My Bookcase Essentials For Every Christian
It’s quite another thing to come up with a list of books that I would recommend that everyone in my congregation should read.
That’s because I believe that part of pastoral gifting is the love of thick, heavy, theological tomes that the average lay reader would consider a year long root canal.
The following are the books I recommend for all Christians who want a deeper and broader knowledge of their faith and family history without needing a hand truck to carry the books from room to room..
1. “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer. It will always be #1…there is simply no other book written for the lay person that provides so much in such a condensed fashion.
2. “18 Words ” by J.I. Packer. Theology has it’s own language with it’s own definitions. To understand the discussions you have to know the language. Nobody makes this as easy and as understandable as Dr. Packer.
3. “Concise Theology” by J.I. Packer. Systematic theology books are large, unwieldy, and often multiple volumes. This is a small one volume “systematic” with one page explanations of all the major doctrines of Christendom. Priceless.
4. “Heroes and Heretics” by Iain D. Campbell. What an amazing little book this is…it gives you an overview of church history one small chapter per century. If you’ve never read any church history, you should, and this is the perfect starter book to do so.
5. “Biblical Eschatology” by Jonathan Menn. This is the only “big” book on the list and it is massive. It is also the single best book on end times theology ever written. Take it a little at a time and then you will understand all the different theories about the Rapture and the Second Coming…it’s worth the effort.
6. “The God of the Mundane” by Matt B. Redmond. This book could actually be anywhere in the top five. Christians who are not in “professional ministry” need to know that their daily vocations are every bit as important to the Body of Christ as those with jobs anointed with the title of “ministry”. I wouldn’t mind if this was the first book they read…
7. “Surprised by Hope” by N.T. Wright. A completely different look at heaven and the age to come that gives you a reason to live before you die…and you don’t have to change your eschatology to embrace the teachings found here.
10. “Pages From Church History, A Guided Tour of Christian Classics” by Stephen Nichols. Nichols is always engaging, always accessible, and always worth reading. This book profiles twelve important figures from church history and the books they are famous for and tells you why you should care about them. Great intro to the subject.
I believe that the Christian who reads these books will have an excellent foundation for understanding both our faith and the family history.
From here, you will have enough information to explore as the Holy Spirit leads, no matter the faith tradition.
They will also serve to inoculate the reader from all manner of foolishness that is taught in the church today.
Whittling down the list took almost as long as reading them…
They are also all available from the Phoenix Preacher bookstore…