Top 50 Christian Books For 2017

They’re some books you will probably never consider reading; even though they’re Christian books. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I believe such selective reading sometimes do us a great disservice by narrowing our views.

I normally don’t read fiction, biographies or books by authors pushing a false teaching. Honestly, I find most of the fiction sold in Christian bookstores rather boring. The best work of fiction I ever read had questionable teachings on the person of the Triune God.

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1

The Christian books you read can become a gentle breeze that blows you away from the coast of God’s faithful presence. For that reason, I resolved to read books beyond my comfort zone in 2017.

This is how I read the books; I looked for the key lessons from each book and identified one area I found troubling in the book. I noticed most of what is being sold as book reviews, especially among Christians is nothing but book recommendations.

These are not book recommendations, but reviews.

Contents

  1. 11 Christian Books on Culture
  2. 9 Christian Books on Christian Living
  3. 7 Christian Books on Ecclesiology
  4. 5 Christian Books on Family
  5. 5 Christian Books on Leadership
  6. 5 Christian Books on Hermeneutics and Bible Theology
  7. 3 Christian Books on General Theology
  8. 3 Christian Biographies You Should Read
  9. 2 Christian Non-Fiction

Non-fiction

11 Christian Books on Culture

11 Christian Books on Culture

1. Rescuing the Gospel from Cowboys by Richard Twists

This is the first book by a native American I ever read. And I got it from a great friend as a graduation gift. Twiss drew me, through his unapologetic writing, into the challenges faced by native American Christian. If you have never been called a pagan and idolater because of your cultural dress, then read this book. Some of the accounts in the book are infuriating, buckle up.

2. The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege by Kenneth J. Wytsma

The Myth of Equality is a candid look at racism that will make you angry at your ignorance but repent of your apathy and disengagement. “Disconnected from “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” our theology becomes permission to remain in our privilege, unengaged with the messier parts of reality.” Although it was noble to reference Bible events as a theological footing for the book, Part 2 disrupted the flow of the book. However, this is one of the best books on justice I read this year.

3. Race and Place: How Urban Geography Shapes the Journey to Reconciliation by David P. Leong

Theology is best done in a community but communities often comprise of different races. Hence, “Jesus had to go through Samaria because that’s where the path of discipleship leads: right into the places where historic, systemic racial conflicts have led to division and strife.” David P. Leong reminds us discipleship occurs in a context of race and place. Therefore, color blindness does the church a great disservice by ignoring the economics of place.

4. Is Justice Possible? The Elusive Pursuit of What Is Right by J. Paul Nyquist

From Jim Crow laws to George Zimmerman to Steve Avery, J. Paul Nyquist graciously unpacks the deafening call for justice throughout the modern American history. Privilege often blinkers us from the injustice around us. The Gospel melts the blinkers and invites us to fellowship with the ‘least of these.’ Because ‘justice is the application of God’s righteous moral standards to the conduct of man. It starts with God, not man.’ However, the disengagement of the church and ignorance of many has seen the church becoming more of the perpetrator of social injustice than the agent of peace as called upon on the Sermon on the Mount.

5. Power of Proximity: Moving Beyond Awareness to Action by Michelle Ferrigno Warren

In Power of Proximity, Michelle Ferrigno Warren invites young Christians passionate about social justice to consider incarnational mission. “Being proximate is necessary to engage brokenness because it transforms our lens.” In this semi-autobiographical work, Michelle Ferrigno Warren convincingly shows how proximate living with the poor helped her theology. But the glaring weakness of Power of Proximity, is it dangerously assumes proximity to the marginalized equates to understanding their experiences – it doesn’t. However, this book is a must read for young people passionate about marginalized communities.

6. Created and Creating: A Biblical Theology of Culture by William Edgar

What is culture? William Edgar defines culture as ‘the lens through which a vision of life and social order is expressed, experienced, and explored; it is a lived worldview.’ However, as believers, Christ is our vision of life, and we all seek to express, experience and explore sound theology. Created and Creating is an eye-opening scholarly work on how believers are not only called to engage cultures, but also create a counterculture. Furthermore, William Edgar shows the importance of obedience to Christ in cultural engagement. Because ‘Christ’s redeeming grace moves culture in the right direction, ennobles it, and allows it to extend the realm of God’s shalom, his goodness, his justice, his love.’

7. Jesus among secular gods: The countercultural claims of Christ by Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale

The Great Commission is an invitation to confront the secular worldviews around us. But it’s important that you understand that such worldviews are nothing but glorified idolatry. You view the world through the scales of the god you worship. In this scholarly work written in a popular language, Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale confront 6 popular worldviews with the message of the Gospel. For example, the claim there’s no God is countered by eternity, morality, accountability and charity. And an obsessive belief in deity of science is confronted by a simple story of the beginning. Thus, believers only need to believe the simplicity of the Gospel to confront secular worldviews.

8. Counter Culture: Following Christ in an Anti-Christian Age by David Platt

Kevin Vanhoozer once said the call to faithful discipleship requires us to daily answer the question, “What does it mean to follow Christ in the 21st century?” However, I have discovered that there’s one key similarity between the first century and today: hatred of Christ and his church. After all, ‘the gospel actually creates confrontation with the culture around—and within—us.’ In Counter Culture, David Platt encourages us to be increasingly aware of their environment and continue to deepen their faith in Christ. This entails, standing up for the Gospel not only regarding social injustice, but also divisive issues such as homosexuality, abortion and racism even though we’re uncomfortable.

9. A Time for Confidence: Trusting God in a Post-Christian Society by Stephen J. Nichols

Contrasting Jerome and Augustine’s reaction to the fall of Rome, A Time for Confidence extols us to the dangers of too much seeing but without a vision. Jerome saw but Augustine had a vision. Stephen J. Nichols skillfully brought Scriptures and church history, particularly the Reformation, into a conversation about postmodernism. What do you see in the present shifting tides of time? Besides the continued misinformed maligning of social and natural sciences as agents of Bible dissent, A Time for Confidence an excellent response to postmodernism.

10. The Altars Where We Worship: The Religious Significance of Popular Culture Juan M. Floyd-Thomas, Stacey M. Floyd -Thomas and Mark G. Toulouse

When the Zambian national soccer has a match on a Sunday, churches are empty. Africa is also flocking to the Mecca of Western idols indicted in The Altars Where We Worship. “The objects of our attention have become our God, and fulfilling our desires has become our religion.” Sad. This book is well-researched, it’s convicting but sometimes it became too scholarly for the average reader.

11. Understanding the Culture by Summit Ministries

Grounded in Scripture and backing up arguments with research, Understanding the Culture helps the reader to develop a biblical worldview. Furthermore, the authors argue against the Benedict option: Christians need to engage the culture to redeem the culture. However, some people will find this book as promoting the social gospel; all social work and no spiritual work makes the community unsaved.

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9 Christian Books on Christian Living

9 Christian Books on Christian Living

1. Grieving Suicide: A Loved One’s Search for Comfort, Answers, and Hope by Albert Y. Hsu

A few months ago, a friend of mine posted a video online drinking poison; he committed suicide. Details of the incident remain unclear but the pain is real. Albert Y. Hsu lost his father to suicide, and in Grieving Suicide he deals with the pain of the survivors. “Suicide heightens the agony of loss.” But that is not the end, “Because suffering is within the realm of God’s comprehension and knowledge, it becomes a point of contact between us and God.” Grieving Suicide brings academic research in concert with personal stories from suicide survivors in a gripping book that is readily accessible to a general reader. I am going to reread this book.

2. Paradoxology: Why Christianity Was Never Meant to Be Simple by Krish Kandiah

I have always been baffled by apparent contradictions within the Bible. For example, why does Hebrews 11:2 say OT saints received their commendations yet verse 13 says they didn’t receive the things promised? I learned that when I confront these paradoxes I come out with a deeper knowledge of the Triune God. But it takes bravery to engage the paradoxes found in the Bible and Krish Kandiah is one of the few and the brave. Krish Kandiah uses 13 paradoxes of God such as his faithfulness to the unfaithful and speaking through silence to show that ‘the paradoxes that seem to undermine belief are actually the heart of our vibrant faith, and that it is only by continually wrestling with them – rather than trying to pin them down or push them away – that we can really worship God, individually and together.’

3. Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering by Kelly M. Kapic

I often wonder if God cares about my blood disorder. Reading Embodied Hope was reassuring, “Heartfelt cries and existential questions operate at the core of healthy theology, and suppressing them is more hurtful than a confession of ignorance.” This is the second book by Kelly M Kapic I read, I’m convinced he’s a gifted writer and a good theologian.

4. Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions by Casey Tygrett

In Becoming Curious, Casey Tygrett wrote, “The Jesus who changed the world shifted the narrative of God and humans, and he did it by engaging curiosity.” You need biblical curiosity to grow in your faith. However, curiosity apart from Christ led to the Fall. Casey Tygrett ignored this fact but it’s a great read nevertheless.

5. The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Our Lives by Barnabas Piper

“When cultures and subcultures are separated by a chasm and the lack of understanding is tremendous, tragedy can strike.” Most conflicts are caused by people comfortable in their ignorance. Sadly, although it has a great premise and memorable lessons, I wish this book was leaner, clearer and more focused.

6. Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home by Jen Pollock Michel

I recently turned 32, but I have called home more than 10 places in three continents. Reading Keeping Place felt like peeking through my private unspoken thoughts. “We are not only estranged from our place: we are estranged from the people we once shared close relationship with, the people most responsible for loving us and taking us in.” However, sometimes Jen Pollock Michel made reckless assertions on subjects the Bible is silent on (e.g. Joseph died and Jesus had to take care of his brothers).

7. When Changing Nothing Changes Everything: The Power to Reframe Your Life by Laurie Polich Short

When Changing Nothing Changes Everything is not a positive thinking book; it’s a right-thinking book. “The ability to reframe and view yourself in the middle of your story enables you to rest in what is, knowing that it is part of what is taking you to what we will be.” Laurie Polich Short argued that believers need four types of view to appreciate life; big view, present view, past view, and higher view. However, in Chapter 9, Laurie Polich Short assumed all suffering is similar by citing out of context Paul’s persecution as a basis for dealing with our personal suffering.

8. How to Overcome Worry: Experiencing the Peace of God in Every Situation by Dr. Winfred Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely offers the obvious answer to worry – pray – as highlighted in Philippians. He borrows from Joseph M. Scriven’s popular hymn, what a friend we have in Jesus, to show that ‘prayer is one of the most vital expressions of our trust in and dependence on God.’ But this book was hard to follow through, I skipped some chapters entirely failing to find how they fit in what he was talking about.

9. This is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel by Trevin Wax

Your faith in God is affected by what you believe about possessions, positions, and people. And these three, if unguarded, may construct in you a secular worldview. This can ultimately lead you into deception. Trevin Wax challenges our views on technology, success, relationships, sexuality, and belonging. In This is Our Time, Trevin Wax’s thoughts were clouded by too many words and lack of clarity.

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7 Christian Books on Ecclesiology

7 Christian Books on Ecclesiology

1. Character of the Church: The Marks of God’s Obedient People by Joe Thorn

I always thought the mark of a healthy church is increased attendance. After all, people go where they’re growing. Yet, the fastest growing in churches in Zimbabwe teach prosperity Gospel and a mild form of divination. Jesus Christ chose the local to Church to be his hands and feet. However, if the church loses its character it becomes repulsive or infectious to the people it should be serving. Reading Character of the Church helped me to understand the importance of good preaching, sacraments, biblical leadership, church discipline and incarnational mission in a healthy church.

2. Life of the Church: The Table, Pulpit and Square by Joe Thorn

Is the primary responsibility of the church to make members comfortable or preserve your version of Christianity? No, the primary responsibility of the church is to make disciples. Therefore, ‘theology is incomplete if it is not both experienced and expressed.’ Your church is fully alive only when sound theology is sufficiently and clearly expressed and experienced. You can experience and express theology; when you meet with other believers in an honest and transparent small group, when you’re drawn to the Triune God in a Christ-centered corporate worship, and when you enter the public square full of the Spirit and knowledge.

3. Heart of the Church: The Gospel’s History, Message and Meaning by Joe Thorn

In 2016, I had the privilege of attending church in 3 different continents. Joe Thorn aptly summarized my experience in his opening statement to Heart of the Church, “The church today has a heart condition.” Sadly, church growth experts prescribe ‘new programs or innovative marketing tactics,’ which evidently fail to address the heart problem. How do we address the heart condition? The Gospel of Christ is the heart of the church. When the church moves away from the message of the Gospel we fall into idolatry, a good example is the proliferation of the prosperity gospel. After all, “The gospel makes us who we are and the church what it is.”

4. Faithful Presence: Seven Disciplines that Shape the Church for Mission by David E. Fitch

David E Fitch’s description of most churches is quite damning, “Though there’s a flurry of activity and programming in our church buildings, it seems as if we’re avoiding something…. And when the well-produced worship experience is over and we leave the church building, something gnaws at our souls. Emptiness creeps back in, alerting us that there was something missing in that building.” How can we practice the presence of God in our churches? David E Fitch contends that disciplines such as administering communion, preaching the gospel, and being with the poor and little children helps us to experience the faithful presence of God. After all, “The church is the extension of Christ’s presence in the world, making his reign over the entire world visible.”

5. Winsome Persuasion: Christian Influence in a Post-Christian World by Tim Muehlhoff and Richard Langer

In Winsome Persuasion, Muehlhoff and Langer argued that God called us to be a prophetic voice, a pastoral voice, and a persuasive voice. Christianity thrives in the margins by providing a persuasive counterscript to popular rhetoric. I loved how in each chapter, the authors emphasized why a good cultural engagement needs orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and doxology.

6. Among Wolves: Disciple-Making in the City by Dhati Lewis

Here is a man, like any other African American, had a dream of becoming an athlete. That dream got dashed when no top college offered him a football scholarship. In that moment of despair, Dhati Lewis discovered his call to reach the inner city with the Gospel. In this instructive Christ-centered book, Dhati Lewis shows that making disciples is about finding your identity in God’s story, family, mission, church, and work.

7x. Surprise the World: The Five Habits of Highly Missional People by Michael Frost

How can you grow in Christ, go for Christ, and grow others in Christ? Bless others, eat with others, listen to the Spirit and others, learn the Word, and lead a life as one sent (BELLS). These disciplines will help us become more generous, hospitable, Spirit-led, Christ-like and missional, respectively. Christ came and dwelt among us, so you should also dwell among those Christ called us to reach – incarnational mission. However, this requires you to make hospitality, generosity, and Christ-likeness a habit. Surprise the World offers a quick guide on how to do exactly that. This is a simple small book that can tempt your church to believe it’s a magical formula for church growth; it’s not.

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5 Christian Books on Family

5 Christian Books on Family

1. No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God by Aimee Byrd

Aimee Byrd argues that the false teachings that often creep into women’s ministry can be avoided if women understand they’re theologians. She writes, “No matter what our different circumstances and vocations may be, every woman is a theologian. We all understand who God is and what he has done.” As theologians, women should be free to explore, express and experience their knowledge of God in their families, local church, communities and with other women. But I wasn’t impressed with how she treated Charismatics by assuming they are all emotions and not rational.

2. Making Marriage Beautiful by Dorothy Littell Greco

The premise of this book is simple: you cannot love your spouse without being transformed. After all, the first step to a good marriage is accepting you’re a broken sinner, and God is righteous, just and gracious. But what are transformed from? Wounds, expectations, and preferences. I have read several books on marriage, Dorothy Littell Greco’s Making Marriage Beautiful has won my heart.

3. No More Perfect Marriage: Experience the Freedom of Being Together by Jill Savage and Mark Savage

In No More Perfect Marriage, Jill and Mark Savage share their experiences following Mark’s infidelity. Mark admitted, “No marriage crumbles in a day. It’s a drift of one centimeter to another, one feeling or one decision that leads to another feeling.” Throughout the book, Jill and Mark Savage offers practical tips on how to identify the slow fades and what to do about it.

4. Parenting with Grace and Truth: Leading and Loving Your Kids Like Jesus by Dan Seaborn

Dan Seaborn offers 7 truths on parenting, ranging from how to develop good character in your children, how to be a good parent during tough times and how to identify your child’s gifts. The advice in this book is handy, practical and grounded in the Gospel. A key takeaway from this book was that as a parent I need to be honest with my children if I want them to model Christ’s honesty and integrity.

5. Never Unfriend: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendship by Lisa Jo Baker

Social media often deceives us into believing we are well connected with others but the truth is we are all screaming for deeper nurturing relationships. In Never Unfriend, Lisa Jo Baker offers tips on how to nurture true friendship. “Choosing to see people as holy reflections of the God who made them to be loved, cherished, and encouraged will change everything when it comes to how we interact with them.” However, this is not merely a mental consent but filters into dealing with grief, celebrations, jealousy, fame, etc. Sometimes the book felt wordy, but I guess it’s because it supposed to be savored not rushed through.

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5 Christian Books on Leadership

1. Hearts, Heads and Hands: A Manual for Teaching Others to Teach Others by M. David Sills

Hearts, Heads and Hands is an excellent pastoral ministry training college in a book. In this 843-page volume, David M. Stills teaches 9 modules that range from understanding your call to ministry, how to prepare and preach a good sermon to administering discipline in the local church. Unlike most because on pastoral training, Hearts, Heads and Hands was written by a man with multicultural experience. His work in missions complemented this book well. And it offered diversity in cultural contexts in pastoral training that is often missing in books of its kind.

2. Worn Out by Obedience: Recovering from Spiritual Fatigue by Ron Moore

In Worn Out by Obedience, Ron Moore writes, “Spiritual fatigue is not a character flaw or a condition reserved for the immature or weak Christian.” He argued that Christians are often burned out because of their service, expectations, and disappointments. And this is dangerous but God’s grace is the answer. But Ron Moore forgot about people like Paul, who were worn out because God promised them exactly that.

3. The Unhurried Leader: The Lasting Fruit of Daily Influence by Alan Fadling

This book reminded me of The Slow Professor in which Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber advocated for deliberation not acceleration. Speeding through life is not a problem of college faculty only, Alan Fadling shows that church leaders are not immune. “Leading in God’s presence means learning to slow down to a pace that doesn’t weaken our rootedness in the richness of all God is, a pace that enables us to bear the fruit of God’s presence in all we are becoming and all we are doing.” Alan Fadling argued leaders are in a hurry because they start at the point of need instead of God’s abundance. The Unhurried Leader helped me to accept that I don’t have to be a professor by 35 or a prominent blogger or author by the end of the year; I am in Christ.

4. The Self-Aware Leader: Discovering Your Blind Spots to Reach Your Ministry Potential by Terry Linhart

Terry Linhart identified seven blind spots that leaders should heed in The Self-Aware Leader; self, past, temptations, emotions, pressures, conflicts, and margins. “It’s in the margins where creativity hangs out, where Spirit-led reflection allows us to see blind spots in our spiritual life.” The Self-Aware Leader is meant for youth leaders and has great self-check questions in each chapter. However, Chapter 6 and 7 overlooked an important aspect of conflict in leadership today, race and gender. I have been under pressure and experienced conflict because I am black, and that’s not a weakness but who I am.

5. Jesus’ Terrible Financial Advice: Flipping the Tables on Peace, Prosperity, and the Pursuit of Happiness by John Thornton

John Thornton did what I contemplated doing for a long time – identifying and listing all the verses in the Bible that talk about money, wealth, and possessions. He discovered a Christ who expects you to give without expecting anything in return. And he offers a message of hope for debt-ridden people like me, “There is hope. Your debts may determine when you serve, and even where you serve. But they can never determine who you serve.”

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5 Christian Books on Hermeneutics and Bible Theology

1. Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: Bringing to life the Ancient World of Scripture by Craig S. Keener and John H. Walton

I am not a fan of consumer-centric Study Bibles because I feel they rob me the opportunity to seriously read and dwell in the word by giving quick gateways to difficult passages. But reading Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, I agreed with NT Wright, “How I wish someone had put a book like this into my hands 15 years ago.” Being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ in 21st Century requires you to engage diverse cultures. But of prime importance, you need to engage the diverse cultures of the Bible since God chose to reveal himself to us through a people in a particular culture. And this is critical for adequate Bible interpretation.

2. A Little Book for New Scholars by E. Randolph Richards and Joseph R. Dodson

The center of Christianity is moving South. Therefore, there’s a need for serious Bible scholars in Africa. Because ‘exegeting the Bible well will help you to experience the truth of Scripture more deeply and to teach it more effectively.’ However, a sublime suggestion by Jarvis J. Williams that African Americans are few in academia because they’re ill-equipped is naive. Overall, the best book I read in 2017, so far.

3. God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture by Matthew Barrett

They’re at least three problems the church is facing today; Bible illiteracy among Bible thumpers is alarming, biblicism continues to flourish especially in developing countries, and more and more Christians are convinced the Bible is sometimes erroneous and contains material largely inapplicable to the 21st Century. Using the history of the Reformed tradition, Matthew Barrett argues on the fundamental importance of believing in the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. I believe this is crucial if you want to be the salt of the earth. Your view of God, that’s your theology, is often determined by the trust and confidence you have in the method he revealed himself to you.

4. The Decalogue: Living as the People of God by David L. Baker

In The Decalogue took up the challenge of advocating for the ten commandments gracefully, “It contains essential principles for living as the people of God that are as relevant in the twenty-first century as when they were first given.” David L. Baker argued the Ten Commandments were grouped into commands to love God and commands to love others. It was paradigm shifting to read the command to honor God as a command to love God. However, David L Baker questions Moses’ authorship of the Pentateuch and believes it was compiled by people reading other sources.

5. The Whole Message of the Bible in 16 Words by Chris Bruno

Are you interested in biblical theology but find current books boring and hard to read? Chris Bruno’s The Whole Message of the Bible in 16 Words is perfect for you. In this 150-page book, Chris Bruno traced the ‘progressive development of a cluster of themes in the Bible.’ Reading this book helped me experience and explore the life of Christ in my Bible readings. However, I could not help but notice I have read most of the ideas before, Chris Bruno only made them concise. If you’re well read in biblical theology this book might not be for you.

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3 Christian Biographies You Should Read

1. The Axe and the Tree: How bloody persecution sowed the seeds of new life in Zimbabwe by Stephen Griffiths

This is a heartbreaking, yet extraordinary story of ordinary men and women who lost their lives trying to bring health and education to black Zimbabweans. Missionaries working at Eagle School in Manicaland were killed by an army headed by Robert Mugabe, the current president of Zimbabwe. However, after the war, most of the people involved in the massacre surrendered their lives to Christ. As a Zimbabwean, I knew the story. Following the missionaries from their homes in Ireland and England as they take up positions with Elim Missions was painful. But it was a painful reminder of the true cost of following Christ – sometimes you serve a community that doesn’t appreciate your efforts.

2. Tethered: Breaking Free from the Past by Baz Bhasera

Baz Bhasera’s Tethered is not just heartbreaking, it’s a masterpiece. This is a story of a man who endured the worst life can offer. Abandoned by a physically abusive father, and tragically losing his wife after a short illness. Most people would have quit God but he didn’t. I know you have more questions; read this book.

3. Katharine and Martin Luther by Michelle DeRusha

I have always viewed Martin Luther’s marriage as a mere political statement rather than a commitment to love. But Michelle DeRusha proved me wrong. Using the few available accounts on Katharine, Michelle DeRusha offers a compelling picture of Martin Luther’s love interest. But she does more, Katharine and Martin Luther illustrates how their theology formed and grew before they finally exchanged wedding vows.

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3 Christian Books on General Theology

1. The End of Protestantism: Pursuing Unity in a Fragmented Church by Peter J. Leithart

I first read Peter J. Leithart at First Things, an excellent writer who is not afraid to tackle thorny issues. In The End of Protestantism, he graciously and wisely confronts denominationalism which he claims is a product of Protestantism. He argues, “If the gospel is true, we are who we are by union with Jesus in his Spirit with his people. It then cannot be the case that we are who we are by differentiation from other believers.” I believe few readers will agree with The End of Protestantism, rather most will be offended. Peter J. Leithart proposes that the answer to unhealthy divisions between churches, which compromise the Great Commission in the process, is returning to the biblical church. Such a shift will result in the death of Protestantism. I do not how that will pan out, but this book offers an alternative perspective worth exploring, at least theoretically.

2. Paul the Apostle: Missionary, Martyr, Theologian by Robert E. Picirilli

Recently, I was reading Paul’s Letter to the Philippians and I discovered how knowing the author helps in understanding the meaning of a Bible text. I noticed that the more I knew about Paul, his language, culture, and background the better I understood his original intent when writing Philippians. Paul the Apostle is an excellent resource for people committed to fruitful and effective Bible reading. It offers a detailed look at the life and times of Paul. For example, by looking at the history of Tarsus, Robert E. Picirilli brings meaning to Paul’s insistence on being a citizen of Tarsus.

3. Sons in the Son: The Riches and Reach of Adoption in Christ by David B. Garner

My grandmother had two adopted children, but all the grandkids and neighbors didn’t know. No wonder, I find it appalling when people say, “I have two kids and one adopted child.” Sons in the Son explores the nuances of our adoption in Jesus Christ. A poor view of Christian adoption will make you belittle your justification, sanctification, and redemption.

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Fiction

Dumpster Dicing by Julie B Cosgrove

What can a couple of old ladies living in a retirement home teach about life? Friendship, of course. Janie, Betsy Ann, and Ethel investigate the death of a neighbor. They found his body diced in the dumpster. Although I am not a fan of fiction, I enjoyed this book. Probably because it reminded me of the lovely families I left in the US. But I wouldn’t help to skip some of the passages because they were winded and worded.

The Battle of Seattle by Douglas Bond

Ever since Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, like most people, I became suspicious of historical fiction books. Douglas Bond redeems the genre in this retelling of the events that shaped the US. Through an engaging narrative, The Battle of Seattle explores the paradox of faith and war. This is a hard read and difficult to appreciate if you have background knowledge on the treatment of native people by the New Americans.

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