Jeff Robinson's Bookshelf

Books . Movies . Music . More
Jeff Robinson's Bookshelf
Jeff Robinson's Bookshelf
Books . Movies . Music . More

Jeff Robinson

Senior Editor

My Current Favorites

Five books, movies, or songs influencing me now
Small-Town America: Finding Community, Shaping the Future
Small-Town America: Finding Community, Shaping the Future
by Robert Wuthnow
WHY I LIKE IT
As John Mellencamp sang, I was born in a small town and I was reared in a small town, taught to fear Jesus in that same small town. Americans have always been fascinated with rural towns, only most of us don't want to live there. Why do people stay in small towns and how do they view themselves? Wuthnow's work is a fascinating analysis of places like my hometown and the people who inhabit them.
In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis
In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis
by Kenneth J. Stewart
WHY I LIKE IT
Did evangelicals exist before the Reformation? Historian Ken Stewart argues from the primary sources a resounding "yes." This well-researched, well-written monograph shows the marks of evangelical Christianity existed long before Luther and Calvin.
The Religious Life of Robert E. Lee (Library of Religious Biography (LRB))
The Religious Life of Robert E. Lee (Library of Religious Biography (LRB))
by R. David Cox
WHY I LIKE IT
I've always been fascinated by Robert E. Lee. Cox examines the man in light of his commitment to Anglicanism.
Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End
Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End
by David Gibson
WHY I LIKE IT
Preaching through Ecclesiastes beginning the first Sunday of 2018. This book is part of my prep.
The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville (Vintage Civil War Library)
The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville (Vintage Civil War Library)
by Shelby Foote
WHY I LIKE IT
It's a classic on the War Between the States, and I'm finally tackling the trilogy as a 3-year project. If you love reading about the Civil War, this is a must-read.

My Essentials

My all-time favorite books, movies and music
Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical
Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical
by Robert Duncan Culver
WHY I LIKE IT
Perhaps the must underrated ST in publication from a Reformed perspective. Culver's work is well-written and includes much historical theology. Somewhat unique because it's written from a baptistic perspective, a reminder that Baptists in the confessional Reformed tradition need to be writing more systematic theologies.
Baptists and the Bible
Baptists and the Bible
by L. Russ Bush,Tom Nettles
WHY I LIKE IT
This is how Southern Baptists won the battle for the Bible and why it means everything.
Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry
Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry
 
WHY I LIKE IT
The best book I've ever read for young pastors, period.
2,000 Years of Christ's Power Vol. 1: The Age of the Early Church Fathers (Grace Publications)
2,000 Years of Christ's Power Vol. 1: The Age of the Early Church Fathers (Grace Publications)
by Nick Needham
WHY I LIKE IT
This is volume 1, but I would include all four volumes (there will eventually be a fifth) here. If you are only going to read on survey of church history, make it this one. The most unique and lively survey I've ever read (and as a professor, I've read most of them). Now available in hardcover editions. Simply spectacular in its wedding of rigorous historiography and lively, compelling prose.
The Forgotten Spurgeon
The Forgotten Spurgeon
by Iain H. Murray
WHY I LIKE IT
This was the first book about Spurgeon I ever read and it instilled in me a deep hunger for more Spurgeon. Nearly 20 years later, I am still feasting on the great British Baptist preacher. Murray's readable and relatively brief volume is a great point of entry on Spurgeon.
Historians' Fallacies : Toward a Logic of Historical Thought
Historians' Fallacies : Toward a Logic of Historical Thought
by David Hackett Fischer
WHY I LIKE IT
If you are learning to research and write history from primary source material, until you've read this book here' my advice: Don't do it! Stop, buy this book and heed its wise words. Fischer's excellent volume will spare you the acrimony of commandeering history to support a paper-thin thesis. Fischer guides the reader through the many ways history is often used in dishonest and inconsistent ways, and he shows you a much more excellent way to research and write about the past.
A History of Western Philosophy and Theology
A History of Western Philosophy and Theology
by John M. Frame
WHY I LIKE IT
A unique resource from Frame that is a feast for those who love theology, worldview, and historical theology. Frame rightly combines the three and shows in significant depth how Christian theology and ethics have developed in the context of a world at war against it for the past 2,000 years.
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism
 
WHY I LIKE IT
This book makes a powerful and convincing case--biblically, theologically, historically, practically--for complementarianism. It is the place to begin if you are engaging this issue for the first time.
The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: With a Memoir of His Life (3 volumes).
The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: With a Memoir of His Life (3 volumes).
by Andrew. Fuller
WHY I LIKE IT
Andrew Fuller is one of the great lights in Baptist history who has become obscure today. This edition of the works shows why he is one of the most important pastor-theologians in Baptist history.
Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism
Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism
by Timothy Keller
WHY I LIKE IT
Keller is one of the most gifted preachers in modern evangelicalism at bridging the gap between God's Word and contemporary culture. This book goes along way in showing ordinary pastors like me how to do it with greater skill and fidelity to Scripture.
The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision
The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision
by Kevin J. Vanhoozer,Owen Strachan
WHY I LIKE IT
This book has helped breath new life into a discussion of the nature of pastoral ministry, defining it biblically and theologically and not pragmatically. Vanhoozer and Strachan issue a clarion call for pastors in the tradition of the reformers and Puritans to return to our pulpits.
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
by Roland H. Bainton
WHY I LIKE IT
The best and most lively account of Luther's life and doctrine, period. If you are beginning to study Luther, begin here. Bainton paints a compelling and sympathetic picture of the great Reformer's life. I have read it twice and am reading it again this Reformation season.
The Rare Jewel Of Christian Contentment
The Rare Jewel Of Christian Contentment
by Jeremiah Burroughs
WHY I LIKE IT
Contentment is a key to mature Christian living and Jeremiah Burroughs shows the reader how to find it in Christ alone. This book itself is a rare jewel.
The Christian's Reasonable Service 4 volume set (4 Volume Set)
The Christian's Reasonable Service 4 volume set (4 Volume Set)
by Wilhelmus a' Brackel
WHY I LIKE IT
Joel Beeke once said if he were to be stranded on a deserted island and could have one set of books this would be it. It's easy to see why. A'Brackel is a bit obscure, but he writes from a warm-hearted Puritan/Calvinistic theology that is heavily weighted toward pastoral application. One of the great diamonds in the rough among Christian books.
Reformed Dogmatics (4 Volume Set)
Reformed Dogmatics (4 Volume Set)
by Herman Bavinck
WHY I LIKE IT
One of the best sets available that teases out Reformed theology. An edifying and deeply informative read, a work to be enjoyed slowly and thoughtfully.
Created in God's Image
Created in God's Image
by Anthony A. Hoekema
WHY I LIKE IT
See my words on the other two books in this excellent trilogy. This one's on the doctrine of man as the title suggests.
Saved by Grace
Saved by Grace
by Anthony A. Hoekema
WHY I LIKE IT
Excellent treatment of soteriology. Well-written and winsome. The entire trilogy is a must-read for those who want to learn more about Reformed theology.
The Bible and the Future
The Bible and the Future
by Anthony A. Hoekema
WHY I LIKE IT
Best book I've read on the end times, period. Winsome, balanced, biblical.
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief
by John M. Frame
WHY I LIKE IT
One of the best contemporary systematic theologies from a Van Tillian theologian. Frame gives the reader an exhaustive (not exhausting!) view of his perspectivalist theological method.
The Mortification of Sin (Unabridged)
The Mortification of Sin (Unabridged)
by John Owen
WHY I LIKE IT
The most readable and useful of Owen's works and there are many that are useful (not as many that are readable).
The Bondage of the Will
The Bondage of the Will
by Martin Luther
WHY I LIKE IT
Luther's classic argument for the sinfulness of man and the bondage of the will.
City of God (Penguin Classics)
City of God (Penguin Classics)
by Augustine of Hippo
WHY I LIKE IT
Thick, tough, but worth the work. Learn why Christians could not have sacked Rome and why the Christian is simultaneously a citizen of the kingdom of man and (ultimately) the kingdom of God.
Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)
Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)
by Saint Augustine
WHY I LIKE IT
Get the Pine-Coffin translation, it i's the most lively and readable. Best written testimony in Christian history. One of the first Christian primary sources I read.
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
by Eric Metaxas
WHY I LIKE IT
Perhaps the best biography I've ever read. The author does a fine job of setting the context and giving the reader a clear picture of the hatred that nearly ruined Germany.
I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson
I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson
by Jackie Robinson,Alfred Duckett
WHY I LIKE IT
An in-depth account of the hellish racism Robinson faced while facing down Jim Crowe in Major League Baseball. Robinson was an important, but often unaccounted for, figure in the civil rights movement in America.
Koppett's Concise History of Major League Baseball
Koppett's Concise History of Major League Baseball
by Leonard Koppett
WHY I LIKE IT
Every American boy should know about the National Pastime. Koppett is a hall-of-fame baseball writer whose one-volume history is a good place to start.
Mere Christianity
Mere Christianity
by C. S. Lewis
WHY I LIKE IT
The first serious Christian book I read about 20 years ago. Launched me on a journey that's been pretty amazing.
Van Til's Apologetic
Van Til's Apologetic
by Greg L. Bahnsen
WHY I LIKE IT
Don't read Van Til, his writing are, as C. H. Spurgeon once wrote of John Gill, a continent of mud. Bahnsen will exegete Van Til's apologetic method for you with clarity and conviction.
Gagging of God, The
Gagging of God, The
by D. A. Carson
WHY I LIKE IT
Giant book, but well worth the time you will put in to read it. Carson shows the result of rejecting both metanarratives in general and the greatest metanarrative of them all, the gospel.
How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil
How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil
by D. A. Carson
WHY I LIKE IT
Every Christian will suffer and Carson tells us how God will use it to redeem us and bring glory to himself. Alongside The Gagging of God, this is my favorite Carson work.
A Body of Divinity (Body of Practical Divinity)
A Body of Divinity (Body of Practical Divinity)
by Thomas Watson
WHY I LIKE IT
For the practical application of theology written in picturesque language, few are better than the great Puritan, Watson.
Cardiphonia
Cardiphonia
by John Newton
WHY I LIKE IT
John Newton's excellent pastoral letters. These letters are Pauline in their exposition of the Bible, theology, and warm-hearted, experiential application. The former slave holder is clearly amazed at God's grace.
Jonathan Edwards: A Life
Jonathan Edwards: A Life
by George M. Marsden
WHY I LIKE IT
The best biography of Edwards, period.
Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography
Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography
by Iain H. Murray
WHY I LIKE IT
Read this one and also Marsden's magisterial biography and you'll have everything you need on Edwards. Then, go, tackle Edwards, but be warned: he's not for the faint-of-heart.
Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones - 1899-1981, The
Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones - 1899-1981, The
by Iain H. Murray
WHY I LIKE IT
Get the two-volume edition. Takes you inside the life, ministry, and theology of one of the great ministers of the past 100 years.
The Religious Affections
The Religious Affections
by Jonathan Edwards
WHY I LIKE IT
Want to sort the wheat from the chaff in religious experience? Edwards is an expert guide.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones
WHY I LIKE IT
In my opinion, these collected sermons equate the best commentary on Jesus's famous sermon available from a Reformed evangelical perspective. Deeply edifying and practical, this is how theology should be done for the local church.
Spiritual Depression (ISBN: 0-8028-1387-9)
Spiritual Depression (ISBN: 0-8028-1387-9)
 
WHY I LIKE IT
A biblical remedy and expert pastoral council for a far-too common ailment among evangelical Christians.
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63
by Taylor Branch
WHY I LIKE IT
The entire trilogy by Taylor Branch sets the civil rights movement in bold relief of the context of a volatile 1950s/60s cultural milieu.
Civil War a Narrative; 3 Volumes: Fort Sumter to Perryville; Fredericksburg to Meridian; Red River to Appomattox
Civil War a Narrative; 3 Volumes: Fort Sumter to Perryville; Fredericksburg to Meridian; Red River to Appomattox
by Shelby Foote
WHY I LIKE IT
Shelby Foote is one of the preeminent historians of the Southern U.S. and this is his magnum opus. The Civil War trilogy reads like a novel.
The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings (the Hobbit / the Fellowship of the Ring / the Two Towers / the
The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings (the Hobbit / the Fellowship of the Ring / the Two Towers / the
by J.R.R. Tolkien
WHY I LIKE IT
These books need no explanation. It's Tolkien. It's fantasy. Nuff said.
By His Grace and for His Glory: A Historical Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life
By His Grace and for His Glory: A Historical Theological, and Practical Study of the Doctrines of Grace in Baptist Life
by Thomas J. Nettles
WHY I LIKE IT
The book (and the teacher) that convinced me that that I was (1) Reformed, and (2) a Baptist. The updated, 25th anniversary edition of this book shows why, as the great Georgia Baptist father once wrote, to be a faithful Baptist is to be a Calvinist.
Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon
by Tom J. Nettles
WHY I LIKE IT
Nettles has produced the ultimate theological biography of the great lion of the pulpit in 19th-century England. It is a long book, but worth the work.
A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life
A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life
by J. I. Packer
WHY I LIKE IT
Packer shows how the Puritan vision of the Christian life represents the apex of post-Reformation evangelical piety and maturity.
Shepherding a Child's Heart
Shepherding a Child's Heart
by Tedd Tripp
WHY I LIKE IT
A compelling guide to gospel-centered discipline for your children.
Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were
Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were
by Leland Ryken
WHY I LIKE IT
An insightful and delightful basic intro to the Puritans and why they ought to be read by Christians today.
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Publisher: Crossway Books
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Publisher: Crossway Books
by John Piper
WHY I LIKE IT
This multi-author work exegetes the biblical complementation vision and demonstrates why the issues are so important.
Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set)
Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion (2 Volume Set)
by John Calvin
WHY I LIKE IT
The beginning of systematic theology by one of the great minds and hearts in the history of Christianity. Calvin wrote in plain language, so this is a surprisingly easy and edifying read.
Knowing God
Knowing God
by J. I. Packer
WHY I LIKE IT
This is a profound account of the doctrine of God written in non-technical language. An excellent way to put a fellow believer on the path to reading more advanced theological treatises.
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name
by Sally Lloyd-Jones
WHY I LIKE IT
Sally Lloyd-Jones sets the stories of Scripture in the larger context of redemptive history in an ultra-kid friendly manner. The result is that she teaches children that the Bible is all about God's redeeming love for sinners in Christ.
The Pilgrim's Progress
The Pilgrim's Progress
by John Bunyan
WHY I LIKE IT
A good new edition of PP, without Part II, but includes an excellent mini-biography of Bunyan by John Piper.
Holiness
Holiness
by J.C. Ryle
WHY I LIKE IT
Ryle's work is the classic expression of the Reformed doctrine of sanctification. Ryle wrote to counter the higher life movement of the late-19th century which posited a decidedly passive vision for Christian living.
Baptist Foundations: Church Government for an Anti-Institutional Age
Baptist Foundations: Church Government for an Anti-Institutional Age
 
WHY I LIKE IT
If you are a Baptist and don't understand why, this book will provide strong biblical rationale why you are and should remain, what one 17th century Church of England persecutor of separatists called, "that sect that calls themselves Baptists."

My Bookshelf Archive

my archived books, movies, music, and more
Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World
Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World
by Eric Metaxas
WHY I LIKE IT
It's Luther. It's Metaxas. It's a combination I don't want to miss. I doubt it'll supplant Bainton as my favorite Luther bio. If you have time to read only one, read Bainton. Although I am only a portion of the way into the book, Metaxas seems to hold a curious desire to demythologize Luther and key parts of his narrative such as the 95 theses incident and the like. So far, I'd put Bainton in the lead by several furlongs.
Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture
Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture
by David Murray
WHY I LIKE IT
Burnout is an ever-present enemy of those in ministry, particularly those of us who are tri-vocational. This book is helping me to pace myself and avoid the abyss of depression and anxiety. Highly recommended.
The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War
The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War
by H. W. Brands
WHY I LIKE IT
The tenuous relationship between Douglas MacArthur and Harry Truman brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, but the story hasn't been often told. Brands writes history like a novelist and the drama builds as he toggles back and forth between these two massive personalities and their disagreement that jeopardized world peace, a technique that makes the book difficult to put down.
The Game Must Go On: Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray, and the Great Days of Baseball on the Home Front in WWII
The Game Must Go On: Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray, and the Great Days of Baseball on the Home Front in WWII
by John Klima
WHY I LIKE IT
Major League Baseball nearly ceased to exist during World War II as the game's most luminous stars, including Hank Greenberg, Ted Williams, Bob Feller and Joe DiMaggio left the game and answered the call to duty in serving their country. The game soldiered on, populated by replacement players such as the one-armed St. Louis Browns outfielder Pete Gray. The author is an excellent historian of both baseball and World War II and his lively prose tells this important story well. World War II's depletion of the big leagues played a key role in Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color barrier in 1947, a seldom-made connection which the author teases out.
The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton
The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton
by William E. Leuchtenburg
WHY I LIKE IT
I've always admired Leuchtenburg as a presidential historian. This book examines the personalities and conduct of each president of the twentieth century in a well-written book, with each profile possessing significant depth.
The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House
The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House
by Nancy Gibbs,Michael Duffy
WHY I LIKE IT
Fascinating read on Billy Graham and his spiritual counsel to presidents from Truman to George W. Bush and his audience with these men and their families in the wake of seismic events such as the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11.
A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century
A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century
by William F. Buckley Jr.
WHY I LIKE IT
My first job at a newspaper at age 19 was writing and editing obituaries. I was always intrigued by Buckley's obits and this unique collection shows both his ability as a writer and his excellence as a journalist. A unique book.
Kindled Fire: How the methods of CH Spurgeon can help your preaching
Kindled Fire: How the methods of CH Spurgeon can help your preaching
by Zack Eswine
WHY I LIKE IT
An examination of Spurgeon's preaching with application to mine? Written by Zack Eswine? Irresistible!
Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero
Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero
by Michael G. Long,Chris Lamb
WHY I LIKE IT
Having written much about Jackie Robinson and his faith, it will be interesting to see if these writers pitch Robinson as an evangelical or a more liberal Christian. My guess is the latter, but I'll suspend judgment. Rightly told, this is the real story behind Robinson, Branch Rickey and the breaking of the color barrier in baseball.
Theologies of the American Revivalists: From Whitefield to Finney
Theologies of the American Revivalists: From Whitefield to Finney
by Robert W. Caldwell III
WHY I LIKE IT
Is there a theology of revival that dominates evangelicalism? No. Caldwell shows that there are almost as many theologies of revival as there were revivalists during the awakenings and why that's important today.
Cardiphonia, or the Utterance of the Heart: In the Course of a Real Correspondence (Classic Reprint)
Cardiphonia, or the Utterance of the Heart: In the Course of a Real Correspondence (Classic Reprint)
by John Newton
WHY I LIKE IT
John Newton is hands down the best writer of pastoral letters in the Reformed tradition. His letters demonstrate the beautiful truth of William Ames' definition of theology as "the art of living well." Cardiphonia shows why theology is a spiritual nuclear warhead--rightly applied, it will change the landscape of your life for time and eternity. As part of my devotional exercises, I am reading at least one Newton letter a day. As both a pastor and a follower of Christ, it is strong medicine for my wayward heart.
Letting Go: Rugged Love for Wayward Souls
Letting Go: Rugged Love for Wayward Souls
by Dave Harvey,Paul Gilbert
WHY I LIKE IT
What are we to do when a child or friend rebels against the faith they once purported to believe? Dave Harvey and Paul Gilbert offer wide, compelling counsel on how to show love to the prodigal that is both tough and tender, the reflects both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God.
12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You
12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You
by Tony Reinke
WHY I LIKE IT
I have lived 80 percent of my life without a smart phone, so I realize the device that seems tethered to me at all times is changing my attention span, my ability to think in a linear fashion and perhaps even my affections for God. Tony's work is helping me to understand how to recover healthy habits of the brain without throwing away what is otherwise an incredibly helpful piece of technology.
Women of the Reformation: In France and England
Women of the Reformation: In France and England
by Roland Bainton
WHY I LIKE IT
Women played critical roles in the Protestant Reformation, but their contributions too often to unnoticed. With this volume, which is part of a series on women of the Reformation, Bainton goes a long way toward remedying that lack. Bainton's writing always lives and breathes and his books will never cure your insomnia.
AMERICAN LION: Andrew Jackson in the White House
AMERICAN LION: Andrew Jackson in the White House
by Jon Meacham
WHY I LIKE IT
America's first populist president can perhaps help us understand our new president. There are few who are better at telling the stories of our presidents' lives than Jon Meacham.
Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk
Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk
by Michelle DeRusha
WHY I LIKE IT
We know a lot about Luther and a little about Katharina. We don't know much about their marriage. This excellent, lively book fills the gap.
God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ (Foundations of Evangelical Theology)
God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ (Foundations of Evangelical Theology)
by Stephen J. Wellum
WHY I LIKE IT
My dear friend Steve Wellum has written one of the best contemporary books on Christology I have read. It is engages in compelling fashion current trends that deny the Definition of Chalcedon and boldly reasserts Jesus Christ as the church has historically confessed him in both his person and work. Best of all, this volume is winsome, well-written, and pastoral, reminding readers that theology is, at its root, the art of living well.
Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation
Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation
by D. A. Carson
WHY I LIKE IT
My prayer life needs to improve and this book is the best encouragement in print (along with Keller's) toward that end.
Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior
Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior
by Arthur Herman
WHY I LIKE IT
My father was a member of the 101st Airborne in WWII. He jumped at Normandy and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He preferred Omar Bradley to "Dugout Doug" MacArthur whom he considered supremely egotistical and Patton, whom he considered too "showy." This biography provides a different perspective on MacArthur.
Zeal without Burnout
Zeal without Burnout
by Christopher Ash
WHY I LIKE IT
Balance is a word one often hears in ministry, yet it is missing from the lives of far too many pastors and the resulting wreckage is palpable. Ash's book is a brief but compelling reminder that doing ministry to the glory of God doesn't necessarily mean 70-hour weeks and driving oneself over the cliff of a nervous breakdown. This little volume shows us a more excellent way.
Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson
Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson
by S. C. Gwynne
WHY I LIKE IT
To this point, my favorite biography of the great Confederate general was that of R. L. Dabney. I have read many reviews that have raved about this newer biography and am finding them justified.
Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification
Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification
by Sinclair B. Ferguson
WHY I LIKE IT
It is true there are a glut of great books, even classics, on the subject of personal holiness: from the timeless "Holiness" by J. C. Ryle, to the underrated "Holiness by Grace" from Bryan Chapell to virtually the entire corpus of works from the late Jerry Bridges. Ferguson's new book is certain to take a place alongside those famous works as a meaty, thought-provoking, and of course, deeply biblical examination of how to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.
Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical
Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical
by Timothy Keller
WHY I LIKE IT
When it comes to proclaiming to gospel to a skeptical generation, there simply is no one better than Tim Keller. If you want to equip yourself and your fellow church members to engage the contemporary culture with the gospel, read this book, then buy several copies and give them away.
Gilead: A Novel
Gilead: A Novel
by Marilynne Robinson
WHY I LIKE IT
I have been wanting to read this book for years and virtually every colleague and friend in the ministry has commended it to me. Robinson's prose is beautiful and the story is already helping me to become a better pastor.
John Bunyan and the Grace of Fearing God
John Bunyan and the Grace of Fearing God
by Joel R. Beeke,Paul M. Smalley
WHY I LIKE IT
We live in a Romans 3 age ("There is no fear of God before their eyes") and desperately need to hear from Bunyan and others who understood that to know God in all his glorious attributes was to reverence and fear him. The fear of God was one of the central themes to Bunyan's theology and here Beeke and Smalley expertly mine Bunyan's works, particularly his book on the fear of God, and bring forth jewels to help us recover a biblical sense of reverencing God.
Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty
Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty
by Charles Leerhsen
WHY I LIKE IT
Was Ty Cobb a prince or a pariah? It seems to depend on which historian you read. Cobb's main biographers have painted him as a mean-spirited, bigoted, arrogant fool who was played baseball even dirtier than he lived. Leerhsen's thesis is that Cobb was not nearly as vial and disgusting a human being as he has been portrayed, but was benevolent, winsome, and loved by fans and fellow players alike. For baseball historians, Leerhsen's thesis seems like a bit of revisionist history. But is it? Ty Cobb's niece was my fifth grade social studies teacher and his nephew's dairy farm bordered my family's homestead in north Georgia, so I'm glad to see a historian tackle the unseemly legend that has grown up around the great Georgia Peach, though I'll admit, as a lifelong reader of Cobb biographies, I remain uncertain which Cobb is the true Cobb.
John Calvin's
John Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion": A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books)
by Bruce Gordon
WHY I LIKE IT
Gordon's biography of Calvin is the best since the standard work of the late T. H. L. Parker. Thus, his writing on Calvin's seminal systematic theology should be of the same calibre. Gordon is fast becoming to this generation of Calvin scholarship what Parker was to the 70s and 80s generation. If you have not read Calvin's Institutes, Gordon will make excellent preparatory reading.
The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus
The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus
by Zack Eswine
WHY I LIKE IT
There are no perfect pastor. If a man thinks he is one, chances are he's not qualified for ministry. Eswine de-romanticezes the pastoral ministry and shows that, at the end of the day, we pastors are merely Christian men in the midst of our own sanctification.
God's Word Alone---The Authority of Scripture: What the Reformers Taught...and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series)
God's Word Alone---The Authority of Scripture: What the Reformers Taught...and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series)
by Matthew Barrett
WHY I LIKE IT
The church will ever need to assert and reassert the doctrine of Scripture in every generation. Barrett does it again for this generation with this readable and detailed summary of the place of sola Scriptura in Christian theology and history.
All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy
All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy
by Diarmaid MacCulloch
WHY I LIKE IT
There are few more capable scholars on the Reformation and few who write more ably and compellingly about it. If you love the Reformation, you should read MacCulloch.
God Has Spoken: A History of Christian Theology
God Has Spoken: A History of Christian Theology
by Gerald Bray
WHY I LIKE IT
Dr. Bray's follow up to his excellent systematic theology is a rich and compellingly written tour de-force of the doctrinal development in the church.
The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones
The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones
by Rich Kienzle
WHY I LIKE IT
Few C&W singers wrote songs with the brutal honesty of human depravity and human inability that rival those of the late George Jones. This book takes a fascinating look at the life and music of a complex artist who once wrote a song about his sins called "Wrong's What I Do Best." Jones lived out the songs he wrote and his corpus of music represents expresses with clarity the words of Christ, "apart from me, you can do nothing."
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
by J. D. Vance
WHY I LIKE IT
I am a Georgia hillbilly. J.D. Vance writes as a hillbilly who sees the problems of Appalachia as a microcosm of the issues that plague middle class America, which have particularly clear in the rise of Donald Trump as a viable presidential candidate. Appalachia is a place all its own and has never really cow-towed to the broader culture. However, as Vance points out, it does seem to have lost its identity, but I see it as a theological problem--Appalachia has lost Christ.
The Calvinistic Methodist Fathers of Wales
The Calvinistic Methodist Fathers of Wales
by J Morgan Jones
WHY I LIKE IT
Martyn Lloyd-Jones often counseled tired and discouraged ministers to go to the eighteenth century for a pick-me-up. What did he mean by that? He meant a visit to the works of the Calvinistic Methodist Fathers of Wales would provide a medicine that would do the soul good. The bios of these men show them to be among the best, if not the most under-exposed, pastors in the Reformed and Puritan tradition. This book serves as an expert primer to the men and their works.
MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific
MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific
by Walter R. Borneman
WHY I LIKE IT
General MacArthur was a love/hate figure. Many of his soldiers and many historians in his wake have loved him. Others hated him. My father, who served under Omar Bradley could not stomach the man he--and many others--scornfully called "Dugout Doug." Borneman's work is styled as painting a fair and balanced picture of MacArthur. Hoping he will provide some new insights into a general who is undeniably one of the most memorable figures in U.S. military history.
Lincoln's Battle with God: A President's Struggle with Faith and What It Meant for America
Lincoln's Battle with God: A President's Struggle with Faith and What It Meant for America
by Stephen Mansfield
WHY I LIKE IT
Mansfield examines Lincoln's spiritual life and shows how he went from a believer to a Christ-entranced man and understood God's providence in his leadership of our nation at its most tumultuous moment.
Pentecostal Outpourings: Revival and the Reformed Tradition
Pentecostal Outpourings: Revival and the Reformed Tradition
by Michael A. G. Haykin,Robert Davis Smart,Ian Hugh C
WHY I LIKE IT
Having grown up as a Southern Baptist on the sawdust trail, I have always been fascinated by the topic of revival/revivalism. Haykin and others chronicle and evaluate revivals that have broken out within churches in the Reformed tradition from Presbyterians (New Light and Old), Baptist, Congregationalists, among others. I think this might serve as an excellent companion read to Iain Murray's Revival and Revivalism.
Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story
Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story
by Timothy B. Tyson
WHY I LIKE IT
If you ever wondered how racism could eat up the rural South during the Jim Crow era, Tyson offers a gripping front-line account that offers deep insights. Delightfully written in prose strikingly reminiscent of "To Kill a Mockingbird."
J.C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone
J.C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone
by Iain H. Murray
WHY I LIKE IT
J.C. Ryle is a hero to many Reformed evangelicals, including me. J.C. Ryle has been a constant companion the past 17 years in both my devotional reading and sermon preparation. By the same token, Iain Murray is the quintessential historian for the church. His Edwards biography remains a personal favorite, and I'm expecting the Ryle biography to join those select ranks. Murray writes magisterially and Ryle is a worthy topic. This is at the top of my summer reading list.
American Colonial History: Clashing Cultures and Faiths
American Colonial History: Clashing Cultures and Faiths
by Thomas S. Kidd
WHY I LIKE IT
Tommy Kidd lends his significant writing abilities to surveying American history. When my friend, Tommy, writes on American history, read it, period.
What about Free Will?: Reconciling Our Choices with God's Sovereignty
What about Free Will?: Reconciling Our Choices with God's Sovereignty
by Scott Christensen
WHY I LIKE IT
Is the will free? Do human beings really have the power of contrary choice? The greatest minds in the history of the church have given their powers to answering this bewildering question. Scott Christensen offers a delightfully readable examination of the Everest of theological mountains. This is my new first recommendation on this important and timeless topic.
A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness
A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness
by John Piper
WHY I LIKE IT
John Piper defends the doctrine of Scripture's self-attestation in his inimitable style, using Scripture itself, theology, and church history. Why another book defending the truthfulness of the Bible? Because it must be asserted and re-asserted in every age.
Calvin's Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609 (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology)
Calvin's Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609 (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology)
by Scott M. Manetsch
WHY I LIKE IT
The Reformation was a recovery of the great doctrines of Scripture and justification by faith. But it was also a recovery of a biblical understanding of the pastoral ministry, the pastor as a herald of the gospel, an under-shepherd of God's sheep, and a public theologian. This book examines how the pastoral office developed around Calvin and Calvin's Geneva, showing how the a biblical vision of the pastorate emerged alongside a mature understanding of the gospel.
History: A Student's Guide (Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition)
History: A Student's Guide (Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition)
by Nathan A. Finn
WHY I LIKE IT
Nathan's book is an excellent and accessible source for learning the vital place history plays in the development of a full-orbed Christian worldview. Finn provides a basic historiography, painting for readers a clear picture of how Christian historians ply their craft in service of both the academy and church. Nathan is a longtime personal friend, but I don't think I'm at all operating out of spirit of "respecter of persons" when I say he is one of the finest young historians in evangelicalism today. His research and conclusions are handled with deep integrity, making him a sure and trustworthy guide to the landscape of church history.
The Work of the Pastor
The Work of the Pastor
by William Still
WHY I LIKE IT
There are few better works on the work of the pastorate, period. Still, who pastored the same congregation in Aberdeen for more than 50 years, does not mince words in outlining both the difficulties and the grace-given glories of pastoral ministry. I'm reading it for a second time.
The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters
The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters
by Sinclair B. Ferguson
WHY I LIKE IT
This book shows why it is fruitful for Christians to engage theological controversies from the past. Ferguson traces out the absolutely critical pastoral implications of this important controversy and why they remain vital in 2016 church life.
The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross
The Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross
by Arthur W. Pink
WHY I LIKE IT
This is one of the most insightful works I've read on the final words of Christ. A great read around Easter by an author who needs to be rediscovered by my dear brothers and sisters in the YRR movement.
Jonathan Edwards among the Theologians
Jonathan Edwards among the Theologians
by Oliver D. Crisp
WHY I LIKE IT
Crisp is one of the most compelling contemporary writers of historical theology. It's Edwards, it's Oliver Crisp. It's on my shelf.
Knowing Christ
Knowing Christ
by Mark Jones
WHY I LIKE IT
Knowing God by J. I. Packer is one of my favorite books. It was the first serious encounter I had with the attributes of God in a study. Mark Jones has done something very similar with the person and work of Christ. This work is deeply devotional and mines the great Puritan writers and presents some memorable quotes from their works.
J. I. Packer: An Evangelical Life
J. I. Packer: An Evangelical Life
by Leland Ryken
WHY I LIKE IT
Anything by J. I. Packer is a must read for serious Reformed-minded Christians. Ditto a book about his life and thought.
American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea
American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea
by John D. Wilsey
WHY I LIKE IT
I grew up in the 80s during an era when American exceptionalism was assumed in most conservative circles and it was a part of my Christian upbringing as well. Wiley traces the history of this idea and shows how it has impacted evangelical Christianity. It is not a part of biblical Christianity and Wilsey, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the ETS meeting in Atlanta this year, shows why this is important.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Relevance for the 21st Century
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Relevance for the 21st Century
by Christopher Catherwood
WHY I LIKE IT
The Doctor is one of the greatest preachers in church history and his doctrine, life, preaching, and style of ministry is pertinent to any age. Catherwood shows the enduring value of his grandfather's life and ministry.
God & Churchill: How the Great Leader's Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and Offers Hope for Ours
God & Churchill: How the Great Leader's Sense of Divine Destiny Changed His Troubled World and Offers Hope for Ours
by Jonathan Sandys,Wallace Henley
WHY I LIKE IT
This book shows how one of the most compelling leaders of the past 200 years viewed God's providence in his rise to prominence and in history.
The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
by Rick Perlstein
WHY I LIKE IT
A compelling treatment of the tumultuous 1970s reminds us of a fact many have forgotten: Reagan came within inches of beating out Ford for the GOP presidential nomination in 1976. Had that happened, it is entirely possible that Reagan would have defeated Carter and history would have been changed.
We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong
We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong
by R. Albert Mohler Jr.
WHY I LIKE IT
Dr. Mohler shows how the sexual revolution that led to the redefinition of marriage did not begin in 2015. The seeds were sown for this tectonic shift in decades past. He looks at how we got here and how the church is called to respond to this challenge during these perilous times.
Faith Alone---The Doctrine of Justification: What the Reformers Taught...and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series)
Faith Alone---The Doctrine of Justification: What the Reformers Taught...and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series)
by Thomas R. Schreiner
WHY I LIKE IT
A pithy but strong defense of the essential gospel doctrine of justification by faith from a biblical, theological, and historical standpoint. Makes the case well as to why this doctrine remains vital and is, as Luther put it, "the standing or falling of the church."
After Acts: Exploring the Lives and Legends of the Apostles
After Acts: Exploring the Lives and Legends of the Apostles
by Bryan Litfin
WHY I LIKE IT
What really happened to the apostles after they wrote their respective New Testament books/epistles? Read Litfin's book and find out. He dispels much popular, but false, history surrounding the lives of several pertinent NT figures.
Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel
Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel
by Russell D. Moore
WHY I LIKE IT
Moore gives a framework for engaging the culture out of the local church.