In a previous post, I indicated all of the books I read in 2015. In that post, I promised I would, in the future, write a post to communicate the best of the crop of books I read last year. Well, the future is now. Here are the top books I read last year:
#5 - Rejoicing in Christ by Michael Reeves
Michael Reeves, president and professor of theology at Union School of Theology, is becoming a favourite author of mine. Though I have read only two of his books, both are excellent. Rejoicing in Christ is, in the author’s words, is a book about “enjoying [Christ], reveling in his all-sufficiency for us, and considering all that he is: how he reveals such an unexpectedly kind god, how he makes, defines–how he is–the good news, and how he not only gives shape to but is himself the shape of the Christian life.” Reeves ably leads the reader to rejoice in Christ through delightful writing and intriguing and illuminating illustrations. This is a great follow-up to Delighting in the Trinity.
#4 – The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller
Author Tim Keller seems to be on quite a roll with his writing projects. It seems each new volume he publishes quickly becomes a “go-to” book on whatever its topic is. The Meaning of Marriage lives up to the high expectations readers have for the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. While interacting with secular resources about marriage, Keller describes, defines, and delineates marriage in an instructive and interesting manner. His chapter entitled “Loving the Stranger” is worth the price of the book alone. I intend to encourage all couples who come to me for marriage counselling to read–at least–this section of the book.
#3 – Is God Anti-Gay? By Sam Allberry; God and the Gay Christian? Ed. Albert Mohler; Compassion Without Compromise by Adam T. Barr and Ron Citlau; What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung
As you can see, the third slot in my best books of 2015 list belongs to a collection of books around a controversial and contentious issue; homosexuality and Christianity. I benefitted immensely from taking the time to read and learn about this topic from an evangelical perspective. Though many in our society will disagree where these authors land on the issues and questions facing churches today, they all explain their positions clearly and succinctly. The books by DeYoung and Allberry, in particular, are books I recommend first for those looking for answers.
#2 – The Prodigal Church by Jared C. Wilson
For a couple of years I had been looking for a book that critiqued the attractional-model church. To be more precise, I was looking for a book that engaged the ideologies of consumerism and pragmatism that seem to be so prevalent in North American churches. Jared Wilson, Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Managing Editor of For The Church, delivered the book I had been searching for. Wilson challenges common approaches to “doing church” through his examination of techniques that are used to reach people. Many will disagree with his finding, but I do not think they will call him unfair in is attempt to contrast current practices with biblical approaches to things such as growth, evangelism and philosophy of ministry. I found The Prodigal Church very helpful
#1 – The Incarnation of God by John C. Clark and Marcus Peter Johnson
My top book for 2015 slid on to my list at the very end of the year. In preparing for a Christmas sermon series on the incarnation, I came across a Kindle sale on this book by Clark and Johnson. My very favourite books, the ones I find change me and challenge me the most, are books that combine deep, mind-stretching theology with heartfelt, affection-raising truths in a way that elicit both awe and adoration. The Incarnation of God is that kind of a book. The authors examine many different, and some unexpected, implication of this doctrine which some theologians consider the greatest of all miracles. The impact of the incarnation is impossible to exhaustively calculate, and this book gives the reader a sense of the enormity of the truth that Christ took on flesh and lived among us. This was a superb read at Christmas time, but would be equally beneficial regardless of when it was read. I highly recommend it.