The 2018 FTC Book Awards

by Staff December 13, 2018

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2nd annual FTC Book Awards. A selection of judges from our council, editorial staff, and seminary contributors each recommended a 2018 title that impacted them personally and/or represents a significant contribution to the Church and her pursuit of a gospel-centered faith.

We begin with the top prize:

THE PRESIDENT'S AWARD

Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts (Viking)

Jason K. Allen, President of Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College, remarks:

"To know me is to know I love reading biography. At any given moment, I’m making my way through several biographies, and over the course of a year I typically work through several dozen. Thus, it’s little surprise that my book of the year is a biography of one of my personal heroes, who was also one of the greatest Englishmen of all time, Winston Churchill. In recent weeks I’ve buzz sawed through Andrew Roberts’ massive, 1,150 page, Churchill: Walking with Destiny. It has been well worth my time.

A great biography combines three essential ingredients: a gifted author who writes on a titanic individual who acted during consequential times. Roberts’ work more than satisfactorily checks all three boxes. Each page can be savored; every minute will be well-spent.

When it comes to Churchill biographies, William Manchester and Paul Reid’s three-volume The Last Lion remains the gold standard. However, Roberts  displaces Roy Jenkins, Martin Gilbert—and a host of other authors—as the premier single-volume work. Roberts manages to be both comprehensive and accessible; thorough but not pedantic.

The magic of Roberts’ work is how he frames Churchill’s life against the backdrop of Victorian England, the British Empire, and the grandest stage of all, World War II. You not only learn of Churchill but also his times. Such context gives the narrative texture and serves as refresher course on Western Civilization.

For me, to read a biography is to both engage in an adventure and enjoy an escape. Good biography teleports us to a different time and place, all the while entertaining, instructing, and inspiring the reader. Roberts does all of this well, and even—if like me—you’re well-versed on Churchill, you’ll no doubt enjoy taking up the great man once more."

OTHER WINNERS

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth edited by Catherine McIlwaine (Bodleian Library, University of Oxford)

Jason G. Duesing, Provost of Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College and FTC Editorial Council member:

"The one C. S. Lewis called a 'smooth, pale, fluent little chap,' J. R. R Tolkien (1892-1973), was the feature this year of a major exhibit at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University and this remarkable book preserves the exhibit’s essence for those not able to see it in person (though it is coming to New York in early 2019). Of interest especially is how the book focuses on Tolkien the author and not merely the world he created -- for Tolkien’s life continues to inspire. For example, it is encouraging to note that The Hobbit was not published until Tolkien was 45 years old, and The Lord of the Rings when he was 62 and 63. So whatever one’s age, readers and writers should let Tolkien continue to inspire, for writing and reading great works for the glory of God is a lifelong and noble pursuit."

40 Questions About Salvation by Matthew Barrett (Kregel)

Samuel Bierig, Dean of Spurgeon College:

“In 40 Questions About Salvation, Barrett accomplishes the aim of every writer: he exhausts his subject matter without exhausting his reader. I think this little volume will take its place on the shelves of pastors, churchmen, theologians, and professors as the new go-to introductory resource on the doctrine of salvation. I recommend it to anyone looking for a primer on soteriology."

Eschatological Discipleship: Leading Christians to Understand Their Historical and Cultural Context by Trevin Wax (B&H Academic)

John Mark Yeats, Dean of Students at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College, FTC Editorial Council member:

"Wax’s carefully working through the biblical narrative forces readers to reckon with discipleship that extends beyond programs or church-related events to full-throated missionary engagement with the culture in which we find ourselves. This long-needed corrective should be on every church staff’s reading list as we seek to follow Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations."

The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home by Russell Moore (B&H)

Charles Smith, Vice President for Institutional Relations at Midwestern Seminary, FTC Editorial Council member:

"Moore’s ability to help us understand the nature, significance, and beauty of family-even the storm-tossed ones-is unapparelled. Buy this book and be blessed."

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp (Crossway)

Dave Wright, Director of Communications at Midwestern Seminary:

"My wife and I are right in the middle of some of the most formative years of raising our four boys. I need a constant reminder of how parenting should happen out of an overflow of the gospel and not by the pursuit of merely raising good, well-behaved kids. Tripp provides that reminder with several central principles that help keep us on track of honoring the Lord and stewarding the gifts of our children well."

Apologetics at the Cross: An Introduction for Christian Witness by Joshua Chatraw and Mark Allen (Zondervan)

Jared C. Wilson, Director of Content Strategy at Midwestern Seminary and FTC Managing Editor:

"I was struck by how comprehensive and yet accessible this new reference work on apologetics proves to be. This book is a masterful synthesis of where the church and world have been in worldview and mission and a reliable map for evangelistically navigating our secular age. Not your average reference book; sure to be a trusted and well-consulted resource for years to come."

That God May Be All in All: A Paterology Demonstrating That the Father is the Initiator of All Divine Activity by Ryan Rippee (Pickwick)

Owen Strachan, Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Midwestern Seminary and Director of The Center for Public Theology:

"The most solitary of theological monographs: a paterology, or 'doctrine of the Father.' Evangelical theological interest is so presently Christ-focused that the Father is all but forgotten. We know that the Father rejoiced to see Christ take his place as the alpha and omega, and yet this lovely biblical truth does not (and must not) mean that the Father recedes from view. If we are to understand God, and if we are to have a robust Trinitarianism, we must know and study and worship the Father. Rippee's text is not for the faint of heart; it is a serious study, and yet it will richly repay all investment."

Justification (2 Volumes) by Michael Horton (Zondervan)

Matthew Barrett, Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Midwestern Seminary and Executive Editor of Credo Magazine:

"In every century since the Reformation the doctrine of justification has come under fire. But in our century the threats have become legion, creating theological confusion and biblical ambiguity. For that reason, Michael Horton’s two volumes are a Godsend. Not only does he retrieve the historical pedigree of justification but with exegetical rigor and theological precision, Horton reminds evangelicals why this doctrine still remains the hinge on which the Christian faith turns, as Calvin once said. Justification is the doctrine on which the church stands or falls and Horton’s magnanimous work will help the church stand yet another day. Scholar or pastor, student or churchgoer, here is a work on justification that is as comprehensive as it is faithful to the Scriptures."

Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was and Who God Has Always Been by Jackie Hill Perry (B&H)

Allyson Todd, FTC Editorial Assistant:

"It is a rare treasure to find a non-fiction book that reads like poetry, but Jackie Hill Perry’s book does just that. She weaves strong theological insight with heartfelt personal experience in a way that helps Christians struggling with same-sex attraction find hope in Jesus, and Christians who don’t share in this struggle better love their brothers and sisters. This book is a gift to the church and is a beneficial read for all."

Lewis on the Christian Life: Becoming Truly Human in the Presence of God by Joe Rigney (Crossway)

Mike Brooks, FTC Editorial Assistant:

"Corralling the thoughts of C.S. Lewis on a given topic is no easy task; publishing an analysis of those thoughts for the benefit of others is more difficult still. In Lewis on the Christian Life, Joe Rigney does both things well, offering a charitable assessment of Lewis’ thought, while not overlooking the beloved theologian’s perceived weaknesses and blind spots. Lewis was known for cutting to the quick of the human heart and condition; Rigney follows suit in his assessment, helping readers to clearly perceive and navigate that blessed tension between one’s own desires and a life lived fully, joyfully unto God."