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The 2013 Book Awards

Judges whittled 455 submissions from 68 publishers down to 10 winners and 9 notables.
The 2013 Book Awards
The 2013 Book Awards

The late Christian philosopher Arthur Holmes proclaimed confidently that "all truth is God's truth." Holmes's epigram came to mind as I was tallying up our judges' rankings, encountering one surprise after another. Would Christianity Today really bestow top honors on a Roman Catholic New York Times columnist? On a Roman Catholic Ivy League professor? Or on a satirical novel lampooning contemporary evangelical culture?

Well, why not? If God is indeed the Author of all truth, we needn't be too choosy about those earthly authors whose truth-telling we recognize. Yes, most of this year's honorees (take a bow, Tim Keller!) fit more or less comfortably in an evangelical milieu. (Fearless prediction: Richard Dawkins will never win a CT book award.) Still, it's nice to remember that, whatever the source, truth (to say nothing of goodness and beauty) is always a cause for rejoicing.

Now the envelopes, please. From an initial crop of 455 titles submitted by 68 publishers, we've selected 10 winners, and 9 notables, that offer insights into the people, events, and ideas that shape evangelical life, thought, and mission. Here they are, along with comments from the judges. —Matt Reynolds, CT associate editor

Apologetics / Evangelism

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism
Alvin Plantinga (Oxford University Press)
"This book offers topnotch scholarship to pit against the very best arguments of contemporary atheism, as well as to clarify what truly is at stake in the battles orthodoxy faces in science, biblical studies, philosophy, and more. A tour de force by one of our era's great philosophers—and we can be glad, again, that he is on our side!"

Interview: Alvin Plantinga on Conflict Resolution with Science | The philosophy professor seeks to disentangle sound science from naturalistic dogma.

Books & Culture: Alvin Plantinga reviews Sam Harris's Free Will

Award of Merit

Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts
Craig S. Keener (Baker Academic)

Interview: It's Okay to Expect a Miracle | Scholar Craig Keener rediscovers the reality of divine intervention.

Books & Culture: Objects of Wonder | How credible are accounts of miracles?

Biblical Studies

A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New
G. K. Beale (Baker Academic)
"This is Beale's 'great work,' and will mark his career for many decades to come. He's been working on it for 25 years, and it shows. It is dense, exhaustive, and provides a compelling theological framework for understanding Scripture (Creation, Judgment, New Creation), helping us see what the New Testament is doing with the major Old Testament themes. … I can see many of us referring to it for decades."

Award of Merit

The Gospel of John: A Commentary
Frederick Dale Bruner (Eerdmans)

Christianity And Culture

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics
Ross Douthat (Free Press)
"A searching and illuminating reading of our times that is probing in judgment while sympathetic in mood. It makes sense of the history we have lived in a way that inspires renewed—and im-proved—movement forward."

Interview: Ross Douthat on Rooting Out Bad Religion | Why the New York Times columnist wants to see America return to its confessional roots.

Books & Culture: Bad Religion | A flawed diagnosis

Christian Living

Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good
Amy L. Sherman (InterVarsity)
"This practical, lively, theologically grounded book provides guidance for congregations trying to bring their faith to bear upon a needy world. It's also a compelling invitation to look beyond individual moral and spiritual concerns to the ways faith is always and necessarily about the community. Sherman's many well-told examples of Christians who have taken inventive initiatives to bring their vocational skills together with others' needs are helpful in their specificity."

Interview: Calling All Callings: Amy Sherman on 'Kingdom Calling' | Christians can build thriving communities by exercising their vocational gifts.

Award of Merit

A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life
Jerry Sittser (Zondervan)

The Church / Pastoral Leadership

Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City
Timothy Keller (Zondervan)
"It would be hard to find a pastor who thinks more deeply—and more theologically—about his work than Keller. Center Church represents not just a case study for the growth and development of Re-deemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, but also a theological blueprint for doing ministry in the 21st century. Words like thorough, comprehensive, and even magisterial come to mind to de-scribe it."

Leadership Journal: Balancing Acts | Tim Keller and Andy Stanley explain what it takes to get ministry right.

Award of Merit

The Juvenilization of American Christianity
Thomas E. Bergler (Eerdmans)

Cover Story: When Are We Going to Grow Up? The Juvenilization of American Christianity | We're all adolescents now.

Fiction

Evangellyfish: A Novel
Douglas Wilson (Canon Press)
"An insightful satire on contemporary Christian culture that moves seamlessly from laugh-out-loud funny to startlingly poignant. Wilson's critique of the church is sharp, humorous, and uncomfortably accurate, but he doesn't leave it at that. With honesty and heart, he portrays the difficulty of forgiveness and what it means to live in community. I loved this book!"

Award of Merit

Man in the Blue Moon
Michael Morris (Tyndale)

History / Biography

Summoned from the Margin: Homecoming of an African
Lamin Sanneh (Eerdmans)
"Sanneh, one of the most original Christian thinkers of our time, recounts how he made his way as a poor boy from a remote, colonial West African town to become a distinguished professor in one of the world's greatest universities. At once a personal memoir, a conversion and pilgrimage story, and an intellectual excursion, the book shows how Sanneh's lineage and life encounters have shaped his remarkable body of scholarship. With sharp insight, Sanneh … reveals some of the trials he has endured at the hands of prejudiced and unwelcoming colleagues and congregants. But even when doing so, he stays gentle, speaking the truth in love."

Review: Home Away from Home | Lamin Sanneh has journeyed from Africa to the West, and from Islam to Christianity.

Award of Merit

Godly Ambition: John Stott and the Evangelical Movement
Alister Chapman (Oxford University Press)

Review: John Stott: A Uniter and a Divider | A new biography portrays both the evangelist's triumphs and his frustrations.

Missions / Global Affairs

Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation
Daniel Philpott (Oxford University Press)
"Philpott's authoritative study of the ethics of political reconciliation offers new hope for solving one of humanity's most intractable problems: bringing justice in the aftermath of human con-flicts. Philpott focuses on restoring right relationships—going well beyond conceptions of human rights that do not redress wounds of injustice. He appeals to Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions for resources on restorative justice."

Award of Merit

Soul, Self, and Society: A Postmodern Anthropology for Mission in a Postcolonial World
Michael Rynkiewich (Cascade Books)

Spirituality

Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
Lauren F. Winner (HarperOne)
"Despite deep pain and doubt, Winner relentlessly searches God's mysteries, seeking peace and authenticity in her faith. Her spiritual memoir is unblinking, credible, and compelling."

Review: Girl Meets Grace: Lauren Winner's New Reflection on Her Divorce and Desolation| God's faithfulness sustained Winner when her faithfulness to God faltered.

Award of Merit

The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness
Kevin DeYoung (Crossway)

Five-part forum: The Hole In Our Holiness (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Theology / Ethics

The Theology of Jonathan Edwards
Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott (Oxford University Press)
"This truly impressive volume combines two virtues that rarely coexist. It is accessibly deep. Many books cover their subject matter in an accessible manner, and many others plumb the depths of their subject matter. [This] successfully does both. Organized clearly and written well, I can imagine no better introduction and in-depth analysis of this incredibly important figure."

Award of Merit

God Is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology
Gerald Bray (Crossway)

December
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