Pastor Jim's Recommended Reading
TEN BOOKS THAT EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD READ
The Knowledge of the Holy
by A.W. Tozer
What is God really like? How important is it for us to have an accurate understanding of his nature and character? A.W. Tozer answers these questions and helps us to see the beauty and majesty of the Almighty through meditations on his incomprehensibility, eternality, omnipotence and love. A short but powerful theological masterpiece.
Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians
by James Gilchrist Lawson
A phenomenally encouraging book. Don't worry about reading it from beginning to end. Just pick out a chapter here or there and slowly read through these simple but powerful biographies. You will find your relationship with God to be dramatically deepened if you do. This is a book that anyone with even a junior high education can read and profit from enormously.
You Can Change
by Tim Chester
How does a believer grow to become more like Jesus? In this very readable and practical book Tim Chester explains how it is done, using examples that everyone can relate to. This is probably the best book on Christian discipleship available in the English language. The only thing it lacks is a complete discussion of how to change our beliefs. To make up that deficiency, take a peek at Moreland and Issler’s book In Search of a Confident Faith.
In Search of a Confident Faith
by J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler
Moreland and Issler carefully explain the role of knowledge and belief in the Christian’s life, as well as the nature of true faith. The first three chapters of the book alone are worth its price, especially the section on how we can change and strengthen our beliefs. It also has some very encouraging chapters on prayer and seeking God for guidance in making important decisions.
by Nancy Pearcey
If you wonder why religion and morality are always (or, almost always) assumed to be mere matters of opinion (and not fact), you should read this book. Pearcey does an incredible job of outlining the history of Christianity and culture in the modern era, explaining how we got to the place where theological truth has been relegated to the realm of personal preference, and what can be done to reverse this trend and revitalize the church.
by C.S. Lewis
A very enlightening, interesting, and entertaining overview of Christianity. This simple, yet very profound book (that was originally delivered as a series of radio broadcasts) has proven to be a classic. Lewis' theological and philosophical maturity are only matched by his ability to make complex concepts simple enough for a child to grasp.
I Once Was Lost
by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp
The best book on evangelism that has been written in the past 50 years. If you have never shared your faith because you feel ill-equipped or intimidated, you should do yourself a favor and read this book. And even if you feel that you are an expert in evangelism, there is a lot to learn from Everts and Schaupp as they analyze thousands and thousands of conversion stories seeking to discover the most effective way to lead people into the kingdom.
The Pleasures of God
by John Piper
Have you ever wondered what could possibly bring pleasure to an infinite mind, a being who is totally omniscient? Think about it: in childhood we are endlessly amazed at even the simplest things. But as we get older and our minds expand we find ourselves easily bored with things that used to enthrall us. If that is the case, what could possibly bring pleasure to an all-knowing God? John Piper takes us on a tour of the pleasures of God. This unique work, bound to be a classic, just like Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy can provide a wonderful cleansing effect on the soul.
by John Piper
John Piper vigorously argues that our joy and happiness are very serious business. If we will find real pleasure in God, then our taste buds will lose their relish for sin. If you only read the first two chapters of the book, it will be well worth your time and money.
How the News Makes Us Dumb
by C. John Sommerville
What is more important to pursue: wisdom or information? Sadly, many Christians think that paying close attention to the news (i.e., simply absorbing information) is a good and virtuous thing to do. This short but persuasive book by an expert in the history of media demonstrates the opposite: carefully following the news is very counterproductive to those who wish to be wise and have an accurate perspective of what really matters in life.
ALMOST IN THE TOP TEN
These books are not for everyone, but they are so good they have to be mentioned
The Soul of Science
by Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton
Pearcey and Thaxton forcefully argue that Christianity was the "mother" of the modern scientific revolution. Why did the scientific revolution only happen in Western Europe and not China or ancient Greece? The answer is found in these pages. The short answer: it is because the Christian worldview provides certain intellectual elements that are necessary for getting science off the ground.
by Greg Koukl
A very useful book giving you a "big picture" strategy for talking about your faith with unbelievers. If you get nervous when spiritual subjects are brought up in conversation and are always afraid that you don't know what to say, then you should read this book and watch the DVD series (over and over again).
Amusing Ourselves to Death
by Neil Postman
A seminal work in the field of media and culture. Postman delves into all the different ways that television has dumbed down our culture and made public discourse (especially politics) into a silly circus where the man with the best ideas is usually ignored because he is not nearly as stimulating as the man with the nicest haircut.
How to Read the Bible for All its Worth
by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart
Explains the best way to read and understand the Bible. Fee and Stuart go through every part of the Bible and outline what is necessary to understand each book in terms of historical background and literary style. They also give advice on finding a good translation and recommend commentaries to help you comprehend God's word better.
Love Your God With All Your Mind
by J.P. Moreland
We live in an age when Christianity is considered intellectually-defective. Part of the reason for this is that Christians have retreated from the intellectual battlefield and given false belief systems a victory by default. However, a healthy intellectual life is not an option for Christians, it is a duty. If we are going to be like Jesus we must think critically, we must study, and we must learn to argue our case persuasively.
I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life
by Greg Ten Elshof
This book came very close to making it in the top ten, even though it was written in the last year. Self-deception is a massively important topic for Christians to understand, because it affects our everyday lives, well, every day. Ten Elshof's work is not only very readable and moving, it is very amusing as he often uses his own life and foibles to illustrate his points.
Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview
by J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig
Not for the faint of heart. This is probably as densely written as any book you have ever read. But it is possibly the most important book that has been published in the past 100 years, bar none. I predict that it will never go out of print and will have an influence for centuries. Moreland and Craig, as simply as they can, explain the basics of philosophy and how, when done properly, it demonstrates that Christianity is the most plausible worldview available. If you find yourself regularly struggling with questions about your faith that you have never heard anyone else asking, that is probably a sign that you are getting philosophical, and that a book like this is for you.
The NIV Application Commentary
Various Authors (published by Zondervan)
Even though they are written in non-technical language (with the layperson in mind) these books do not suffer in quality or sacrifice scholarship in the least bit. The typical format involves taking a small section of scripture, explaining it in its original context (to get at the original meaning), and then applying it to life in today's cultural setting. (David Garland's volume on Mark and Scot McKnight's volume on Galatians are among the cream of the crop.)