2018 has been the year of books. Between seminary and just attempting to keep up with the latest in the evangelical world (both theology and practice), I honestly came to the end of the year with a blur. As I put together my annual list, both for my benefit and the benefit of others, my deciding factor for these eight books was simple: Did I talk about it to much?
Did anyone tell me to “Shut Up!” about it?
Without further ado, here is one more reason to tell me to shut up.
“The Church” Trilogy by Joe Thorn
Yup, I have three books in the #1 spot- sue me. Joe Thorn has written a fantastic trilogy on the Church that is a must have for pastors or church members who care to understand the church. Joe addresses the Heart of the Church- her theology, the Character of the Church- the five marks of a church, and the Life of the Church- her community and mission. These have formed a road map for our church as we continue in revitalization.
2) American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea by John D. Wilsey
I’ll be honest, if I had not been required to read this, I would have never picked it up. This is to my share because this book is excellent! If you want to understand much of what is currently going on with the political landscape, we must look backward. Wilsey seeks to help us understand how the theology of 17th and 18th century America have directly impacted us in the 21st century. Check it out!
3) How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age by Jonathan Leeman
Of course, any book list for 2018 will have its share of books on politics! Jonathan Leeman is helping us chart the course to understanding the Christian’s role in politics. Leeman is incredibly bi-partisian in this work and it is should be #1 for a church layperson looking at the news headlines in dismay.
4) How We Got the Bible by Timothy Paul Jones
Sometimes I read a book and don’t walk away with more knowledge, but with the knowledge I have better organized. Dr. Jones has written such a book on the history of the Bible. Incredibly accessible and illustrated- you need this book in the hands of a doubting or curious church member. (And pastor- you need the reminder yourself!)
5) The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist: Or the dreadful consequences of bad arguments by Andy Bannister
Want to respond to your secular friend? How do secular millennials think? Bannister offers an incredibly helpful book for apologetics to this demographic. He responds to the main arguments against faith in our day with winsome and grace.
As I preached through Hebrews, this resource was incredible! Anyone who knows me knows that Dr. Allen and I have some major differences in theology at points, but this work sticks faithfully to the text and outside of a few excuses’ should be a standard for those seeking to preach the book of Hebrews. Level of accessibility is Seminary Student level.
I know. You must think you’re in some sort of dream- a SECOND Dr. Allen book on my list? What is wrong with me? Am I becoming a traditionalist??? Joking aside, I found Dr. Allen’s case compelling (outside of a last chapter that I was very confused by). What do you think? Could Luke be the author of Hebrews? Check out the book and explore further! (Note: Not always accessible for those without some basic Greek knowledge).
8) God Redeeming His Bride by Robert K Cheong
I’ll admit it, I didn’t read all of this book. But, as I had to pastor through my first church discipline case as a pastor, this book proved invaluable. The additional resources in the back are what should be reviewed and poured over by pastors looking to understand and practice biblical and redemptive church discipline.
Now for some Honorable Mentions…
The Cradle, The Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Andreas Kostenberger, Scott Kellum, Charles Quarles.
Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church by Michael A.G. Haykin
Family Ministry Field Guide: how your church can equip parents to make disciples by Timothy Paul Jones
Simple Student Ministry by Eric Geiger and Jeff Borton
Exalting Jesus in Hebrews (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary) by Albert Mohler
God’s Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testament by James M. Hamilton