2006 A Year in Books

Books are listed in alphabetical order, by author’s last name, with brief commentary/synopsis. I hope you are encouraged to read some of the books on this list and I would love to hear what you are reading.
My Top Ten
Edwards, Jonathan. A Jonathan Edwards Reader ISBN: 0300098383
This is a wonderful selection of the writings of Jonathan Edwards. The selections are divided into public, personal, and private writings. Much of what is included is obscure, aside from various abridgements of larger works, and it introduced me to a side of Edwards that I had never seen before. Through this I came to appreciate the literary ability of Jonathan Edwards and above the meticulous logic and profound insight into Scripture I was impressed with what a vivid writer Edwards was. The book features a brief biography that is mainly bibliographical which does well to introduce the reader to the various works included in this book although it does a poor job of introducing Edwards. If you are looking to an introduction to Jonathan Edwards I would recommend reading God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards, by John Piper ISBN: 1581340079. Piper’s opening biography of Edwards is thorough yet brief; however, his lengthy footnotes added to The End for Which God created the World make it unnecessarily lengthy so my recommendation is that you skip Piper’s footnotes and just read Edwards’ original text your first time through.
Pearcey, Nancy R. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity ISBN:
1581344589
Building upon the arguments of Francis Schaeffer, Nancy Pearcey presents the Biblical worldview within the framework of Creation, Fall, and Redemption. This book is very multifaceted; it presents an academic apologetic, which shows the shortcomings of non-Biblical worldviews and the superiority of the Biblical Worldview. It presents a historical recollection of the cultural and philosophical environments that have polluted the modern “Christian” worldview. It also presents the Biblical worldview and its practical applications that move us towards cultural engagement. This book, while difficult to read at times, is a must read for evangelicals.
Schaeffer, Francis A. The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: The Three Essential Books in One Volume (The God Who Is There / Escape from Reason / He Is There and He Is Not Silent) ISBN: 0891075615
I am hoping to finish this compilation next year; as of now, I have only read He is There and He is Not Silent. I would actually recommend reading this before reading Total Truth, because Schaeffer presents the philosophical argument/necessity of a Biblical worldview, which Pearcey uses in her book. Schaeffer does this in a most simplistic way allowing this apologetic to be easily understood. If you were going to pick between the two I would recommend this over Total Truth for its simplicity and Total Truth for its thoroughness and push for cultural engagement. The choice is yours but I would recommend both.
Verduin, Leonard. The Reformers and Their Stepchildren ISBN: 1579789358
This book was phenomenal. I do not think any book has so radically shaped my understanding of history, namely the reformation era, and my understanding of the relationship between the church and state. This book tells the story of the “second front” of the Protestant Reformation. These “radical reformers” were hated and considered heretics by both Catholics and the mainline Protestant Reformers; however, time has proven their position to be the orthodox one. Due to immense persecution, little is known about the radical reformers, however, thanks to his linguistic expertise and research abilities Verduin brings much to light and gives us the leading text on this subject.
Mahaney, C. J. Humility: True Greatness ISBN: 1590523261
Just watching C. J. preach is enough to make me nauseous over my pride and this book is no different, it will cut and convict you.
Nofer, H. Fred. New Testament Greek Made Functional ISBN: N/A
I doubt anyone expected to see a Greek grammar in my top ten; however, I have taken Greek before and read Greek grammars before but none that are this simple. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to gain a basic understanding of the Greek language. This was the text for Gladiator Greek, an eight week class, by then end of which we were reading out of our Greek New Testaments. I was shocked at how fast I was able to pick this up, with an absurd amount of time spent in study that is, but if you spend a week or two on each lesion I think you will pick it up quite easily. If I were to teach Greek in a local church this would be the text of choice. (Available for purchase here.)
Olson, Roger E. The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform ISBN: 0830815058
The title explains it all; Olson does well to present church history in narrative form. The book is massive; however, its narrative quality makes it a pleasant read. Olson hits the highlights and key figures of church history and presents their theologies in a simplified form. I knew little, if anything, of church history prior to reading Olson and this text served as a wonderful introduction to the subject.
Piper, John. Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry ISBN: 0805426205
The same themes that tend to arise in most books by Piper are presented as personal letters and pleas written to the reader calling them to “radical ministry.” I love John Piper and very much enjoyed the way this book was written. While none of us will ever be able to be mentored by Piper this book is a personal effort where he does just that.
Stetzer, Ed. Planting Missional Churches ISBN: 0805443703
This book started great and was loaded with great practical advice. I think the overall theme and aim of this book is one that needs to be proclaimed and embraced in our churches, however, I was hoping the book would be a bit more radical. It issues a method and a call to plant missional churches however I feel that much of what is presented exists within an unbiblical church paradigm that has been engrained in the minds of modern evangelicals. If we are going to plant truly missional churches then we need a missional paradigm. Despite its shortcomings this is the best work on the subject and it is loaded with practical advice, based upon Stetzer’s years of teaching, preaching, and church planting experience.
The Master’s Seminary Journal Volume 10 Number 2 Fall 1999 (See Here for Purchase or Free Download)
This Journal presents the Biblical covenants and is a great read, especially if you know little of Israel’s history or want to gain a better understanding of the Old Testament.Honorable Mentions

 Augustine, Aurelius. Confessions ISBN: 1565634519
A definite classic and a good read; despite its Catholic overtones and exhortation toward an allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament.

Adams, Jay Edward. The Christian’s Guide to Guidance: How to Make Biblical Decisions in Everyday Life ISBN: 1889032069
Most of this book was spent telling stories and it took several chapters before he began to address the guidance, there are probably better books on the subject.

Calvin, John. The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life ISBN: 0801065283
My translation was slightly annoying, due to the unnecessary, morphing of this doctrinal treatise into a devotional form. This book is Calvin at his simplest. He lays down an argument for his understanding of the Christian life and gives application from that argument. Another great short read.

Chapell, Bryan. Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon ISBN: 0801025869
Read the final section of this book first as Chapell fails to begin by defining what Christ-centered preaching is and why the expository sermon needs redeeming. This book has noble intentions but fell short of my expectations.

Dana, H. E. and Julius R. Mantey. A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament ISBN: 0023270705
I enjoyed the setup of this book and its individually numbered paragraphs allow for simple use in the classroom. Their prolific quotation from numerous other grammars make this a great source of information.

Dever, Mark and Paul Alexander. Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel ISBN: 1581347383
Dever lays out an understanding of what the church should look like and then gives practical insights from his pastoral experience.

Driscoll, Mark. Confessions of a Reformission Rev. Hard Lessons from an Emerging Missional Church ISBN: 0310270162
Driscoll offers a no-holds-barred recounting of the planting and growth of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, while offering advice along the way. Parts of this book were laugh out loud funny and others were gut wrenching Driscoll paints a vivid picture of church planting and the struggle that it entails.

Edman, V. Raymond. They Found the Secret ISBN: 0310240514
A great collection of short biographies that will definitely encourage you as it introduces the lives of numerous individuals from diverse religious backgrounds.

Edwards, Jonathan. The Works of Jonathan Edwards (In Two Volumes) ISBN: 1565630858
Dissertation on the End for Which God Created the World (Vol.1)

Simply phenomenal, when I first read this it was one of those life-altering books. The most accessible copy of this text is probably God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards, by John Piper ISBN: 1581340079, which features a biography of Edwards by Piper, the full text of The End for Which God Created the World, and includes both Edwards’ original footnotes and footnotes by Piper as well.

A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections (Vol.1)
I think this is a much-needed message in our time. Our tendency is to lean towards either mindless emotionalism or dry scholasticism. In this treatise Edwards sets out to define what religious affections, or passions, are and guarding against the previously mentioned inclinations Edwards calls for passionate intellectualism, arguing that right knowledge should lead to right passions.

The Preciousness of Time (Vol.2)
This is my favorite sermon by Edwards, which is odd because I am a terrible procrastinator. I will likely post it on the blog soon as it is a fitting message for the New Year.

Edwards, Jonathan. A Treatise on Grace ISBN: 0227679059

Ferguson, Sinclair. Heart for God ISBN: 0851515029
I read this during a Dodgers game so it is short. Ferguson does a short, yet deep study through some of God’s attributes. Its length and set up would make this great for devotional use.

Jefferson, Charles. The Minister as Shepherd: The Privileges and Responsibilities of Pastoral Leadership ISBN: 0875087744
More so than the central message of the book, I appreciated his insights into culture and anticipation of the ideological and cultural consequences of modernity. Too often we are playing catch-up with the culture at large developing apologetics for ideologies that no longer hold a prominent position in society; when we should be looking at the current cultural environment and preparing to engage and reach the emerging and yet to emerge cultures of the future.

Kantenwein, Lee L. Diagrammatical Analysis ISBN: 0884691500
A short book on sentence diagramming and analysis.

Kempis, Thomas. The Imitation of Christ ISBN: 0375700188
Considered a “Christian classic” by many this was the most annoying book I have ever read. Above the Catholic and mystic overtones is the annoying literary device where he frequently speaks as Christ.

Kuyper, Abraham. Lectures on Calvinism ISBN: 1589600568
I honestly read this book just to find a quote. There are some strange things coming out of his preference for the magisterial reformation, but overall I really enjoyed this book on a Calvinistic worldview.

Lutzer, Erwin. Pastor to Pastor ISBN: 0825431646
It seems to me that most books on the pastorate do more to exposit the prevailing paradigm rather than Scripture and this book was no different. I keep hoping to read a book dedicated to expositing what Scripture has to say about the pastorate and all I seem to find are what amount to cultural essays.

McIntosh, Gary. Biblical Church Growth: How You Can Work With God to Build a Faithful Church ISBN: 080109156X
A practical book on church growth, that builds upon the popular church growth paradigm.

McManis, Cliff. Christian Living Beyond Belief: Biblical Principles for the Life of Faith ISBN: 0977226220
A great little book laying down the basics of Christianity that I think everyone would benefit from.

Mahaney, C.J. Why Small Groups? ISBN: 1881039064
This book is both simple and practical and arguably the definitive work on small group Bible study.

Mahaney, C.J. Sex, Romance And The Glory Of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs To Know ISBN: 1581346247
C. J. takes the reader through the Song of Solomon and will have you laughing out loud as he shares what Scripture has to say.

Showers, Renald. There Really Is a Difference!: A Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theology ISBN: 0915540509
I would not really call this a comparison. Renald is clearly a Dispensationalist and a book that simply presented Dispensationalism and analyzed Covenantal Theology, rather than attempting to present an unbiased view of both, would have better served the reader.

Spurgeon, Charles. Lectures to My Students ISBN: 0310329116
This remains the classic work and must read for everyone considering fulltime ministry. Spurgeon brings a level of sobriety and wisdom to a subject that we should all take seriously.

The Master’s Seminary Journal Volume 17 Number 2 Fall 2006 (See Here for Purchase or Free Download)
All I have read so far were the book reviews, which are always helpful so you can be aware of the underlying theological themes of a book prior to reading it.

What I Look Forward to Reading Next Year

Edwards, Jonathan. The Works of Jonathan Edwards (In Two Volumes) ISBN: 1565630858
A Careful and Strict Inquiry into the Prevailing Notions of the Freedom of Will (Vol.1)
A Dissertation on the Nature of True Virtue (Vol.1)
A History of the Work of Redemption (Vol.1)
Inquiry Concerning Qualifications for Communion (Vol.1)
Narrative of Surprising Conversions (Vol.1)
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (Vol.2)

Finger, Thomas N. A Contemporary Anabaptist Theology: Biblical, Historical, Constructive ISBN: 0830827854

Goldsworthy, Graeme According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible ISBN: 0830826963

Lawson, Steven J. Foundations of Grace 1400 BC – AD 100: A Long Line of Godly Men (Volume One) ISBN: 1567690777

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4 thoughts on “2006 A Year in Books

  1. Keith,
    Where can I find the book by Nofer? I would love to get my hands on that.

    Hope things are well there at TMS.

    I look forward to talking to you soon.

    Tim

  2. Thank you for your kind words about the Greek textbook the Lord caused me to write. We are doing some updating and revisions. BTW, it can be purchased through me as well. Give my reqards to Dr. Farnell.

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