains unanswered (in my mind, at least), is this: Does the Bible teach these ideas?

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