I managed to get through a decent variety of books this year.
I finally read Volf and Girard, both of who felt better to have read than to read. Like always, I read McKnight and Keller, but I managed to read a little less from them than I usually do. In the end, these were the best books I read this year…
10. Community & Growth by Jean Vanier
A lovely, rambling book about what true community and commitment can look like. Written by a man who has given his life to other people.
9. If God Then What? by Andrew Wilson
I am more and more a fan of Andrew Wilson. Saying that this is an apologetic sells it short. It’s full of imagination. This is my current go to for non-church people wanting to know about God.
8. Ill Fares The Land by Tony Judt
The only non-theology book on my list, this is a fascinating history of (and case for) social democracy. Recommended to anyone interested in politics.
7. The Moral Vision of the New Testament by Richard Hays
While I absolutely did not agree with Hays on every point (does he really all but paint the Jesus of John’s Gospel as anti-semitic?!), this book is still a juggernaut. On almost any ethical issue, I think it’s mandatory to consult Hays.
6. Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill
This book is a gift to the church: a same-sex attracted Christian who has chosen to remain celibate, telling his own story, and advocating a historical Christian position on sexuality. A must-read for anyone with questions (or relating to people who have questions) in this area. So… everyone.
5. The God Who Is There by D.A. Carson
A mini systematic theology (wait!) which is readable, devotional, engaging, and short. Quite an achievement. I’d give this to anyone who wanted a broader understanding of their faith (or maybe I’d give them Michael Bird’s Evangelical Theology. We’re a bit spoiled in this area right now).
4. The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
Here’s the weird thing about Keller: while I’m pretty sure that my wife and I are less conservative than him on things like gender roles, we still managed to not only enjoy this book, but agree with almost everything in it. Maybe it’s his tone, or the way he puts things, but this book was so helpful to us.
3. Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung
This book is funny, practical, and I really needed to read it. There are some fantastic ideas in this book for slowing down.
2. Centre Church by Timothy Keller
What can I say? I have yet to read a better, more comprehensive book on church and leadership. I practically underlined more than I didn’t. I suspect this will be my default manual on church life.
1. Saving Eutychus by Gary Millar & Phil Campbell
This is by no means the only book about preaching that I’d recommend, or even the first. But it may be the most important one I’ve read, at least for my own preaching. It’s helped me to see my sermon manuscripts with new eyes, and inspired me to aggressively weed out anything that doesn’t sound like I would say it in a conversation. Solid and practical. And that title… wish I’d thought of it.