The announcement of Christianity Today's annual book awards calls attention to some important new contributions in Christian history. Two books on historical topics made the top 10, and two more followed close behind.Saint Augustine by Garry Wills (Viking) took top honors in the history/biography category. Challenging assumptions made by readers who feel they know Augustine based on his famous Confessions (which Wills argues should be translated The Testimony instead), this book explores what Augustine believed and what those beliefs meant to him and to the church at large. Wills, a professor at Northwestern University who won a Pulitzer for Lincoln at Gettysburg, describes Augustine as "a tireless seeker, never satisfied" yet also a man who knew his intellect could never fully penetrate the mysteries of God.The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition and Reform by Roger Olson (Intervarsity) won in the theology/ethics category, but its focus is thoroughly historical. Olson, a professor of theology at Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University, delivers on his promise to tell the story of theology. He introduces us to the main characters, the setting, and the plot of each theological controversy through the ages, then explains what difference it all makes. Best of all, nonspecialists can actually understand this stuff.Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President by Allen C. Guelzo (Eerdmans) earned the history/biography award of merit. A professor of history at Eastern College, Guelzo endeavors to place Lincoln in his historical context—a time of competing ideas about economics, religion, politics, civil rights, and the very identity of the United States. Guelzo finds his approach unique and necessary, as ...1
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