It is fascinating to me each year to see what books I review are the most interesting to others. There were a couple surprises to me that I’ll note along the way. Last week, I posted my “Best of 2017“. You might call this my “viewers choice” awards–the books you were most interested in. So, here is the top ten:
10. Getting the Gospel Right, R. C. Sproul. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2017 (repackaged edition, originally published 1999). While my review was mixed, including this review here seems fitting, in light of the author’s passing this past week. (Full Review)
9. The Road Back to You, Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016. I thought this one of the most engaging and helpful books I’ve read on the Enneagram. It appears a number of you are interested in this as well. (Full Review)
8. How I Changed My Mind About Evolution, Kathryn Applegate and J. B. Stump, eds. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2016. This book consists of 25 narratives whose views about evolution changed. (Full review)
7. Paul Behaving Badly, E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016. To the modern reader the apostle Paul seems to be racist, pro-slavery, anti-woman, homophobic, and hypocritical. The authors face these criticisms honestly and offer explanations that suggest that he may indeed behave badly, but not in the ways we think. (Full Review)
6. Our Deepest Desires, Gregory E. Ganssle. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2017. Ganssle makes the case that the Christian faith is most congruent with our deepest desires. For me it also posed the challenge of whether as Christians, our lives reflect the goodness, truth, and beauty for which others long. (Full Review)
5. God and the Faithfulness of Paul, Christoph Heilig, J. Thomas Hewitt, and Michael F. Bird, eds. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2017. A collection of papers responding to N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. (Full Review)
4. Speaking of Homosexuality, Joe Dallas. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016. A point by point refutation by a former gay activist of the arguments against the church’s traditional view of homosexuality. (Full Review)
3. Two Views on Homosexuality, The Bible, and the Church, Preston Sprinkle (ed.), William Loader, Megan K. DeFranza, Wesley Hill, Stephen R. Holmes (contributors). Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016. Two biblical scholars and two theologians discuss the traditional and affirming views, the biblical material and its application, and respond graciously to each other. (Full Review)
2. Single, Gay, Christian, Gregory Coles. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2017. This was also one of my “best of the year.” An honest account, that I characterized as speaking with “conviction without dogmatism.” I’m glad this book got a good deal of attention! (Full review)
1. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2017. The author is a popular figure in the media, and writes with clarity and eloquence about the wonderful and humbling experience of studying the cosmos. (Full Review)
It didn’t surprise me that books about homosexuality and the narratives of LGBT persons would be popular. What did surprise me was how Astrophysics for People in a Hurry made the top spot. Unlike others, it did not receive many views initially, but nearly every day since April it has had between one and five views, I suspect many via online searches about this book which has been a bestseller. This is the kind of post bloggers love–it just keeps earning interest, so to speak!
The other surprise is how many views I get whenever I review anything about the Apostle Paul. Last year, Paul’s New Perspective, by Garwood P. Anderson was my most viewed review. So what is it about the apostle Paul? Perhaps it is that the scholarly discussion, particularly around the so-called “New Perspective” and N.T. Wright, fascinates many. This year’s number five book was an 800 page monster of monographs responding to Wright’s work.
Besides Greg Cole’s book, Single, Gay, Christian, I was perhaps most delighted that many of you noticed Greg Ganssle’s book, Our Deepest Desires, which I thought a wonderful and succinct argument that deserves greater consideration.