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Best Christian Books?

Happy new year!

Apparently, it is our last. Bummer.

End of the world or not, I’ll be reading some books in the coming year. I imagine you will as well.

In an effort to ease my way back into the occasional book post around here, I wanted to kick around a couple of thoughts.

A friend recently asked me what books I would put in the “must read” category for every serious Christian. This is a difficult endeavor for me because there is a ton that goes into recommending a book (much less a list of books) to someone. But I’m going to give it a go.

In no particular order…

Augustine – Confessions // Can’t overstate how important this 4th/5th century guy was for the shaping of our understanding of Christianity.

C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity // This book was pivotal for helping me (and countless others) come to terms with faith in Christ.

John Stott – Basic Christianity // Ditto above.

Richard Foster – The Celebration of Discipline // Want to grow? This one rings as true as when it was written.

John Piper – Desiring God // If you want to understand the thinking of one of most influential Christian leaders in America today, this is the book to dive into.

Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart – How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth // This book stands unrivaled in the way it combines clarity, insight and usefulness. The things you’ll learn about biblical interpretation from this book will stick with you years after you’ve set it down.

Jonathan Edwards – Religious Affections // Most important American theologian… ever.

Karl Barth – Evangelical Theology // I don’t know if this is a bigger indictment on the irrelevance of theology or the anti-intellectualism of the church, but it is certainly a sign of our times that the most influential theologian of the 20th century is virtually unknown in the church.

John Bunyan – Pilgrim’s Progress // True confession… I’ve never read this.

Dallas Willard – The Divine Conspiracy // Despite its cryptic title, this book is extraordinarily helpful in understanding what it means to be a Christ follower.

N.T. Wright – The Challenge of Jesus // While we are talking about Jesus, let’s make sure we aren’t just following a Jesus of our own making. This book helps to dere-construct a picture of Jesus against the backdrop of first-century Jewish expectation. By the way, just in case we’ve forgotten, Jesus was a first-century Jew.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer – The Cost of Discipleship // Must read. Period.

Ok, so this is the list tonight. Ask me tomorrow and it would undoubtedly look different.

One glaring issue… all the books are written by men, and with the the possible exception of Augustine, white men. I don’t want to probe the depths of what that means right now. So let’s just chalk it up to my own myopic reading patterns and call it a day.

Not sure who has stuck around after the half-year hiatus I found myself on, but I would love to hear any feedback.

Question on the table… What’s the most helpful Christian book you’ve ever read?

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  1. jerusalem
    January 3, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    funny, my list is pretty much all white women…Anne Lamott, Kathleen Norris, Madeline L’Engle, Phyllis Tickle…

  2. Ines McBryde
    January 3, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions! One of my goals is to read one new book per month in 2012 & u mentioned a couple I’ve wanted to read. Love Bonhoeffer & Foster, too!

    *ehem* here’s a book by an anointed lady if u wanted to diversify ur reading a little? To answer ur question on one.of the most helpful books I’ve read: Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. :)

  3. 4housman
    January 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Love your list! Here are a few more to consider… Catherine Marshall, Beth Moore, Hannah Hurnard, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Amy Carmichael, Corrie Ten Boom, Francine Rivers, Priscilla Shirer.

  4. frank
    January 20, 2012 at 9:22 am

    c´mon why mention Joice Mayer o Priscila Shirer when you ate talking about Bonhoffher, Agustin and CS Lewis or Barth?

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