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A Reflection on Fall ’08 Reading

January 3, 2009

I’m taking a break from the discussion of why I’m a Southern Baptist (which I’ve found to be much less interesting than I first expected) to list the best books I read since the Summer.

Here’s the top 6 that I read over the past semester: 6. Mark Driscoll, Vintage Jesus

Driscoll’s writing style is always entertaining, but he is always willing to go deep. I’ve always appreciated that his ministry is Bible-centered and educational. This book is a direct and honest look at the person of Jesus. John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

This is one of those books I feel like I should have read back in college, but never got around to it until the close of this past semester. Piper’s discussion of a “wartime lifestyle” has been helpful for me to articulate the Christian’s responsibilities when it comes to handling all resources, not only financial but most importantly the gift of life itself. Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences and Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?

I put these together because they both are fairly similar. Both challenge the popular view of history that people today are somehow superior than those that preceded us, and show the dire consequences of popular culture’s rejection of absolute truth. Weaver’s work has much more difficult vocabulary and is less specific in citing historical examples, but is more effective in examining the logical (and frightening) consequences of a rejection of absolute truth. Schaeffer’s work is more like a case study, showing the decline of Western culture because of the rejection of absolute truth and the similarities between modern America and Rome on the brink of its collapse. I’m very thankful I read these two books together because they complement one another well. Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church

This is another book I knew I needed to read for some time but hadn’t gotten to it until Christmas break. The best part of this book is Dever’s articulation of success in ministry. He fights against the notion that bigger is better in our churches, and that if a church has a large attendance, then they should just keep doing what they are doing. Instead, success for the minister is faithfulness to Scripture. A church with thousands of members can still be very unsuccessful. Tim Keller, The Prodigal God

This is a great book to give as a gift – it is a quick read but is powerful in its challenge to the Christian to be Gospel-centered. Keller examines the parable of the “prodigal son,” eventually showing that this title is inaccurate and is not really a story about a returning son at all. It is instead a story of two sons and the love of a gracious and prodigal father, with each son being a look into man’s misguided attempts at finding fulfillment apart from God. I highly recommend taking a few hours one day and reading through this book.

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