Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Ten Christian Nonfiction

My top ten list of Christian nonfiction read in 2010:

10. A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and The Sovereignty of God. John Piper. 2010. Crossway. 160 pages. My review. What I said:
The book does stress the sovereignty of God. And I loved it for that reason. I did. I think there aren't enough books--can't be enough books--telling modern readers this absolute truth, this very fundamental, very biblical truth. What did I appreciate in this one? How rich it is in Scripture! In truth! I also loved how accessible it is to readers.
9. Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope. Mary Beth Chapman. With Ellen Vaughn. 2010. Revell. 288 pages. My review. What I said:
This memoir by Mary Beth Chapman--wife of Steven Curtis Chapman--is more than just an accounting of what happened "the day the world went wrong." Yes, the book is about Maria--the (adopted) daughter she loved and lost. Yes, this book is about the grieving process--the healing process. But Mary Beth is sharing her life, her story. Some chapters of her life are not ones she'd have written for herself. Even before the tragic accident that changed her family forever. But God has written the story of her life. The book is about her personal journey to SEE God working for good in her life. To see God's blessing, his grace, mercy, and love.
8. What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert. Foreword by D.A. Carson. Crossway. 127 pages. My review. What I said:
Gilbert insists that for the good news to be the good news, you need to present the full picture. A full picture that includes plenty of bad news. The good news isn't good if you don't view it within the correct framework. For people to accept Jesus as their Savior--as their Lord--they need to know that God has authority over them--over the world, over creation; they need to realize that they are sinners, that God is a God who hates sin, a God who judges sinners; they need to know what they're being saved from. Only if they recognize that they are in need of a Savior, can the good news have power, have relevance. The good news about the "bad news" is that there is a but.
7. Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. D.A. Carson. 2010. February 2010. Crossway Publishers. 173 pages. My review. What I said:
Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus is a collection of five messages from D.A. Carson. The five messages are: The Ironies of the Cross (which focuses on Matthew 27:27-51a), The Center of the Whole Bible (which focuses on Romans 3:21-26), The Strange Triumph of a Slaughtered Lamb (which focuses on Revelation 12), A Miracle Full of Surprises (which focuses on John 11:1-53), Doubting the Resurrection of Jesus (which focuses on John 20:24-31). I would definitely recommend this one. I thought each message was well written and quite relevant. I especially enjoyed The Center of the Whole Bible and A Miracle Full of Surprises.
6. Raised With Christ: How The Resurrection Changes Everything by Adrian Warnock. 2010. January 2010. Crossway. 272 pages. My review. What I said:
I loved, loved, loved this book. For me, it was an amazing read. It reminded me of why I read Christian nonfiction in the first place. I feel I learned so much--so very, very much--by reading this one. I can honestly say this one made me think. In a good way. It made me pray. The way Adrian Warnock presented his message, well, it worked for me. The way he incorporated the Bible, how he relied on Scripture, that's what I'm looking for. Always. I don't want anyone telling me what to think, what to believe, what's right and what's wrong...if they can't back it up. I want to encounter the Word of God when I read Christian nonfiction. I also appreciated Warnock's use of quotes from Christians (preachers, theologians, writers, etc.) throughout the centuries. Some of these quotes were oh-so-amazing.
5. Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God's Word. By Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach. 2010. Crossway. 160 pages. My review. What I said:
Dig Deeper is a practical book. It gives you the tools. It walks you through using the tools by providing several examples for each one. It gives you homework if you choose to indeed dig deeper. It urges you to implement these tools in your own life, in your own studies.
4. The Gospel In Genesis: From Fig Leaves to Faith by Martin Lloyd-Jones. 2009. Crossway. 160 pages. My review. What I said:
What did I love about this one? (And I did love it, by the way!) How accessible it was. It wasn't dry, it wasn't boring. It was real, it was down-to-earth. I felt like I was listening to a man preach, really preach from the Word of God. It wasn't about how many big words he could use, it was about reaching people--real, every day people--right where they are with a message that is ever-relevant. Though many decades have passed since these sermons were originally preached, the message remains timeless.
3. Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God's Purpose & Provision in Suffering. Edited by Nancy Guthrie. 2010. February 2010. Crossway Books. 176 pages. My review. What I said:
This is such a great book! I absolutely love it and I definitely recommend it! It is a book of 25 readings (classic and contemporary) about suffering and "the problem of pain."
2. The Evangelicals: What They Believe, Where They Are, And Their Politics. Christopher Catherwood. 2010. August 2010. Crossway. 168 pages. My review. What I said:
I loved this one. I just loved it. It was such a fascinating read. Why? Because it was so much more than theology. Yes, there are a couple of chapters on what evangelicals believe. But. What makes this book so much more than just another theological book is what comes next. For the first time perhaps, you'll think about the who and the where. Chances are you'll be surprised--maybe even really surprised--at what you learn in the following chapters! These chapters are very informative. Very thought-provoking. Think sociology and statistics. What we learn is that evangelical Christianity is thriving. Not just surviving--but flourishing in astonishing numbers. In countries where it is dangerous to be a Christian.
1. The Bookends of the Christian Life. Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. 2009. March 2009. Crossway Publishers. 160 pages. My review. What I said:
Bridges and Bevington argue that there are two bookends of the Christian life. The first bookend is the Righteousness of Christ. The second bookend is the Power of the Holy Spirit. (In a way, you could say this book was all about justification and sanctification.) By understanding these two bookends, these two concepts, readers will get a very good picture of the gospel, a good idea of what it means to be a Christian. The book also addresses three gospel enemies: self-righteousness, persistent guilt, and self-reliance. I can't say how much these three chapters helped me! I am so thankful that this book was written.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible