Monday, March 30, 2009

10 Absolutely Essential Books for Christians

One of my favorite blogs is Beauty and Depravity, a sort of blog about everything by a very cool Korean-American pastor, Eugene Cho. On Friday he posted his own list of 10 Absolutely Essential Books for Christians that was actually much more then 10. It's a very different sort of list than what I see from most people, and is a mix of old and new, edgy and classic.

Which of these books have you read? Do you recommend them? My thoughts below Eugene's list, and I will put an x after all of the books that I have read.

There are so many excellent books that it’s really difficult to condense it into a list of 10. My recommendations are created with an attempt towards the larger picture of Christian discipleship - meaning that I want to balance my list with theology, discipleship, spirituality, biblical studies, etc....

Okay, here’s my List of the 10 Essential Books I’d Recommend every Christian to Read [in no particular order]:

* Testament of Hope - Martin Luther King, Jr.
* Orthodoxy - G.K. Chesterton
* Celebration of Discipleship - Richard Foster (no, but I read Willard, who is practically one long quote from Foster!)
* Mere Christianity - C. S. Lewis
* Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger - Ron Sider
* Wounded Healer or Return of the Prodigal Son - Henri Nouwen
* Dogmatics - Karl Barth [yes, all 13 volumes]
* The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society - Leslie Newbiggen
* The Cost of Discipleship - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
* The Politics of Jesus - John Howard Yoder

Okay. Because I can’t stop at just 10, here’s my Next 10 that I think are also essential reads for all Christians.

* Knowing God - J.I. Packer X
* Theology of Hope - Jurgen Moltmann
* Old Testament Theology - Gerhard von Rad
* The Moral Vision of the New Testament - Richard B. Hays
* A Theology of Liberation - Gustavo Gutierrez
* Irresistable Revolution - Shane Claiborne
* Transforming Missions - David Bosch
* The Jesus I Never Knew or What’s so Amazing About Grace - Phillip Yancey
* Christ and Culture - H. Richard Niebuhr
* Moral Man & Immoral Society - Reinhold Neibuhr

Honorable Mention:

* The Hiding Place [Corrie ten Boom] X
* The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind [Mark Noll] X
* Let Justice Roll Down [John Perkins]
* The Prophetic Imagination [Walter Brueggemann] No, but I have read some of his other writing
* any one of Francis Shaeffer’s trilogy
* Lord of the Rings Trilogy [Tolkien] X
* Surprised by Hope [N.T. Wright]
* Silence [Shusaku Endo] X
* Traveling Mercies [Anne Lamott]
* The Brothers Karamazov [Dostoyevsky] X
* Life Together [Bonhoeffer]

Dang it, I am WAY behind on this reading list! Mere Christianity and Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton are very high on my "MUST Read" list. Moltman, Neibuhr, Schaeffer, Lamott, and Bonhoeffer are close behind. Oh... so much reading to do.

I was not as much of a fan of Knowing God by JI Packer, but I was transformed by reading Mark Nolls perspective on history, and all of the fiction listed is among my favorite writings (particularly Tolkein and Shusaku Endo).

1 comment:

  1. Orthodoxy is good, but I read it a long time ago. I'll be interested to hear what you think if you read it. Also, Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey is very good, even though it's not one of his more well known books.