Dr. Angela Carpenter of the Hope College religion faculty has received the 2020 Dallas Willard Book Award from the Martin Institute and the Dallas Willard Research Center (MIDWC) at Westmont College for her book “Responsive Becoming: Moral Formation in Theological, Evolutionary, and Developmental Perspective.”

Dallas Willard (1935-2013) was a thinker, pastor and author of such books as “The Spirit of the Disciplines” and “The Divine Conspiracy.”  The MIDWC Annual Book and Research Award Program was created in 2015 to help place an enduring emphasis on Willard’s intellectual legacy by recognizing original written work that shares his vision that invisible things such as soul, spirit and the Kingdom of God are part of reality and can be known via experiential interaction.

“Responsive Becoming: Moral Formation in Theological, Evolutionary, and Developmental Perspective” was published by T & T Clark in 2019.  In announcing the award, MIDWC noted that “Dr. Carpenter’s book was selected because it retrieves a distinctive, experientially informed account of the human spiritual and moral formation that Christians call ‘sanctification.’  In it, she provides the foundation for a constructive account of formation that is attentive both to divine grace and to the significance of natural, embodied processes.”

The announcement continues, “The judges praised it for its clear exposition of different perspectives, its combination of scholarly depth and accessibility and for breaking new ground in crossing over between the often hostile fields of theology, psychology, and human development. The conclusions are pioneering and compelling and admirably explore the complexity of the human person, consistent with the main concerns of the Dallas Willard Book Award.”

Carpenter is an assistant professor of religion at Hope, where she has been a member of the faculty since 2017.  She conducts research and teaches in Christian theology and ethics, with an emphasis on Reformed theology.  Especially, her work considers how Christian theological claims, particularly regarding grace and human action, might be informed by the human sciences.

Earlier this year she was chosen to participate two programs funded by the John Templeton Foundation that relate to her ongoing research interests.  She is among 15 fellows from colleges and universities across the United States as well as Scotland selected to participate in “Collaborative Inquiries in Christian Theological Anthropology,” a multi-year initiative coordinated through Villanova University; she is pursuing a new book project tentatively titled “Graced Identity, Agency, and the Flourishing Community.”  This year she has also been attending an online summer workshop coordinated by St. Andrews University in Scotland for a related project, “Evolution, Natural Morality and the Prospect for Universal Human Regard.”