Christianity Today’s 2021 Book Awards

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Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.

Perhaps, in the decades to come, some enterprising religious historian will study how the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 affected Christian magazine journalism. Fair warning: You won’t find anything terribly eye-opening in CT’s books coverage.

As the editor chiefly responsible for that coverage, I remember feeling a tad sheepish at our morning check-in meetings during those first few locked-down weeks in March and April. Updates from colleagues throbbed with urgency. They were commissioning timely op-eds analyzing the virus in all its theological and sociopolitical complexity. They were chasing down stories about believers manning the medical front lines and churches transitioning to online services. Meanwhile, my own work carried on as though nothing had changed.

At the time, all sorts of writers and bloggers were cranking out COVID-19-inspired reading lists. Some aspired to hyperrelevance, touting books on the science of contagion or the history of pandemics past. Others encouraged making the most of the leisure time afforded by stay-at-home orders—why not seize the chance to finally crack open that dusty copy of Moby-Dick or War and Peace? It all made me nervous that I was shirking my journalistic duty by sticking with regularly scheduled programming.

In the end, though, I’m glad our book pages weren’t swept up in the coronavirus riptide. Of course, much of that is due to forces outside our control—namely the fact that, beyond a few expedited pamphlet-style offerings from luminaries like John Piper and N. T. Wright, pandemic-focused titles weren’t yet rolling off the presses. For good reason, most books are slow in the making.

But more importantly, I was determined to preserve a degree …

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