Christianity Today’s 2024 Book Awards

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

Think of something big and important happening in the world—some cultural trend, political movement, or social craze. Chances are that someone, somewhere, has proposed giving it a distinctly “Christian” or “biblical” framing. Some of these efforts, aimed at glorifying God in all things, supply helpful correctives to secular errors. Others, smacking more of anxious attempts at hopping aboard a moving train, add little beyond a thin spiritual gloss.

Thankfully, CT’s book of the year, Christopher Watkin’s Biblical Critical Theory: How the Bible’s Unfolding Story Makes Sense of Modern Life and Culture, belongs to the first category. Some might wince at the mention of critical theory, with its perceived reputation for nonsense jargon or radical politics. Critical theory comes in many flavors, of course, some guiltier than others of cramming messy human particulars into ideological straitjackets. But the late Tim Keller, in his foreword, suggests another view, observing that a good theory “make[s] visible the deep structures of a culture in order to expose and change them.”

As Watkin contends, Scripture does this better than anything else. Other critical theories—derived from deep analyses of race, gender, psychology, language, and law—might apply useful lenses to reality. But all are clouded or cracked to some degree, requiring a higher wisdom and a truer story to polish off the smudges and patch together the broken shards. God’s Word, in this sense, does more than explain God to the world. In unsurpassed fashion, it explains the world to itself.

Like Biblical Critical Theory, all of our award winners contain insight and beauty on their own. And like all …

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