Whatcha Reading?

In light of a recent post where I encouraged people to read beyond what they already know, one of the members of Grace said a reading list might be helpful. So here is one off the top of my head. This is only a list to help us stretch. This is not the best book list, nor a must have reading list. It is a suggested reading list that can prove useful to those of us who need to read something different. I have read all of these books and found them helpful in one way or another. The categories are not necessarily fair, but whatayagonnado? Also, I am not suggesting that everyone needs to read everything on this list, but that if your diet is out of balance, take a look around and try something new. For most the principle here is easy. Is your eschatology cobbled together from the Left Behind series? Then read The Bible and The Future by Hoekema. Simple right?

1. Classic and Systematic Theology. Does your diet consist of John Maxwell, John Eldredge and Rick Warren? Time for some standard Reformed theology.

  • John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Big, devotional, and should lead you to worship.)
  • John Calvin, Golden Booklet of the Christian Life (Tiny book, great weekend read.)
  • Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Everyone needs some "systemat" in their diet. Too much can give you spiritual gout, but not enough will leave you weak. Berkhof is one of the best.)
  • R. L. Dabney, Systematic Theology (Dabney's is in lecture format. Different feel when reading it.)
  • Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (A place to start if Sys Theo is new to you.)

2. Mystical and Experiential Works. For those who have been reading lots of Sproul, MacArthur, and classic Systematic Theology. Check out some guys who wrote about experiencing God.

  • St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul (Hey, where did God go? John might help you find him again.)
  • Saint Augustine, Confessions (Narrative of his journey, whoa - sounds postmodern!)
  • Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God (Now that you found God, stay with him while cooking or mowing your lawn)
  • Jonathan Edwards, Treatise on Religious Affections (The “big daddy” of Christian spiritual experience. A must read.)
  • J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Anglican, Reformed, theological and experiential.)

3. Puritan Literature. Don't let Piper tell you what they say, find out yourself. Especially important for novice Calvinists who think the five points comprise a body of practical divinity. My favorite Christian writing outside of the Scripture.

  • Henry Scudder, The Christian's Daily Walk (How to wake up with and spend the day with God.)
  • William Plummer, Vital Godliness (The spiritual experiences we go through. The book that woke me from a proud, cold, faith built exclusively on Sys Theo. Cured me of my spiritual gout.)
  • Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices (Spiritual Warfare, sans Frank Peretti)
  • Thomas Watson, The Godly Man's Picture (Short sections, good way to introduce yourself to the Puritans and a life of holiness.)
  • Henry Scougal, The Life of God in the Soul of Man (One of the most important books written after Revelation. Seriously.)

4. Modern Stuff. Stuff written to the modern world from the modern Christian church. Most of you are familiar with this stuff, but here are a few.

  • C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (The first few chapters are the best part of the book.)
  • Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority (Ok, I have not read everything from all six volumes, but Henry is brilliant and worth some time.)
  • Benjamin B. Warfield, Revelation and Inspiration (Warfield is considered one of the best on this issue).

5. Postmodern Stuff. Written to and from the postmodern Christian church.

  • Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz (A narrative of his journey, whoa - sounds like Augustine!)
  • John Franke, The Character of Theology (Doing theology in the postmodern world)
  • Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (Thoughtful readers seem to appreciate his concern for an authentic, biblical faith and church. He raises some great questions, has some good things to say but the book has a lot of problems too.)
  • Charlie Peacock, New Way to Be Human (Simple summary of the Christian way.)

To not grow in our understanding and experience of God can reflect the sin of laziness/sloth (That post is coming soon). Feel free to recommend books that have helped you as well.