May 26, 2006
Whitworth Theology Professor's Book Wins Top Award
A Whitworth theology professor's book that takes on the question of whether Jesus is the sole redeemer of the world has won a top book award from Christianity Today magazine. Professor of Theology James Edwards' book Is Jesus the Only Savior? (Eerdmans 2005) was selected as best book in the "Apologetics/Evangelism" category.
"Edwards' book meets a pressing need to defend historic orthodoxy about Christ while answering tough questions common in our increasingly pluralistic climate," says Stan Guthrie, senior associate editor of The CT Review.
This year, 37 publishers nominated 240 books for the annual competition. Christianity Today staff members selected the top books and assigned each to one of 10 categories. A panel of judges for each category voted on which books merited awards. The judges selected one title in each category as award winners; 12 additional titles received awards of merit. The volumes selected bring understanding to people, events and ideas that shape evangelical life, thought and mission, Guthrie says.
The 10 awards categories are Apologetics/Evangelism, Biblical Studies, Christianity & Culture, Christian Living, The Church/Pastoral Leadership, Fiction, History/Biography, Missions/Global Affairs, Spirituality, and Theology/Ethics. The Christianity Today Book Awards 2006 recipients are featured in the June issue of the magazine and were announced May 26 on the magazine's website. To read Christianity Today's online awards announcement, please visit www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/006/16.34.html.
According to Guthrie, one of the judges said of Edwards' book," (This is) just the right book to speak to those in the church who find it hard, if not impossible, to reconcile their faith in one who claimed to be the only begotten Son of God with their (often unconscious) cultural commitment to relativism, pluralism, and multiculturalism. A book that will also speak to skeptics and seekers who are drawn to Christ but who feel that they cannot, in this day and age, embrace a Savior who claims to be the exclusive mediator between God and man."
Edwards, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a contributing editor of Christianity Today magazine, says a revisionist view of Jesus is evident in some theology that in essence argues that the Jesus who is presented in the New Testament is a non-historical Jesus, a wish fulfillment of the early church.
"In the past couple of decades there has been a conspicuous de-emphasis on Christology in academic theology," Edwards says. "This de-emphasis has also infiltrated the liturgy and language of the church. I wrote the book to recall that Jesus Christ is the center and substance of the Christian faith."
Edwards wrote Is Jesus the Only Savior? with two audiences in mind. One group is people who have been in the church for years and who are made aware, through TV specials or media reports, for example, that the historic Jesus of the church is being severely challenged. The second group is those who doubt that there is anything especially credible to be said for the validity of the New Testament witness to Jesus.
Edwards' book approaches the question of whether Jesus is the only savior through a two-part thesis. In the first half of the book the author examines the evidence of the New Testament to see how well it stands up against rigorous historical questions.
In the second half of the book Edwards examines the relationship between Christianity and contemporary historical currents such as religious pluralism, moral relativism, postmodernism, the quest for world peace, and the relationship of Christianity to other religions, particularly Judaism.
Edwards states in the book's introduction that he hopes to show that his belief in Jesus as the savior of the world isn't arbitrary, but is instead a well-informed belief for which there is considerable evidence.
Edwards, a 1967 Whitworth graduate, holds a Ph.D. from Fuller Theological Seminary and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has also studied theology at the University of Zürich, in Switzerland, at the University of Tübingen, in Germany, and at Tyndale House, in Cambridge, England. Articles by Edwards have been published in scholarly and popular journals, and he is a frequent speaker at churches, conferences and lectureships.
In addition to Is Jesus the Only Savior?, Edwards' recent publications include The Divine Intruder (NavPress, 2000); a commentary on Hebrews in The Renovare Study Bible (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005); a commentary on Romans in New Interpreter's Study Bible (Abingdon, 2003); and a commentary on The Gospel of Mark, PNTC (Eerdmans, 2002).
Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.
James Edwards, professor of theology, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4546 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or email@example.com.