To see 2018’s list click here
You may notice that I have not included the Bible on this list, but my personal goal, by the grace of God, and my encouragement to you is to read twice as much Scripture as anything else.
Zeal Without Burnout by Christopher Ash – This little book was truly a lifesaver! I highly recommend it to anyone in vocational ministry.
A Thousand Resurrections by Maria Garriott – Very good! Every church-planting couple should read this beautifully descriptive and painfully realistic narrative together. Especially those planting in the inner city and/or among ethnically diverse populations. This true account is part memoir, part church-planting guide (though indirectly), and often delivers like a novel. For anyone seeking to serve Jesus amidst the harsh realities of a broken world, there is much here to encourage, challenge, and instruct you on your journey.
The Household and the War for the Cosmos by C.R. Wiley – Great! Enabled me to see the book of Ephesians through a whole new paradigm and shows that family and fatherhood are much more central to the Biblical storyline than we often think.
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Excellent. I was especially helped by the chapter on confession. Here’s an extended quote that has proven to be a helpful reminder: “In confession the break-through to community takes place. Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen even in the midst of a pious community. In confession the light of the Gospel breaks into darkness and seclusion of the heart. The sin must be brought into the light. The unexpressed must be openly spoken and acknowledged. All that is secret and hidden is made manifest. It is a hard struggle until the sin is openly admitted. But God breaks the gates of brass and bars of iron (Ps. 107:16).
Since the confession of sin is made in the presence of a Christian brother, the last stronghold of self-justification is abandoned. The sinner surrenders; he gives up all his evil. He gives his heart to God, and he finds the forgiveness of all his sin in the fellowship of Jesus Christ and his brother.”
North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson – Thrilling. Finally the journey begins and many strange adventures await. Peterson definitely improves in this second novel in the series, which the Kids and I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers – Paradigm shifting and foundational for understanding Classical Education.
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton – Absolutely superb! Where to begin? You really have to read it for yourself… so many invaluable insights into everything.
Father Hunger by Douglas Wilson – Very good. This book breathes fresh vision into what it means to be a father who reflects the heavenly Father in all areas of life.
Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson – Well done! Through this fantastic work of fiction, Peterson brings out timeless truths and relevant challenges to American Christians in ways that aren’t “preachy” or forced.
Hero Maker by Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird – Encouraging and convicting––Filled with practical insights. Am I trying to be the hero and build my own kingdom or am I focused on helping others reach their God-given potential for the sake of Christ’s Kingdom?
Friends and Lovers by Joel Beeke – Very good – A plethora of great insights on marriage, romance, and sex from the… Puritans. Yep, you read that right. If you find that shocking, this book will definitely break your stereotypes.
Rules for Reformers by Douglas Wilson – Thought-provoking and practical. While I don’t always share Wilson’s emphasis, I believe mainstream evangelicals could benefit from much of what he has to say. Unfortunately, his general rhetoric will hinder many of them from ever truly hearing him out.
The Warden and the Wolf King by Andrew Peterson – Wonderful! This is fantasy fiction at its best and a splendid conclusion to what turned out to be a top-notch series. The kids and I give it five stars, for sure.
For Mission by Joe Boot – A little book that packs a big punch. Dr. Boot adroitly challenges accepted paradigms in the evangelical and reformed world but probably goes too far at times (I’m still working through his larger volume, “The Mission of God” and seeking to examine the exegetical validity of his main arguments).
100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson – Good but not my style. This is one of the few series I just couldn’t get into; the kids and I made it through the first book, and I had to bail out about halfway through book two as things just got too weird. I really wanted to like this one and there are certainly things to commend; Nate Wilson is a wonderfully descriptive and imaginative writer, but the weirdness just got to be too much. Still, my oldest daughter finished the series on her own and tells me I should give it a fresh try. We’ll see.
God Rest Ye Merry: Why Christmas is the Foundation For Everything by Douglas Wilson – Pretty good. The title’s claim is a bit overstated, but there are some helpful insights and challenges here. May prove helpful for those questioning the practice of Christmas.
Note: The books mentioned above are ones I finished in their entirety sometime in 2019, there were some others that I read significant portions of for ministry projects or sermons I was preparing, but I have not included those in this list. Though some worth mentioning would be commentaries on the book of Acts by F.F. Bruce and John Stott. As well as To Change the World by James Davison Hunter (which I read the first half of and then decided to just listen to a couple of podcasts he did on the practical outworking of his thesis. I also read a free e-book from TGC where several scholars critiqued Hunter’s work 10 years after its publication.) I didn’t agree with some of Hunter’s conclusions but the research he brought out on the world-changing impact of Christian education has proven invaluable in my own thinking on that topic.
2020 A.D. (Reviews coming soon)