Christianity Today has released the winners of its 2020 Book Awards, and InterVarsity Press is pleased to announce that it received top honors in four categories and Awards of Merit in three others. These titles are among the thirty-two that Christianity Today has chosen as books that are “most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.”
The 2020 Book of the Year in the Culture and the Arts category was IVP’s Write Better: A Lifelong Editor on Craft, Art, and Spirituality by Andrew T. Le Peau. Jason Morehead, pop culture blogger at Opus, said, “In Write Better, longtime editor Andrew Le Peau offers concise, thoughtful advice on a number of writerly topics: struggling with creativity and writer’s block, crafting sentences that captivate and reward readers, publishing, and even copyright and legal issues. Above all, Le Peau encourages writers by reminding them of the gift that God has given to them. Writing can be an insular, introverted activity, but Le Peau does well to remind us that writing should ultimately be a blessing to others.”
The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction by Justin Whitmel Earley tied for the top honor in the Christian Living/Discipleship category. Earley offers four daily and four weekly habits designed to help create new routines and transform frazzled days into lives of love for God and neighbor. He provides concrete, doable practices, such as a daily hour of phone-less presence or a weekly conversation with a friend. “This book is an excellent blend of theological, personal, and practical insight. It describes problems unique to our time in a way that’s easily relatable, in part because Earley makes good use of personal anecdotes rather than merely citing sociological data,” said Matthew McCullough, pastor of Trinity Church in Nashville.
The winner in the Missions/Global Church category was IVP’s Women in God’s Mission: Accepting the Invitation to Serve and Lead. Mission researcher Mary T. Lederleitner interviewed and surveyed ninety-five respected women in mission leadership from thirty countries to gather their insights, expertise, and best practices. She unveils how women serve in distinctive ways and identifies key traits of faithful, connected leaders.
Daniel Yang, director of the Send Institute at Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center, said, “Equal parts prophetic and pastoral, this book puts Lederleitner’s heart as a scholar-practitioner on brilliant display, showcasing her unique blend of gifts in research, missions practice, and engagement across theological traditions. Women should read it to be reminded of their non-negotiable role in Great Commission fulfillment. Men should read it to gain a better understanding of their responsibility to help remove obstructions that many women face in missions organizations. Ultimately, the stories and research presented here remind us that God’s mission in the world depends on both men and women responding to the church’s missionary mandate. Neither should ever feel sidelined.”
The 2020 Book Award in the Politics and Public Life category went to In Search of the Common Good: Christian Fidelity in a Fractured World. In this book, Jake Meador diagnoses our society’s decline as the failure of a particular story we’ve told about ourselves: the story of modern liberalism. He shows us how that story has led to our collective loss of meaning, wonder, and good work, and then recovers each of these by grounding them in a different story—a story rooted in the deep tradition of the Christian faith.
Bonnie Kristian, contributing editor of The Week, said, “In Search of the Common Good is timely not only in its theology and praxis but in its faithful capture of our era’s sense of disintegration, isolation, and uncertainty. Yet Meador does not follow other critics of the loneliness of the liberal order into a call for a new culture war offensive to compel external Christian virtue via the power of the state. Rather, he invites readers to push deeper into robust community, to cling to hope and work together to incarnate it in every sphere of our lives.”
The three IVP titles that received the Award of Merit include:
As I Recall: Discovering the Place of Memories in Our Spiritual Life by Casey Tygrett received the Award of Merit in the Spiritual Formation category. Tygrett explores the power of memory and offers biblical texts and practices to guide us in bringing our memories to God for spiritual transformation. Tricia McCary Rhodes, author of The Soul at Rest, said, “While we might think our souls are formed through classic disciplines like prayer, meditation, or gratitude, Tygrett demonstrates that our journey toward wholeness will fall short without the practice of remembrance. With gentle encouragement and eloquent prose, he invites us on a pilgrimage into our past through practical exercises that help us see our memories for the redemptive treasures God intends them to be. Even painful memories, when brought into the presence of God, can come together to form a powerful story of identity, enabling us to live with uncertainty and flourish in resilience.”
Surprised by Paradox: The Promise of “And” in an Either-Or World by Jen Pollock Michel won the Award of Merit for The Beautiful Orthodoxy Book of the Year. “Michel asks readers to suspend their need for black and white distinctions, learning instead to sit in the tension of mystery,” said Nika Spaulding, resident theologian at St. Jude Oak Cliff Church in Dallas. “As she traces the paradoxes at the heart of ideas like Incarnation, grace, lament, and the kingdom of God, once-unnerving mysteries start to feel like welcome realities. Beautifully written, Surprised by Paradox weaves personal experience, theological reflection, and solid exegesis into a book that will comfort, encourage, and rebuke. Her vulnerability will pull readers in to take a closer look, and her cogent arguments will beckon them not only to acknowledge the mystery of the Christian faith, but also to celebrate and herald it.”
The Award of Merit in the Biblical Studies category went to Reading Romans with Eastern Eyes: Honor and Shame in Paul’s Message and Mission by Jackson W. The executive director for the Center for Baptist Renewal, Matthew Emerson, said, “Reading Romans with Eastern Eyes introduces Western readers to Eastern cultural concepts (particularly the honor-shame dynamic and the matrix of social expectations and behaviors related to it) and demonstrates how these concepts play a major role in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. This is a sophisticated exercise in cultural analysis for the sake of better understanding the Bible, and it should serve as a methodological primer for and a prime example of such an approach for the foreseeable future.”
For a complete list of award winners visit ivpress.com/award-winners.