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2007 CT Book Awards3 min read

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Christianity today just announced it’s 2007 book award winners, and some will find a place on my amazon wishlist.

The books that look interesting to me are:

Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples

Churches should focus on the process, not programs, and the process
should be simple and easily grasped. The goal should be making
disciples, not just growth. Most churches have no clear definition of
discipleship and no functional process for making disciples. (CT)

Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

The title Simply Christian by N. T. Wright, Anglican bishop of Durham, immediately suggests C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity or John R. W. Stott’s Basic Christianity. Like both books, it is a summary of both mere and basic Christianity, and a great book to put in the hands of young Christians and inquiring not-yet believers. But there the comparison ends. The scope of Simply Christian is broader than Stott’s, and its approach is less philosophical than Lewis’s. "My aim," the bishop writes, "has been to describe what Christianity is all about, both to commend it to those outside the faith and to explain it to those inside." The result is a freshly nuanced look at the entire scope of the Christian faith. (CT)

The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’ Essential Teachings on Discipleship

A lot of us are doing Christianity at a putt-putt level. We want to be forgiven without following Jesus.  We’re afraid to follow Jesus, because then we’d have to die and rise with him. We’d have to mortify our old self with its "fondest lusts," as Jonathan Edwards described them. Then we’d have to vivify Jesus’ excellent virtues in their place. The truth is, we’re mildly attracted to his virtues, but we’re strongly attracted to our vices. We wouldn’t like to lose them because they please us, and the prospect of a significant life with Jesus doesn’t so much. Do we expect a new Christian life will just happen without our having to make inconvenient changes in how we live Monday to Sunday? (CT)

Evil And the Justice of God

When the bishop of Durham, Christian scholar and excellent popular exegete, turns to that sturdy theological tough nut, the problem of evil, he fills old answers with fresh hope. That is fortunate, for the two most current answers to it are hollow. The ideology of progress–that there is only constant improvement toward perfection–was quashed by the Holocaust, and the postmodernist tenet most succinctly stated as "Shit happens" declares us powerless to fight evil. But God, Wright argues, has conclusively answered the problem of evil in his promises to the Jews in the Old Testament and to everyone through Christ’s death and resurrection. Wright’s biblical exegesis is brilliant enough to revive many a flagging spirit, and the advice on how to use faith in God’s promises to deal with evil in the real world is even more restorative. Live within the kingdom of God now, imaginatively but also really, by living in holiness, and practice forgiveness (e.g., in the nascent restorative justice movement). Familiar teaching made vital and compelling again. (Booklist)