As in the rest of the book, Ecclesiastes’ “creating books” passage has a world-weary tone. And, yes, there is some truth to be found here. It’s worth asking yourself why so many individuals throughout so many times and civilizations put so much of themselves into producing works that will be mostly forgotten.
Even yet, you won’t see Christianity Today saying, “Vanity of vanities” about the entire book-making process. Remember that God, like Ecclesiastes’ author, communicates with us via a book. There are times when nothing less will suffice to convey the whole picture of the world.
Consequently, the majority of CT’s January/February issue will be taken up with extracts from many of this year’s finalist novels as well as our annual Book Awards (which feature a new category: Marriage and Family) (and a number of the winners). They, taken as a whole, exemplify some of the year’s best Christian thought, in our opinion. Look at the links at the bottom of each category to find these snippets.
Don’t let anybody dismiss the efforts of this year’s recipients as chasing after the wind. — Mathew Reynolds, the publisher’s editor of books
Urban Apologetics: Restoring Black Dignity with the Gospel
Edited by Eric Mason
There is much more to the articles in Urban Apologetics than just dispelling the idea that Christianity is a “white man’s religion.” They have a fascinating combination of biblical truth and cultural sensitivity. One of the writers invokes topics like Black dignity and Black awareness while also highlighting Scripture’s sufficiency and God’s activity. They are serious about their faith and their identities. They aren’t deaf to the truth, but they’re also not blind to prejudice. The shallowness of the false choice between biblical fidelity and ethnic identity is cleverly shown in all of this. While it’s not unexpected that defending one’s religion can coexist with defending one’s culture and identity, given today’s social atmosphere, it’s a welcome development. Professor Christopher Watkin of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, is the author of this article
In Quest of the Historical Adam: A Biblical and Scientific Exploration
William Lane Craig | Eerdmans
This is a groundbreaking endeavor at the interface of religion and science that has never been attempted before. Craig’s work is a breath of fresh air for those who question if modern science, particularly evolutionary science, is consistent with the Christian faith. By way of example, Craig explores whether or not the evolutionary theory of shared ancestry is consistent with the historical Adam and Eve. According to him, evidence points to the existence of a historical first human couple, but also suggests that Homo heidelbergensis should be used to date the earliest known humans, anywhere between 750,000 and a million years in the past. I don’t always agree with Craig’s decisions. Many members of the Christian community are likely to disagree with this statement. However, his objective is not a revisionist one. Instead, he seeks to travel the road of reason in quest of truth with intellectual humility, bravery, and discipline. — Philosophical philosopher Paul Gould, a Palm Beach Atlantic University adjunct professor.
A Theology of Paul and His Letters: The Gift of the New Realm in Christ
Douglas Moo | Zondervan
Many of us have read Moo’s several New Testament commentaries and are acquainted with his analytical style. We see Moo in synthesis mode here, as he summarizes Paul’s theology throughout his letters. Biblical theology at its finest, as this Pauline scholar shows the fulfillment of Old Testament promises in Christ while looking forward to their final fulfillment. New Perspective on Paul was one of my favorite topics to read about in this book since it was presented in an up-to-date and impartial manner. — Sydney Missionary & Bible College guest speaker Peter Lau
Covenant: The Framework of God’s Grand Plan of Redemption
Daniel I. Block | Baker Academic
Developed biblical theology by an accomplished scholar is presented in this book. Throughout this book, Block demonstrates the depth and breadth of his expertise and experience as he takes readers on a journey around the cosmos to discover God’s ultimate redemptive plan. Even though Block is essentially an Old Testament scholar, he investigates how the Old Testament notion of covenant had enormous effects on the New Testament. As a textbook on biblical theology, Covenant should remain a popular choice for students and experts alike. — Beth Stovell, Ambrose University professor of Old Testament
Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer: A True Story of How You Can Talk with God
Laura Wifler | The Good Book Company
This book does an excellent job of reminding children and adults alike how easy it is to communicate with God via prayer, and it does it in a way that adults tend to overcomplicate things. Her joyous prayer life demonstrates the pleasure of prayer in the life of a believer and shows God’s willingness to hear from his children. An excellent resource for children and adults alike, Growing in Prayer is theologically solid and wonderfully illustrated. — Author, Bible teacher, and Tiny Theologians founder Amy Gannett
Whistlestop Tales: Around the World in 10 Bible Stories
Krish and Miriam Kandiah | Hodder & Stoughton
The Kandiahs put some well-known and some lesser-known Bible tales in their proper historical and cultural context, illuminating both the modern world and the ancient world in which they are situated. At least four different nationalities are represented in these stories, including an Iranian empress and two Sudanese senators as well as an Italian soldier. This is something that is frequently ignored in Bible stories for kids. Each tale is presented with a sense of levity and friendliness. As for Andy Gray’s action-packed pictures, they will have youngsters turning the pages to find out what happens next. —Meadow Author Rue Merrill, whose books include Redeeming Ruth and Lantern Hill Farm
Living Radical Discipleship: Inspired by John Stott
Edited by Laura Meitzner Yoder | Langham Global Library
In the history of theology, John Stott was one of the most revered thinkers. Editor Laura Meitzner Yoder has collected essays from contributors to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of Stott, who shared how his radical convictions on issues such as environmental protection, social responsibility, and global church leadership influenced their thinking and ministry practices.. Some of the articles in this anthology are more pertinent than others, as is common with many of them. Nevertheless, Living Radical Discipleship reminds readers of the gospel’s intention to alter their lives in order to subsequently impact the world around them as well. — Married in the Middle by Dorothy Littell Greco, Making Marriage Beautiful by Dorothy Littell Greco