CT 98 Book Awards
Once again we attempt the momentous task of discerning the year's best books. Here is how we did it. More than 200 books published in 1997 were nominated by publishers. Ballots were then sent to about 150 pastors, scholars, writers, and other church leaders, whose votes determined our "Top 25" list.
Billy Graham's long-awaited autobiography, Just As I Am, is a fitting choice for ct's Book of the Year. Graham emphasized the impact of books—and book reviews—in his vision statement for a new magazine that he presented to evangelical leaders in 1955. A year later, CHRISTIANITY TODAY was launched.
Indeed, anyone who wants to understand the history and current challenges of evangelicalism, its strengths and its weaknesses, would do well to work through the books listed here, beginning with Graham's account of more than 50 years of ministry.
Strengths? First, a continuing emphasis on evangelism and an unwavering commitment to the centrality of Jesus Christ. Second, a rich harvest of mature Christian scholarship in history (George Marsden, Joel Carpenter, and Mark Noll constitute quite a triumvirate) and New Testament studies. Third, a productive reckoning with evangelicalism's fundamentalist strain, evident both in Carpenter's Revive Us Again and in Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace?, a book that was prominently displayed—and bought—not only in Christian venues but in the secular superstores, reaching a new audience. Fourth, an ecumenism rooted in orthodoxy, variously attested by Donald Bloesch's work, the Ancient Christian Commentary Series, edited by Tom Oden (the first volume, on Mark, is just about to appear), the ongoing ECT conversation, ...1