“I can’t stand lists of writers. Compiling such a list means leaving somebody out. When serious writers make a list, they’re afraid of leaving somebody out. When critics and poor writers do it, they usually mean to leave somebody out. It seems a poor practice in either case.”–Walker Percy, Signposts in a Strange Land.
I will be using this page to promote the reading of books that I believe are important reading. I will provide the name of the book and a link to the its page on Amazon.com or another bookstore where it may be purchased. I will also try to give a brief annotation concerning the book. I will not be placing the books into particular categories. I am a big proponent of reading because reading, it seems to me, has become sort of a lost discipline among evangelical Christians. Much reading is being done, to be sure. But the books being read are of questionable value. I will be suggesting on this page books that I have read or referred to that I believe the discerning reader should tackle.
My list will contain theological works, helpful commentaries, history, and fiction. Most of my reading is done in theology and commentaries (Biblical commentaries), but I do try to read three or four works of fiction each year. I am also a reader of history. I especially have enjoyed reading World War II history so I will include eventually some of the better history books I have read.
I have also included my Amazon.com Wish List for even more fun. At the Wish List are books that I anticipate purchasing and reading in the not too distant future. I am always updating my Wish List, and I will be updating this page frequently too as books are added to my personal library and read.
David F. Wells, No Place For Truth
David F. Wells, God in the Wasteland
David F. Wells, Losing Our Virtue
David F. Wells, Above All Earthly Pow’rs
These four books by David Wells are, I believe, crucial reading for all Christians. I know he didn’t write them for such a general audience, but they are, nevertheless, important works for understanding the crisis the church is facing today and the steps that must be taken to right the ship.
Jack Cottrell, The Faith Once For All.
If you are interested in an easy to read, loaded with Scripture, Systematic Theology in one volume, this is a great book. Non-Reformed point of view, but theologically conservative.
Chad Owen Brand, ed. Perspectives on Election: 5 Views.
This book contains chapters written by Jack Cottrell, Robert Reymond, Bruce Ware, Clark Pinnock, & Thomas Talbott. Each author contributes a chapter and then contributes a response to each of the other chapters. On the whole it is well done book. I wish there was more room for author responses and at times the responses are a bit contentious (especially Robert Reymond’s). It is amazing how different the perspectives on such an important topic are. Excellent book.
Jack Cottrell, Baptism: A Biblical Study
Cottrell examines the major Biblical passages concerning Baptism in this exegetical study.
Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places Part one in the ‘Conversations in spiritual theology.’ Phenomenal book that runs against the current stream of easy believism.
Eat This Book An important book concerning ‘how’ to read the Scripture. Not as impressive as the first and third in the series.
The Jesus Way Third in the series. In the same vein as A Long Obedience.
Reversed Thunder An outstanding reading and application of the book of the Revelation.
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction The Psalms of Ascent are the leaping off point for Peterson’s conviction that Discipleship is a long, often tiresome journey.
Living the Resurrection The only complaint I had with this book is that it was entirely too short.
I can’t think of a single author who has had more of an impact on me than Eugene Peterson. Many are critical of Peterson for The Message, but I think that in their rush to criticize him they have not really grasped what he is hoping to accomplish which is, simply, an engagement of the whole person with the Word of God. This man is deeply committed to the Word of God and manages to avoid the things that normally trip up authors. He smashes head on with those folks who think that discipleship can be defined with the word ‘Easy.’ Peterson always brings the reader back to the Scripture.
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Need anything be said? If you like nature, you’ll love seeing it through her eyes.
Annie Dillard, Holy, the Firm
Annie Dillard, An American Childhood The first Dillard book I read. Turns out, she grew up in my adopted hometown and vacationed in another of my hometowns.
Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk
Annie Dillard, For the Time Being
The next author who has been tremendously influential in my development as a preacher is D A Carson. I have read a great deal of his work, and while I disagree strongly with the Calvinist underpinnings, his exegetical skills are next to none. He has written many books, and I have read many of them. I think he should be read by more people.
D. A. Carson
The Cross and Christian Ministry, This is a short exegetical study of 1 Corinthians. Excellent volume.
How Long, O Lord: Reflections on Suffering and Evil, The world is full of suffering. Carson provides a detailed exegesis of the suffering and evil in this world and provides an excellent Scriptural response. Again, because of his Calvinist presuppositions, there are some aspects with which I strongly disagree. I don’t think this ruins the book.
Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church Whether you agree or disagree with so-called Emerging theology, this book is a challenging read. I have seen critiques of this work that were not complimentary, but I think on the whole Carson is evenhanded in his critique of Emerging. He is also careful to point out what is right about the movement too.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World Typical exegetical study from Carson. It’s a bit older, but his exposition of Matthew 5-10 is worth the read. He has also written a major commentary on the entire Gospel of Matthew in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol 8.
The Gospel According to John (Pillar New Testament Commentary) I have benefited a great deal from this commentary. I think you will enjoy it and find it most useful.
A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities From Paul and His Prayers A much needed, sober look at the nature of prayer. It is amazing how, after an examination of Scripture, the priorities of our prayers lives can change. Much more realistic, in my opinion, than, say, Hybels’ prayer book.
I have a few more books by Carson to post, but right now, I am tired.–jerry