Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.
Could any Bible verse double as a mission statement for CT’s books section? Perhaps Philippians 4:8, which calls us to dwell on whatever is “true,” “noble,” “right,” “pure,” “lovely,” and “admirable.” Or Romans 12:2, with its admonition to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Or any number of passages from Proverbs that sing the glories of wisdom.
I suspect, however, that Matthew 19:14—“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”—would not garner many votes.
As CT’s books editor, I confess that children’s books are mostly an afterthought. Sometimes they arrive in the mail, but I instinctively toss them aside. Not that this comes as any great surprise. Magazines like CT cater to grownups. You’re not here for hard-hitting reviews of Goodnight Moon or The Cat in the Hat.
But of course our readers wear many hats, “mother” and “father” prominent among them. As a token of appreciation for parents, we decided to debut a new category this year, Children and Youth, encompassing everyone from little tykes to teens.
With that, let’s get to the awards. As always, we hope you’ll discover a shelfful of delights—for children of all ages. —Matt Reynolds, associate editor, books
The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between
Gregory Koukl (Zondervan)
“The Story of Reality is a fresh combination of apologetics and evangelism in a very readable format. It meets one of the greatest needs of a predominantly secular ...
For Black Christians, sexual harassment and assault are as much of a gospel issue as abortion.
The Alabama Senate election was many things to many people, but one of them impacts evangelicals directly. You see, yesterday’s election was a monumental moment for evangelicalism.
Yesterday, evangelicalism found itself at a cultural crossroads. A Roy Moore victory would support the narrative that, when it comes to politics, many evangelicals have all but thrown morality out the door for the sake of values voting (the irony).
Exit poll numbers, on the surface, seem troubling. When asked if they considered themselves a born-again or evangelical Christian, 80% of Moore’s supporters answered affirmatively. Evangelicalism—at least those who self-identify as evangelicals—was in line for another reckoning.
Instead, Black voters, many of whom don’t self-identify as evangelicals (though are deeply committed to Christ), stepped in to save the day. Overall, exit polls showed that 96% of Alabama’s Black voters voted for Doug Jones.
And Black women led the charge.
In fact, it might be safe to say that #BlackWomen saved evangelicalism, with 98% of Black women voters in the state voting for Jones (93% of Black men voted for Jones).
Today, at the very least we can admit: Black Votes Matter.
The complacency of Black voters in off-year elections since Barack Obama’s time on Pennsylvania Avenue has been well documented. Over the past eight years, Black voter turnout for off-year elections has been paltry. This election was different. This election meant something. It was an opportunity for Blacks to do what they did best—recalibrating our nation in the voting booth. But that wasn’t always the case.
A little over 50 years ago, I wouldn’t be writing this article. Blacks would ...
Young leaders measure success differently.
“We are looking for 50 church planters who we can help to plant 50 new churches in and around the city of Atlanta.”
These are the aspirations of 36-year-old James Griffin, lead pastor of CrossPoint City Church, who—along with Jason Gerdes of Revolution Church—are providing leadership for a network of new churches north of Atlanta in one of the nation’s fast-growing regions. Gerdes, also in his 30s, adds, “We are excited about what God is doing in our local churches, but our vision extends far beyond our leadership to equip other leaders.”
James Griffin and Jason Gerdes are “hero makers”—their vision goes beyond creating a crowd to multiplying a movement.
I see their motivation coming directly from Jesus. He is the sole hero of our faith, dying so that each of us could be reconciled to God.
But he did not stop there.
He didn’t need any help, yet he spent the majority of his earthly ministry not ministering himself, but training others how to minister—and ultimately instructing them to go and make other disciple-makers (Matt. 28:19-20). Indeed, the longest book in the New Testament—the book of Acts—is a history of how church planters were trained, sent, and multiplied across the known world.
This vision for multiplying new churches by equipping and sending others is typical of the new breed of emerging young leaders. Leadership Network will be releasing some groundbreaking research (see leadnet.org/portable) in January 2018 by Dr. Warren Bird that shows a seismic shift in the vision and practices of young church leaders like James and Jason that is distinct from the previous generations.
As a Leadership Network board member they gave me permission ...