At the end of each year I look over what I read the previous year and sort of make a mental note of which books I read that were worth reading again sometime or recommending to others. I thought I’d put it in writing in case you are looking for something to read in the new year.
Reading good Christian books can be very valuable to spiritual growth. But, there are lots of bad books out there – Christian books NOT exempt. Some have really bad & harmful content. Some may not be harmful, but just don’t have much good content. Others have good content that could be said in 10 pages, but instead are 200-page $19.99 deals. Plus, everyone is busy and reading a book can be a decent investment of time. Of course, I haven’t read everything, and which books are helpful to you can be somewhat subject to preference, interest, background, current experience, etc, but, if I can steer someone towards a good book instead of a bad book I will feel that I have done a good thing.
That said, here are a few books I read in 2014 (not in any particular order) that I would recommend to anyone looking for a good Christian book to help them grow in their faith. Maybe you are making some reading resolutions for the new year, and if so then I hope this little list can help you. Also, don’t forget to include the Bible in your reading resolutions! I’m happy to lend out books to those who promise to return them.
Basic Christianity by John Stott: I have really appreciated anything I’ve read by John Stott. This is a great introduction to Christian belief and living that I think would benefit seeker, skeptic, new & seasoned Christians alike.
Is God Anti-Gay? by Sam Allberry: A very biblical and pastoral treatment of a sensitive and often controversial issue. It’s written by a pastor who experiences same-sex attraction and so is committed to singleness and celibacy. So, I think it gives a unique insight to the topic, and is helpful not only to those experiencing similar temptation but also to those wanting to understand or minister to others who may be.
Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung: A good and short introduction to the Doctrine of Scripture, that not only teaches us what the Bible is, but encourages us to read and love our bibles. Did I mention this is short? In fact, you may want to get the kindle edition so as to not feel ripped off by paying for the hard-cover price. It’s only around 120 pages (small pages). But, it’s still good and it’s brevity lends to its clarity and understandability.
The Hole in our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung: OK, I didn’t read this book in 2014. But, I read a different book on the same topic (Antinomianism: Reformed Theology’s Unwelcome Guest) which I’m hesitant to recommend because so much of it was over my head. So, in it’s place, I’m recommending this one. This is a bit of an “debate” that is happening in the reformed world, which you may or may not be interested in, but I think the book is very helpful either way. The good and necessary reaction to legalism has, in my view, at times moved too far in the opposite direction, where the importance of keeping God’s commands has been minimized. Of course, we don’t want to over-react to an over-reaction, but I think this book helps us recover the doctrine of sanctification (growth in righteous living) without diminishing the importance of justification (the free, gracious, imputed righteousness of Christ to us).
3 books by Vaughan Roberts: True Friendship, Authentic Church, and Battles Christians Face. I had never heard of Vaughan Roberts before the summer, but soon enough wanted to get my hands on as much of his writing as I could. These books were all so clear and pastoral that I found them not only easy to read, but also very encouraging in my walk with God. The subject matter of two of those is probably self-explanatory from the title; Authentic Church goes through 1 Corinthians, looking at the issues of that church and applying them to today. Some of the print versions may be hard to get in the US, but the Kindle versions should be easy to find.
Jesus Loves the Little Children by Daniel Hyde: For those wanting to understand why some churches (and our church) baptize infant children of believers. I thought this was the best book I’ve read on the subject.
Baptism & Fullness by John Stott: I had been looking for a book that answered all of my questions about the Holy Spirit, and finally found it. There’s lots of weirdness out there regarding the role of the Holy Spirit. This book answers questions about “Spirit baptism” and the extraordinary gifts (healing & prophecy), along with giving some great insights into the fruit of the Spirit and Spiritual gifts.