2008 A Year in Books

I have been a little slow getting around to this but nevertheless the tradition continues. Previous years lists are also available:

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.

Top Ten

  • Dematest, Bruce. The Cross and Salvation: The Doctrine of Salvation (Foundations of Evangelical Theology) ISBN: 1581348126
    This volume was wonderfully organized, historically thorough, and theologically solid. A pleasure to read and I commend it to you.
  • Berry, Wendell. Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition ISBN: 1582431418
    This was a great introduction to the writings of Wendell Berry, a Kentucky native, whose writing style and practical insights I have come to love. I think this is less about this specific book and more about introducing me to an author I deeply enjoy.
  • Cole, Neil. Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens ISBN: 078798129X
    This was a great and immensely challenging book. I need to read this one again. His emphasis is profoundly practical and should be an encouragement and challenge to pastors and church planters alike. I am still wrestling with some of his points and need to give them more thought, but I think that is the a mark of a great work.
  • Merrill, Eugene H. Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old testament Israel ISBN: 9780801031991
    While there are certain dates and the like that I disagree with in this volume I greatly enjoyed it as I previously had little knowledge of Israel’s history besides the disconnected fragments that I had gathered in Sunday school as a child. This volume is fairly accessible as well and I would recommend it to any church member who wished to know more of Israel’s history as a people and nation.
  • Moerman, Murray. Discipling Our Nation: Equipping the Canadian Church for Its Mission ISBN: 0969456441
    As we hope to church plant in Canada this was an encouraging collection of essays by Canadian evangelicals who desire to plant churches and further god’s kingdom in their country. I would definitely commend it to anyone interested in Canadian ministry but even more I would recommend it to American’s as we consider how to minister in our increasingly secular context. In a way what I appreciate the most about this book is its emphasis upon proclaiming the gospel and thinking missiologically about the Canadian context.
  • Neuwirth, Robert. Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World ISBN: 0415953618
    You have to read this book. Every year some 70 million individuals leave their rural homes and move to the city. This influx has created shadow cities, squatter cities, and in 20 years an estimated 2 billion people will live in these shadow cities. This book tells their stories and the story of their cities. He begins by telling the stories of individuals in four cities and then looks at various issues concerning the future of these cities and squatters. This is not a theological book, it is not a missiological book, it is not even a “Christian book” but I have not read anything in quite some time that was so challenging and caused me to wrestle with more theological and missiological issues that this text. How can the glories of Christ be demonstrated in these cities and who will go to tell of them?
  • Powlison, David. Competent to Counsel? The History of a Conservative Protestant Biblical Counseling Movement ISBN: N/A
    This was a very exciting read it was profoundly practical and informing as well. Powlison gives a detailed description of both the history and theological convictions which have undergirded the biblical counseling movement. This should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in pastoral ministry.
  • Saucy, Robert L. The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface Between Dispensational and Non-Dispensational Theology ISBN: 0310304415
    I read this book on vacation and it was a pleasure. I actually had to superglue this book together twice and leave it in a vice so that I continue reading, not because it was cheaply manufactured but because it was so interesting and deserved a thorough working over. If you are interested in eschatology this is the book for you.
  • Sire, James W. The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog ISBN: 9780830827800
    This is one of the simplest and least cumbersome introduction to worldview that I have encountered. His frequent references to film and literature as to illustrate particular worldviews make this work particularly enjoyable and easily accessible.
  • Winter, Ralph D. and Steven C. Hawthorne. Perspectives On the World Christian Movement: A Reader ISBN: 0878082891
    This massive tome is a collection of missiological and theological essays on varying topics. The only critique I have is that I wish the collection was arranged historically, rather than theologically, to demonstrate the development of missiological thought. There are a lot of invaluable reads contained in this volume and there are numerous essays demonstrating certain modes of thought that have crippled missions in decades past and I am thankful that we have overcome, or are overcoming.

Honorable Mentions

  • Bell, Rob. Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith ISBN: 9780310273080
    I am planning to do an in-depth critique of this book in the near future because of its popularity and problematic teachings. While I clearly take issue with Bell’s doctrinal error the most disappointing aspect of this work is his research, or lack thereof, which is primarily seen in his failure to cite the cultural and historic resources which have led him to his various conclusions. Needless to say this book is for discerning readers only.
  • Blaising, Craig A., Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., and Robert B. Strimple. Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (Counterpoints) ISBN: 0310201438
    I do not typically read counterpoint books; however, this was an informative read. I would also recommend The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views ISBN: 9780877847946 as the essays by Hoekema and Ladd are also very good.
  • Blakke, Ray and Jim Hart. The Urban Christian: Effective Ministry in Today’s Urban World ISBN: 0877845239
    This is a great little book. It is more autobiographical in nature and that is why I enjoyed it so much. Blakke underwent much hardship and suffering to minister in his urban environment and we would do well to spend more time contemplating and emulating his life than we do formulating urban strategy.
  • Blomberg, Craig L. From Pentecost to Patmos: An Introduction to Acts Through Revelation ISBN: 9780805432480
    This volume is more of a one volume commentary than a New Testament introduction. He spends too much time explaining the text and too little time on matters like author, date, and setting. The content is theologically solid I would have just appreciated more in the way of actual introduction.
  • Coleman, Robert E. The Master Plan of Evangelism ISBN: 0800731220
    Coleman has given us a fantastic work detailing evangelism and discipleship. This is a must read for every pastor, missionary, and church member.
  • Conn, Harvie M. Planting and Growing Urban Churches: From Dream to Reality ISBN: 080102109X
    This is a helpful and well organized collection of essays on urban church planting. I especially appreciate Conn’s introductory sections and his emphasis upon the imago Dei.
  • Dever, Mark. A Display of God’s Glory: Basics of Church Structure Deacons, Elders, Congregationalism, and Membership ISBN: 0970125224
    This is required reading for our church’s membership class and it should be for yours as well.
  • Galloway, Bryan K. The World as They See: A Workbook on “Writing Ethnographic Records” ISBN: N/A
    This is a brief workbook on writing ethnographic records. Its brecity and clarity make it a great introduction to the subject.
  • Gmelch, George and Walter P. Zenner. Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City ISBN: 157766194X
    This is an interesting collection of anthropological essays.
  • Hall, Ron and Denver Moore. Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together ISBN: 9780489919107
    I think the timing of this book made its message so powerful. Hall and Moore’s story is a powerful picture of racial reconciliation. However, as a spiritual book it is interesting at times and lacks clarity concerning the gospel; although I doubt elucidating the gospel was their purpose in writing.
  • Hammett, John S. Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology ISBN: 9780825427695
    There are far better works on ecclesiology available and I would not recommend this work. It was not terrible but it lacked organization and theological depth.
  • Hill, E. Andrew and John H. Walton. A Survey of the Old Testament ISBN: 0310229030
    This survey features helpful overviews and outlines. They maintained a balanced and evangelical stance throughout although they do deny Mosaic authorship of certain sections of the Pentateuch, among other significant weaknesses.
  • Hoekema, Anthony A. The Bible and the Future ISBN: 0802835163
    While I disagree with amillennialism this book was a pleasurable and very informative read. This is a fantastic work that I will continue to return to throughout my studies.
  • Hoffmeier, James K. Ancient Israel in Sinai: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition ISBN: 9780195155464
    While I disagree with some of the dates and his description of the Red Sea crossing this book is a fantastic source of information on Israel’s presence in the wilderness. His section on archaeological method and the importance of suzerainty/vassal treaties and dating particular texts are intriguing.
  • Lawless, Chuck. Discipled Warriors: Growing Healthy Churches that are Equipped for Spiritual Warfare ISBN: 082543159X
    I would recommend reading Robert E. Coleman’s The Master Plan of Evangelism instead of this book as it gives a far more natural and organic picture of discipleship.
  • Lawless, Chuck. Membership Matters: Insights from Effective Churches on New Member Classes and Assimilation ISBN: 9780310262862
    Lawless allowed statistics to dictate the message of this book rather than the text of Scripture and as such it was doctrinally weak and disappointing. There are several practical forms/worksheets in the appendices but there are far better books available on membership.
  • Lawson, Steven J. Famine in the Land: A Passionate Call for Expository Preaching ISBN: 0802411215
    This is an encouraging and quick read from an author whom I love and appreciate.
  • Logan, Robert E. and Neil Cole. Beyond Church Planting ISBN: 1889638498
    This is a fantastic, although absurdly expensive, church planting resource. The material is fantastic, I even formed a discussion group with several of my friends to read this volume and talk about its contents, however; I cannot understand why a three-ring binder and some CDs costs $100.
  • MacArthur, John. A Take of Two Sons: The Inside Story of a Father, His Sons, and a Shocking Murder ISBN: 9780785262688
    I have heard MacArthur preach the sermons that this book is based off of several times so this was a pleasure to finally read. I appreciate his ability to take this parable and demonstrate its Christological importance in a way which it engaging and profoundly convicting.
  • Malphurs, Aubrey. Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders ISBN: 0801091810
    This book tended to treat church planting like a business venture and I did not enjoy it.
  • Mohler, R. Albert, Jr. Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth ISBN: 9781590529744
    This is a collection of posts from Mohler’s blog on key issues facing America. This is a quick read and I always appreciate what Mohler has to say, even when I disagree with him.
  • Mouw, Richard J. When the Kings Come Marching In: Isaiah and the New Jerusalem ISBN: 0802839967
    This volume presents the reader with a thought-provoking understanding of what is means to seek the city that is too come. I appreciate that Mouw avoids the over-politicized stance taken in so many books like this one.
  • Myers, Bryant L. Exploring World Mission: Context and Challenges ISBN: 1887983511
    This little book is loaded with charts and maps that help the reader to visualize the current state of world missions.
  • Nash, Ronald H. Faith and Reason: Searching for a Rational Faith ISBN: 0310294010
    Nash introduces the reader to various issues from worldview, to epistemology and the existence of God. I would recommend reading Life’s Ultimate Questions first as this book is a more difficult read. I also find Francis Schaeffer’s writings on similar topics to be far easier to grasp.
  • Nash, Ronald H. Life’s Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy ISBN: 0310223644
    This introduction to the world of philosophy is a lucid and informative read.
  • Neighbour, Ralph W., Jr. Where do We Go from Here?: A Guidebook for the Cell Group Church ISBN: 1880828170
    Part one and two of this work are fantastic as he provides insightful critique to the program based church and positive examples of an organic cell-based structure. However, the third section is a total disappointment as his church structure becomes unnecessarily complex and reproducible only in its simplest form.
  • Payne, J. D. Missional House Churches: Reaching Our Communities with the Gospel ISBN: 9781934068250
    J. D. is a good friend and this book is a fantastic examination of house churches in the United States. What I appreciate most about this book is that it begins with a lucid explanation of ecclesiology and this emphasis is seen throughout this work as he focuses on both theology and methodology. This is a must read for anyone interested in church planting or house churches.
  • Powlison, David. Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture ISBN: 087552608X
    This is a collection of essays written for the Journal of Biblical Counseling between 1985 and 2003. The third chapter is worth the price of the book; the whole book is great but that chapter is mind-blowing.
  • Redford, Jack. Planting New Churches: Nine Well-tested Steps for Starting New Churches ISBN: 0805463143
    This was a great fun read. It is very encouraging to see how far church planting has come since this book was written in 1978.
  • Rendtorff, Rolf. The Old Testament: An Introduction ISBN: 0800625447
    Rendtorff views Scripture as a piece of uninspired literature written by a nomadic people. Beyond his denial of Scripture’s inspiration there are other weaknesses with this volume. While he understands that they are writing for primarily theological purposes he pays little attention to Israel’s creation narrative in comparison with other ancient near eastern creation narratives. While emphasizing the theological nature of the text he fails to note how the validity of the theological message hinges on the historicity of the account.
  • Roberts, Vaughan. God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible ISBN: 0830853642
    This is a fantastic introduction to biblical theology. This volume is well organized and concise. I would love to see a simplified version for children. I would recommend this as a precursor to Graeme Goldsworthy’s According to Plan.
  • Ross, Hugh. The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Latest Scientific Discoveries Reveal God ISBN: 1576832880
    As a presuppositionalist I think Ross places too much of an emphasis upon man’s need for information. Romans 1 paints a far different picture of the human condition. I would argue that he often reads a 21st century understanding of astrophysics into the text rather that exegeting what is really there. Nevertheless this book may prove helpful to someone seeking evidence for the existence of God. Because Ross argues elsewhere that the curse is retroactive before the fall of man, among other things, I would caution against using his works as a source of theology.
  • Schreiner, Thomas R. and Shawn D. Wright. Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ (NAC Studies in Bible & Theology) ISBN: 9780805432497
    I only read the chapter by Stephen J Wellum and it did a great job explaining the relationship between baptism and the biblical covenants. The other chapters are all written by leading Baptist scholars so they should be helpful as well.
  • Scoggins, Dick. Planting House Churches in Networks: A Manual from the Perspective of a Church Planting Team ISBN: N/A
    This book is available for free download at Dick Scoggins Online. This is one of the best resources available on planting elder-led house churches. Take the time to download this fantastic, and massive, resource as well as the many other resources available at their website.
  • Searcy, Nelson and Kerrick Thomas. Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch ISBN: 9780830743100
    If you want to start a business then this is your book; if you want to plant a church then I suggest you begin elsewhere.
  • Smith, Marsha A. Ellis. Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps, and Reconstructions ISBN: 9781558193598
    This is a book of maps and charts; it is the only one I own so I have nothing to compare it to. It could be snazzier but it gets the job done.
  • Stetzer, Ed and Mike Dodson. Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can Too ISBN: 9780805445367
    This is similar in nature to Membership Matters by Chuck Lawless but what I appreciate about this volume is that Stetzer and Dodson begin by setting forth a theological understanding of the church and its responsibilities and then explaining their research. This helps to avoid the pragmatism present in so many books researching church success. This would be a helpful volume if your church is struggling but I would suggest you begin with a sobering theological examination prior to turning to a volume like this.
  • Tiffe, Armand P. Transformed Into His Likeness: A Handbook for Putting Off Sin and Putting On Righteousness ISBN: 1885904525
    This is a very practical booklet which gives a lengthy list of behaviors which should be put off followed by Scripture references to aid in the process of change. This is a simple yet helpful aid for anyone seeking to counsel biblically.
  • Thumma, Scott and Dave Travis. Beyond Megachurch Myths: What Can We Learn from America’s Largest Churches ISBN: 9780787994679
    Thumma and Travis tried too hard to vindicate all megachurches while offering biblical critique of none. If they had offered real critique by providing both positive and negative examples of megachurch ministry then this work would have been great. However, they offer little to no critique and approach megachurches as a broad phenomenon rather than individual ministries so this work has little value.
  • Tripp, Paul David. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change ISBN: 0875526071
    This is a practical and helpful book on the method of biblical counseling.
  • Ware, Bruce A. God’s Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith ISBN: 1581344430
    In the follow up to God’s Lesser Glory Ware provides the reader with an apophatic theology of the sovereignty of God. He does this by contrasting a reformed evangelical understanding of sovereignty with that of open and process theism. His section of the freedom of the will is fantastic.
  • Wright, Steve and Chris Graves. Rethink: Decide for Yourself is Student Ministry Working? ISBN: 9781931548694
    While I agree more with individuals like Voddie Baucham on issues of youth ministry this volume offers helpful critique of the “youth group” model of youth ministry. Not a bad book but not amazing either.
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2007 A Year in Books

The tradition continues, although a bit belated since we are well into 2008 already.  Last, year’s list is available here: 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.

Top Ten

  • Adams, Jay E.  Competent to Counsel: Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling ISBN: 0310511402
    • This book was fantastic.  Although it was written in 1970 and somewhat dated, the truths contained within this book are obviously timeless.  His critique of secular psychology was spot on and his biblical model of counseling needs to be put into effect into more of our churches.  With that said I am not the biggest fan of the term counseling, namely due to its connotation in our current cultural environment and the specialization attached to that connotation.  Furthermore, the aim of godly counsel, or biblical counseling, is making disciples and thus I would prefer terminology which reflects this aim.  This book, however, is not for the specialized counseling elite.  On the contrary, it provides every believer with a biblical methodology for discipleship and addressing the issues of life as a community of believers because of this I would recommend it for all to read.
  • Brock, Charles.  Indigenous Church Planting: A Practical Journey ISBN: 1885504276
    • Building off his prolific experience in church planting Charles Brock provides the reader with the simplest and practical work on church planting that I have read.  What I enjoy the most is that he provides the reader with an all-inclusive church planting strategy designed to equip and empower indigenous churches and indigenous church leadership.  I also glad to see that Brock takes indigeneity seriously to the degree that when starting a Bible study if the individuals show up unprepared, without pens and paper, to cancel the meeting and tell them to return prepared to study, and this in a region where individuals would have walked several miles to participate.  Brock is also diligent to confront numerous other issues concerning the nature and essence of the church, which I find extremely helpful.  Dr. Brock’s works are available from his website Church Growth International.
  • Driscoll, Mark.  The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out ISBN: 0310256593
    • Like everything Driscoll does, this book is hard-hitting and provocative.  He is both hilarious and frank in this work that seeks to establish a firm biblical understanding of mission and evangelism in a post-Christian America.  Driscoll confronts the status quo and does what the title says as he issues a “radical call to reform the church’s traditionally flawed view of missions.”  This is a must read.  If you have not read this book then read it, if you have read this book then read it again.
  • Harris, Greg.  The Cup and the Glory: Lessons on Suffering and the Glory of God ISBN: 0977226212
    • I have been greatly blessed to sit under Dr. Harris for a year at The Master’s Seminary and am greatly in his debt.  If you were to read one book on this list then this is the one.  Dr. Harris shares his amazing testimony and profound knowledge of Scripture in a book that will revolutionize your understanding of the glory of God.  I also highly recommend a sermon series he did at Grace Community Church on this book.
    • Keep a look out for his upcoming books The Darkness and the Glory, The Stone and the Glory, and The Face and the Glory.
  • Hershberger, Guy F.  The Recovery of the Anabaptist Vision (Dissent and Nonconformity) ISBN: 1579787983
    • I had originally began the year hoping to read A Contemporary Anabaptist Theology: Biblical, Historical, Constructive by Thomas N Finger; however, as soon as I found this work I knew I had to read it instead, although I still plan to read Finger’s work soon.  At times, I felt this work lacked the interaction with source material, as found in The Reformers and their Stepchildren by Leonard Verduin, and yet I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The Anabaptists are my favorite group of individuals in church history; they desired a radical reformation and a return to the biblical understanding of the church, for which they paid with their lives and the lives of their families.  This book provides much insight into the theology and practice of the Anabaptists and exhorts us to recover their vision for the people of God.  I have read numerous works on theology this year and this has been by far the most enjoyable and challenging.  One of the most insightful aspects of this book is the last section that chronicles various Anabaptist groups and what has become of them over the course of history.  Sadly, this last section brings the work back to its title and demonstrates why we must recover the Anabaptist vision, namely because the vision has been lost and the numerous ways in which the vision was lost should serve as a sobering exhortation to us all.
  • Piper, John.  God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love As the Gift of Himself ISBN: 1581347510
    • I often hear it said that if you have read one Piper book then you have read them all and to some extent that is true as there are numerous themes that resonate throughout all of his works.  I greatly appreciated this book for its clarity and conciseness as he unpacks the gospel.  This work is especially needed due to man’s constant propensity to make the gospel, and everything else, about himself.  Piper stands against this propensity and boldly declares that the gospel is about God, it is initiated by and exists for His glory, and by His grace alone we benefit from it.  We need to preach and teach this in our churches and embrace this central truth in our evangelism and apologetics.  Anything less than a God-centered gospel continues to propagate the rebellion that began in the Garden of Eden.
  • Sanders, J. Oswald.  Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer ISBN:0802467997
    • I have read numerous books on leadership, by both Christian and secular authors, and this books simplicity makes it one of my favorite works on the topic.  Rather than provide the reader with a how-to-manual for leadership Sanders presents principles, which should guide and instruct leaders, and would-be leaders as they develop their abilities.  This work is extremely practical and finds immediate and natural application within the context of life.
  • Stetzer, Ed and David Putman.  Breaking the Missional Code: Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community ISBN: 9780805443592
    • Unlike The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out, mentioned above, Stetzer and Putman present a slightly tamer understanding of what it means to be missional.  Do not get me wrong this book will challenge your understanding of what the church is, what the church does, how we are failing in those areas, and what needs to change if we are to be effective in the emerging glocal context.  Far too often churches operate on the Field of Dreams “build it and they will come” mentality.  What Stetzer and Putman recognize is the church has been sent by God, we are to function as the body of Christ and be about His work as we corporately seek to live as a missionary in our community.  One of this works weaknesses is that it frequently uses churches as examples, of what it means to be missional, that I would not consider to be exemplary.  With that said I highly recommend this book and am currently rereading it and discussing it with several individuals.
  • Thompson, Mark D.  A Clear and Present Word: The Clarity of Scripture (New Studies in Biblical Theology) ISBN: 083082662X
    • At a time when Scriptures clarity is under attack by numerous groups both outside of and within the church this work is a welcome manifesto.  The most noteworthy feature of this work is Thompson’s fantastically thorough examination of past works criticizing and defending the clarity of Scripture.  Surprisingly, this work is also extremely brief.  If you are struggling to defend the clarity of Scripture or you yourself doubt its clarity then you must read this book.
  • Vos, Geerhardus.  Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments ISBN: 0851514588
    • This year has been an exciting year as I have discovered a new field of theological study, namely Biblical Theology.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the topic, as I was, Biblical Theology, as defined by Vos, “deals with the material from the historical standpoint, seeking to exhibit the organic growth or development of the truths of Special Revelation from the primitive preredemptive Special Revelation given in Eden to the close of the New Testament canon.”  Whereas Systematic Theology deals with various topics and what they mean today Biblical theology is concerned with how these topics are developed as the narrative of Scripture unfolds as well as the metanarrative itself.  I read numerous books on Biblical Theology some dealing with topics, like the work by Mark D. Thompson mentioned above, and others dealing with the overarching narrative of Scripture.  This work deals with the overarching narrative of Scripture.  This text is actually taken from lectures delivered by Vos, which gives the work a great sense of flow at the same time it took a while for me to adapt to his writing style.  Vos is thorough and his exegesis is profound.  I look forward to reading this work repeatedly.  For those seeking a simple introductory text to Biblical Theology I would highly recommend According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible by Graeme Goldsworthy (see below).

Honorable Mentions

  • Beale, David O.  In Pursuit of Purity: American Fundamentalism Since 1850 ISBN: 0890843511
    • As the title implies Beale profiles, American fundamentalism the work is very readable and I found it to be particularly informative of an era with which I am not very familiar.  However, I would appreciate it if Beale had provided the reader with a critique of the strengths and weaknesses of this movement.
  • Bevans, Stephen B.  Models of Contextual Theology ISBN: 1570754381
    • Bevans is a Catholic and with that said there are clearly areas where I disagree with him.  His Catholicism aside I found this book very helpful not in understanding how to contextualize theology, as many of his models if applied to a cross-cultural context would result in syncretism, but in providing a framework for discovering indigenous worldviews.  With that said, I would not recommend this book except to very discerning readers.
  • Brock, Charles.  Indigenous Church Planting In Review ISBN: 1885504381
    • This is simply a brief review of Brock’s book mentioned above.
  • Brock, Charles.  Manual for Volunteers
    • Available from Brock’s website this is a fantastic booklet intended to prepare volunteers to go on short-term mission trips.  I would recommend these to any church that is engaged in cross-cultural ministry.
  • Brock, Charles.  Leading a Bible Study by Indirect Methods
    • Used in conjunction with Indigenous Church Planting: A Practical Journey this book will train you to lead Bible studies indirectly so as to prepare indigenes to lead rather than foster dependence upon your leadership as you plant indigenous churches.
  • Bryant, Eric Michael.  Peppermint-Filled Pinatas: Breaking Through Tolerance and Embracing Love ISBN: 0310273846
    • Eric is a Navigator at Mosaic in Los Angeles.  He does not go into detail as to how to present the gospel, or what the gospel entails, he does explain how you are to go about building relationships for the purpose of sharing the gospel.  He does this using personal stories and examples from Scripture.  I appreciate his down-to-earth writing style and the humor with which he writes.  Too often Christians look like the world in that we merely tolerate those who do not think or look like us, Scripture has not called us to toleration, it has commanded us to love; this is the thesis of Bryant’s work.  Because he does not provide the reader with a detailed exposition of the gospel I would recommend reading this book in conjunction with the John Piper book mentioned above or another work that thoroughly explains the gospel.
  • Burnett, David.  Clash of Worlds: What Christians Can Do in a World of Cultures in Conflict ISBN: 1854245708
    • There are several works that I read this year addressing cults and world religions, this work is unique in that rather than focusing on developing a Systematic Theology of Hinduism Burnett deals with various cults and world religions in terms of their underlying worldview.  Because of its uniqueness and his insights as an anthropologist and a theologian, it is worth the read.
  • Clowney, Edmund P.  Preaching and Biblical Theology ISBN: 0875521452
    • This work is extremely brief, only 124 pages, and there were moments of tremendous insight; however, it seemed too disorganized and this detracted from the pleasure of the reading experience.
  • Davis, John Jefferson.  Evangelical Ethics: Issues Facing the Church Today ISBN: 9780875526225
    • This is one of two books on Christian ethics that I read over the past year; both were fantastically researched and outlined in a similar manner.  I was really surprised by both of these works I had expected a quick treatment of what a biblical perspective on certain issues would be and instead found both to be meticulously researched and a tremendous wealth of information.  Either of these books would be a great read.
  • Enns, Paul P. The Moody Handbook of Theology ISBN: 0802434282
    • I only read the introduction and the section on Biblical Theology in this book; however, I greatly enjoyed what I read.  I would recommend this resource to everyone it is fantastic in that it is divided into five sections on Biblical Theology, Systematic Theology, Historical Theology, Dogmatic Theology, and Contemporary Theology.  It is like having five books in one!  Like all books I disagree with him at times however the breadth of topics covered make this a fantastic resource.
  • Galloway, Bryan K.  Traveling Down Their Road: A Workbook for Discovering a People’s Worldview
    • Dr. Galloway is an experienced missiologist and researcher and it shows in this brief, yet extremely thorough, workbook for discovering an individual’s or a culture’s worldview.
  • Garrison, David.  Church Planting Movements: How God is Redeeming a Lost World ISBN: 0974756202
    • I enjoyed the historical aspect of this book as it studies recent church planting movements throughout the world.  One of the sad features of this work is the laughable examples of a church planting movement in North America, although this is the reality in America I would rather him honestly say that such a movement does not exist in North America than see him stretch the paradigm to include the North American examples that he includes.  Overall, I enjoyed this book; if you are looking for a how to manual then this is not the book for you as it is descriptive and not prescriptive.
  • Goldsworthy, Graeme.  According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible ISBN:0830826963
    • You should read this book.  I could have placed this in my top ten for 2007; however, I appreciated Vos’s exegesis more than I appreciated Goldsworthy’s readability.  Goldsworthy provides the reader with a simple and straightforward Biblical Theology.  He is diligent to present the reason for and importance of Biblical Theology.  He does this and presents the overarching storyline of Scripture without using footnotes, endnotes, or anything complicated and scholastic.  If you want to understand the gospel and what God is doing in human history then you need to read this book.  I would caution, however, that his lumping the biblical covenants under one supra-covenant, the covenant of grace, is an incorrect position, though it is a consistent position within his theological heritage.
  • Grudem, Wayne.  Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine ISBN: 0310286700
    • I have really enjoyed reading Grudem’s Systematic Theology for class, I still have a ways to go; however, I appreciate his focus on application and the praise that should result from knowing God as he ends each chapter with a hymn.  I disagree with him at some points but overall this is an extremely readable work that covers the various aspects of theology, as he expounds opposing viewpoints and defends his viewpoint, in a way that is practical and not highly scholastic.
  • Heisler, Greg.  Spirit-Led Preaching: The Holy Spirit’s Role in Sermon Preparation And Delivery ISBN: 0805443886
    • Heisler covers a topic that often receives little to no treatment in works on preaching, namely the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching.  In this, extremely brief yet informative work that details the role of the Holy Spirit in preparing the pastor as he prepares the sermon.  This would be a wonderful supplement to a quality book on sermon preparation.
  • Hesselgrave, David J.  Planting Churches Cross-Culturally: North America and Beyond ISBN: 0801022223
    • The content in this work is some of the best researched and exegeted material on church planting I have read; however, I think several matters of organization are detrimental to this work.  First, he presents the reader with a chart that he calls the “Pauline Cycle” the chart is great and explains how Paul planted churches; however, while he gives the full chart over the course of the book he does this in sections and the reader is never presented with a complete version of the “Pauline Cycle.”  Each chapter is divided into sections on Revelation (exegesis of Scripture), Research (studies in anthropology and sociology), and Reflection (examples of how these principles have been applied in the past).  I would have rather seen the book organized into these three categories so the reader could better understand the complete “Pauline Cycle.”  As it stands the work feels somewhat choppy.
  • Hill, Michael.  The How and Why of Love: An Introduction to Evangelical Ethics         ISBN: 187632645X
    • This is one of two books on Christian ethics that I read over the past year; both were fantastically researched and outlined in a similar manner.  I was really surprised by both of these works I had expected a quick treatment of what a biblical perspective on certain issues would be and instead found both to be meticulously researched and a tremendous wealth of information.  Either of these books would be a great read; however, I enjoyed this work the best.  They both took similar positions so it is a mere preference over writing style so you may very well enjoy the other work more.
  • House, H. Wayne.  Charts of World Religions ISBN: 031020495X
    • This is one of three reference works on world religions and cults; each of these works has their strengths and each has their weaknesses.  Furthermore, there are several discrepancies concerning dates and various other data that arise when comparing these works.  None of these books is a silver bullet I would recommend buying several books on world religions and cults and comparing the data in each.
  • Jensen, Peter.  The Revelation of God (Contours of Christian Theology) ISBN: 0830815384
    • I have enjoyed the works I have read in the Contours of Christian Theology series as they aim to supplement traditional works on systematic theology by covering aspects of various topics that traditional systematic theology works do not cover.  This particular volume focuses on the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the means by which we acquire the knowledge of God.  The knowledge of God is not data acquired by scholastic study.  The knowledge of God is the person of Jesus Christ whom we know in relationship through the gospel.  There are times when I felt Jensen rambled; however, I greatly appreciated this work and continue to return to it as I study the gospel.
  • Kostenberger, Andreas J. and Peter T. O’Brien.  Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission (New Studies in Biblical Theology) ISBN: 0830826114
    • I was thoroughly excited to read this work, namely due to its exegesis of mission in the Old Testament.  This work is a fantastic reference for New Testament exegesis, most of its content is verse-by-verse exposition of mission in the New Testament, so in that sense it is a fantastic work.  However, I was disappointed with its treatment of the Old Testament.  Rather than ask, “What was mission like in the Old Testament and what has occurred that changes that mission into the mission we find in the New Testament?”  They instead ask, “Does New Testament mission find its roots in Old Testament or Intertestamental Judaism?”  Mission finds its roots in God and I had hoped this work would discuss mission in the Old Testament and then explain how the reality of Jesus Christ has transformed mission into what we find in the New Testament.
  • Kraft, Charles H.  Christianity in Culture: A Study in Biblical Theologizing in Cross-Cultural Perspective ISBN: 1570755884
    • I did not think I learned anything from this book and it was an extremely frustrating read.  Since I finished I have returned to it numerous times to quote it in various papers and such.  However, there is a point when you have to spend so much time filtering the water that your time would be better spent drinking from another well.  With that said there are better books to read.
  • Lewis, C. S.  Mere Christianity ISBN: 0060652926
    • Until I began this work, I had never read anything by Lewis besides the Chronicles of Narnia.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mere Christianity Lewis has a way of writing that feels like you are having a conversation with him.  Theologically I have some serious issues with him but as an author, he displays a literary genius that makes him a pleasure to read.  He is prone to rambling and excessive analogizing and his apologetic could be better; however, this is a classic work and will likely be read for generations to come.
  • MacArthur, John.  Philippians ISBN: 0802452620
    • I love John MacArthur and his commentaries are among my favorite due to their practical ministry focused nature.  If you are looking to begin studying the Bible in a more in-depth manner then purchase one of MacArthur’s commentaries to aid you as you study Scripture.  This is one of three commentaries that I am reading as I slowly, due largely to procrastination, work my way through Philippians.
  • Machen, J. Gresham.  Christianity and Liberalism ISBN: 0802811213
    • Machen is profound and easy to read as he addresses early twentieth-century liberalism in this classic work.
  • Martin, Walter and Ravi Zacharias.  The Kingdom of the Cults ISBN: 0764228218
    • This is one of three reference works on world religions and cults; each of these works has their strengths and each has their weaknesses.  Furthermore, there are several discrepancies concerning dates and various other data that arise when comparing these works.  None of these books is a silver bullet I would recommend buying several books on world religions and cults and comparing the data in each.
  • McDowell, Josh and Don Stewart.  Handbook of Today’s Religions ISBN: 0840735014
    • This is one of three reference works on world religions and cults; each of these works has their strengths and each has their weaknesses.  Furthermore, there are several discrepancies concerning dates and various other data that arise when comparing these works.  None of these books is a silver bullet I would recommend buying several books on world religions and cults and comparing the data in each.
  • McManus, Erwin Raphael.  Soul Cravings: An exploration of the Human Spirit ISBN: 0785214941
    • While I have some theological issues with McManus I enjoy listening to him, as he is a great speaker and I have enjoyed reading his previous works.  This book was a completely different story.  I tried to finish this book and I may in the future but could not seem to get through it.  This was not because it was loaded with theological error but it just did not make sense to me for me to begin to evaluate it.  It seemed to ramble continuously with no end or purpose in sight.
  • Murray, Iain H.  Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the  Years 1950 to 2000 ISBN: 0851517838
    • I thoroughly enjoy church history and I greatly enjoyed this book both because Murray is an excellent historian and so much of what he discusses has immediate application to our situation today.  Pastors we need to be encouraging our churches to read this book if we are to understand what it means to be an evangelical and how we, as evangelicals, arrived where we are.  What I appreciate most about Murray’s writing is his healthy criticism and examination of history; we must not merely know history we must learn from it and in this regard he is extremely helpful.
  • Nettles, Tom L. and Rush Bush.  Baptist and the Bible  ISBN: 9780805418323
    • This work is meticulously detailed and extremely thorough as it presents the Baptist position on the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture in the form of mini biographies of Baptists throughout history.  Not only is this the leading work on the subject it is also creatively outlined and the profiles could be read in a one a day devotional type fashion.
  • Niebuhr, H. Richard.  Christ and Culture ISBN: 0061300039
    • Niebuhr provides the reader with five paradigms of how Christ relates to culture.  This is a classic and worth the read.  His paradigms are extremely helpful in understanding how we can relate to culture.  His historical analysis of how various individuals and groups have interacted with their culture is also very helpful.  However, the work suffers because he places the way that various biblical writers interacted with culture at odds, when one needs to realize how each author interacted with culture and then hold these various biblical positions in tension rather than placing them in conflict with one another.
  • Piper, John.  Let the Nations Be Glad! ISBN: 080102613X
    • If you read any book on missions read this one.  Piper writes with a level of intelligence and missiological zeal for the glory of God that is unmatched.  I reread this as Nick Cooper and I were writing the missions Fuel Group for Ignite UK and it was as much a pleasure and challenge as it was the first time I read it.  As a word of caution, I will warn you that if you read this book you may start doing radical things for Jesus!  Did I say that you should read this book yet?  Seriously, read this then read it again and then read it with a friend.
  • Ryken, Leland.  Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were ISBN: 0310325013
    • When reading historical works I enjoy summary but I want to read authors who interact with source material and Ryken does this thoroughly.  In the opening pages of this work he states his aim as letting the Puritans speak for themselves and he does just that as every chapter contains over a hundred quotations from the Puritans and their works.  This work suffers from two shortcomings.  First, as he examines their shortcomings he criticizes them for things that he praises in prior chapters.  Second, he makes no mention of Jonathan Edwards who most would affirm as the last and greatest of the Puritans.
  • Strauch, Alexander.  Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership ISBN:0936083115
    • I think this is the premier work on eldership.  Strauch begins by defining the nature of biblical eldership, he then exposits every passage concerning eldership found in Scripture, and he concludes with two practical chapters on appointing elders and the relationship between the elder and the congregation.
  • Vincent, Marvin R.  A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon (The International Critical Commentary) ISBN: 0567050319
    • The International Critical Commentary series is a scholastic series that is focused on interacting with the Greek text.  I have read sections of various commentaries in this series before and have strong disagreements with those who take critical to mean criticizing the text rather an acute examination of the text.  One aims to find fault the other is interested in the unpacking the truth of Scripture.  Vincent’s volume fits in the later category and so far, his exegesis has been sound and profoundly insightful.  Aside from his interaction with the text itself, his introductory material dealing with the background and history of Philippi has been very helpful in understanding this epistle.
  • Walls, Andrew F.  The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith ISBN: 1570750599
    • This book is a series of journal articles written by Walls and edited for this volume.  Because these are individual articles compiled to form a single work they differ in quality and there is a lack of flow between the articles that one would find between the chapters in a book.  Some of the articles are extremely helpful and others are not but that is the nature of a volume like this.
  • Walvoord, John F.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ ISBN: 0802473091
    • This is one of the best selling commentaries on an extremely difficult book of the Bible and because of this I think deserves our attention.  Walvoord is one of the leading dispensational scholars of our time and he clearly articulates a premillennial dispensational interpretation of Revelation in a way that is both textually focused and theologically oriented.  He writes clearly in a way that will aid all in understanding a very difficult book of the Bible.
  • Wilson, Douglas J.  Persuasions: A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief ISBN: 1885767295
    • Rather than a manual on apologetics, Wilson writes simplistically to demonstrate what Presuppositional Apologetics looks like in practice.  This work is divided into a series of conversations between an individual named Evangelist and individuals of various philosophical persuasions.  I greatly appreciate how he is able to demonstrate a very difficult topic in a way that small children will grasp.  If you have never read a work on apologetics before or you are a seasoned apologist, I would recommend this volume to you.  Parents buy this book, read it for yourself, and read it to your children.  Pastors get this book for your congregation; show them that apologetics is not esoteric, but finds ample application in everyday life.

What I Look Forward to Reading Next Year

My reading goals constantly change as I engage the topics that I hope to study.  This means that I will not read all of these books and I will read many others that are not on this list.  I also have many books that I am reading for school which are not on this list.

  • Allen, Roland.  Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? ISBN: 0802810012
  • Cole, Neil.  Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens ISBN: 078798129X
  • Blaising, Craig A. and Darrell L. Bock.  Progressive Dispensationalism ISBN: 0801022436
  • 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.  Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture ISBN: 9780802847300
  • Lawson, Steven J.  Foundations of Grace 1400 BC – AD 100: A Long Line of Godly Men (Volume One) ISBN: 1567690777
  • Littell, Franklin H.  The Anabaptist View of the Church (Dissent and Nonconformity) ISBN: 157978836X
  • Newbigin, Lesslie.  The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission ISBN: 9780802808295
  • Pratt, Richard L., Jr.  Every Thought Captive: A Study Manual for the Defense of Christian Truth            ISBN: 0875523528
  • Saucy, Robert L.  The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism: The Interface Between Dispensational and Non-Dispensational Theology ISBN: 0310304415

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