Here are the book titles, in no particular order, of what was read in 2017 along with a short and informal review. Many books were required for my DEdMin studies.
- 1560 Geneva Bible. Okay, you’re probably wondering why I put the Bible on my reading list as Christians read the Bible every year. But I put it here because it is a facsimile edition of the 1560 Geneva Bible that includes all the margin notes from reformers like John Calvin and John Knox. It also provides the history of Geneva Bible that is fascinating. Yet, when it came to reading the facsimile edition the initial challenge was to understand the Old English type set used to produce it. Some letters look like a ‘f’ but is pronounced as a ‘s’ while an ‘I’ could either pronounced with a ‘J’ or ‘I’ sound. After a while it becomes a little easier but other challenges remain that include the use of a Hebrew word phonetically spelled out rather than using the meaning. This was noticed in Genesis 3:20 with the use of Heuáh rather than Eve. But don’t let that discourage you from taking the opportunity to read the Geneva Bible. It is an amazing work during an important time in history. The margin notes makes it the first study Bible for the common person in addition to being the Bible that the pilgrims carried to the new lands seeking religious liberty.
- Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Simply a fantastic devotion and, in my opinion, a great updated version. From time to time I would access the digital version of Spurgeon’s devotion on Logos to read the differences between Spurgeon’s work and this work. I appreciate Alistair Begg’s careful revision of the devotional quality only the Prince of Preachers could deliver.
- What I Believe: A Combat Chaplain’s Guide to God by Chaplain (Captain) W. Michael Oliver. This book was recommended while visiting a book store in Nashville. As a Veteran, I am looking for books written by Military that have a theological foundation to give to Military as part of our Military ministry where I currently serve. What caught my attention with this book was the table of contents. The author lays out the Biblical Storyline then moves into the Ordo Salutis and the Solas of the reformation. Who uses Ordo Salutis for their chapter naming convention? So I had to read it. Each chapter is short, but we’ll balanced in presenting an overview of the order of salvation easily understood. And if you are interested in reading the reformed view of the Ordo Salutis without a lot of big words, this is the book. And yes, there are various views when it comes to the order of salvation that will impact one’s understanding of the extent of the atonement, predestination, and the effects of sin. Theology matters.
- The Gospel & Racial Reconciliation from The Gospel for Life Series edited by Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker. For a short read, this series of books are theologically engaging with passionate wisdom of rightly caring for and loving our neighbors. The gift of each contributor to the topic of racial reconciliation makes this book, this series, a must read.
- The Gospel & Same-Sex Marriage from The Gospel for Life Series edited by Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker. Again, a strong assembly of contributors makes this book another blessing in the discussion of same-sex marriage today. While one chapter came across as lacking, compared to the other contributors, I would still highly recommend this book and series.
- The Gospel & Religious Liberty from The Gospel for Life Series edited by Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker. This book was read toward the close of 2016, but I included here as I have been reading additional books in this series. Let me just say this first…this book is fantastic! The topic of religious liberty is one that is often set aside for other ‘pressing’ issues. But religious liberty is a pressing issue and this small book is enlightening. Although small, it will help the reader gain a quick understanding to the issues surrounding this topic and why religious liberty is so very important.
- Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven about the Death of a Child by John MacArthur. The topic of a child’s death is very challenging, but John MacArthur does an outstanding job in walking the reader through Scripture. While it is easy, and common to proof-text one’s position here, John MacArthur does not take a simplistic, superficial, or provide some super-spiritual response common today, but examines the full council of God’s Word to form a biblical response. Which Dr. MacArthur’s response is along the same lines as Drs. Albert Mohler and Daniel Akin who also tackle this topic.
- Ministry in The New Marriage Culture edited by Jeff Iorg. The list of contributors quickly places this book as a must read as they have first-hand experiences ministering in the new marriage culture. It quickly became a book recommendation for the staff so they too can be familiarized with this subject. It has contributed to several discussions among the staff on how we prayerfully engage in this discussion.
- Wounded Spirit: A Biblical Approach to Dealing with the Effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Douglas J. Carragher. Since the book was written by a retired Service Member for Service Members I was immediately drawn to it, especially since the topic is on PTSD. While I appreciate Dr. Carragher’s work here in bringing awareness to PTSD, I expected more with the title “Biblical Approach.” Although small in size this book continued to deliver small nuggets of insight that led us to purchase two cases to give away as part of our ministry to the Military. Both cases were gone very quickly, which was very revealing of the silent need within our congregation and community. This little book can easily be picked up and tucked in a pocket for later reading.
- Scripture and Counseling: God’s Word For Life in a Broken World edited by Bob Kellemen and Jeff Forrey. Last year I read A Theology of Biblical Counseling by Heath Lambert and this book by Bob Kellemen and Jeff Forrey is along the same lines, however. Scripture and Counseling has several biblical counselors contributing to the contents including Heath Lambert. It was a great addition to my library as I also purchased the kindle edition.
- No Quick Fix: Where Higher Life Theology Came From, What It Is, and Why It’s Harmful by Andrew David Naselli. I have heard many of these comments identified by Andrew Naselli, but did not realize the background of where it came from. Andrew Naselli, as the book title indicates, explores how Keswick Theology, or High Life Theology, was formed and who were the leading proponents. I am grateful for Naselli’s study into this topic because I agree that it is harmful. I have had a professing believer once inform me that he was a ‘carnal’ Christian as he tried to convince me to leave the Southern Baptist Convention because he considered it a denomination that emphasizes works-based faith. He embraced his ‘carnal’ Christian position, which was very sad and one that I challenged. This book prepares one to biblically refute this false system.
- Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Revised and Updated, by Donald S. Whitney. This is the third time I read through Donald Whitney’s book and everything time it brings conviction, learning, and growth. This book is so packed with biblical references and insight that it became our primary textbook for our Spiritual Disciplines class at church. Donald Whitney’s work is thorough and why I read his work (see 2016 Reading List).
- Habits for Our Holiness: How The Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out by Philip Nation. This book is outstanding and a great addition in the study of Spiritual Disciplines because Philip Nation captures an important point many miss…the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Spiritual disciplines do impact our personal growth, but that personal growth should also impact others. This book was important enough to have both print and kindle editions.
- Discerning Your Call To Ministry: How to Know For Sure And What To Do About It by Jason K. Allen. I wish this book was around when I experienced my own calling to the ministry. Simply insightful. Today I purchase this book and provide it to men who share that they are sensing a call to the ministry themselves. This book has been tremendously helpful as it guides our conversations on calling and labors in the ministry. Jason Allen’s breakdown of three potential callings in the ministry (i.e., called to minister, called to ministry, and called to the ministry) is very helpful as many view calling in a very narrow sense. I can’t speak highly enough of Dr. Allen’s book and highly recommend a copy be included in every minister’s library.
- Rediscovering Discipleship: Making Jesus’ Final Words Our First Work by Robby Gallaty. I enjoy listening to Dr. Gallaty’s passion on discipleship. This book reflects his labors to call the Church back to her Great Commission mandate to make disciples. Dr. Gallaty not only contrasts the differences between Eastern and Western approaches to education, but also provides a historical overview of discipleship. The title Rediscovering Discipleship is exactly what this book is about. But Dr. Gallaty doesn’t just call the Church back to discipleship, he also provides a simple approach to discipleship using the acronym MARCS (Missional, Accountable, Reproducible, Communal, and Spiritual) as a way forward in rediscovering discipleship.
Required and select reading for DEdMin seminars in 2017.
- How To Read A Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren.
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
- Life In the Spirit: Spiritual Formation in Theological Perspective edited by Jeffery P. Greenman and George Kalantzis. I would recommend this book, but with a caveat that the reader approach it critically when the contributors present chapters on historical approaches to spiritual formation.
- Who Stole My Church? What to Do When the Church You Live in Tries to Enter the Twenty-first Century by Gordon McDonald. Story is told through a fictional church and characters, but feels very much as a non-fiction.
- The Elements of Style, 4th Edition, by William Stunk Jr. and E.B. White. This book sits besides my desk as I strive to improve on my writing abilities.
- Being Bright Is Not Enough: The Unwritten Rules of Doctoral Study, 3rd Edition, by Peggy Hawley.
- Spiritual Leadership, Revised and Expanded, by Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby. The church I serve provides copies of this book to our newly ordained deacons. So when it was on the reading list I was excited to dive into it. The Blackaby’s provide a solid book on spiritual leadership and highly recommended. While I may not align with some of their positions, theologically, this book is excellent and desperately needed today as leadership in the church is often associated with power and control.
- StandOut 2.0 by Marcus Buckingham. Secular, but good. It is worth reading and taking the assessment.
- Leading from the Second Chair: Serving Your Church, Fulfilling Your Role, and Realizing Your Dreams by Mike Borem and Roger Patterson. This is a topic that I struggle with as one who is serving in a junior position…more like the tenth or eleventh chair! It was a topic that I was interested in when I heard Dr. Rick Holland speak on this topic during a break-out session during the 2014 For The Church Conference. Highly recommended for those serving in either first or second chairs.
- Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, 4th Edition, by William and Susan Bridges. Secular, but very good especially as churches seek to revitalize or replant. Many expect people to quickly accept the needed changes, but then wonder why there are problems when the congregation experiences the agreed upon changes. This book looks at the emotional challenges in making a transition and very applicable today.
- Building Leaders: Blueprints For Developing Leadership at Every Level of Your Church by Aubrey Malphurs Will Mancini. Excellent book on a very important topic for the church today. Excellent books and highly recommended. This book lays out a systematic blueprint for developing leaders. Leaders who do not know how to develop leaders or have a staffed pipeline to develop leaders, this book is for you. Many principles can be applied to any congregation size.
- Leading Congregational Change: A Practical Guide for the Transformational Journey by Jim Herrington, Mike Bonem, and James Furr. Highly recommended book. It covers the progress of a association of churches in Texas that sought needed changes to reach the community where they serve.
- Ministering to Problem People in Your Church: What to Do With Well-Intentioned Dragons by Marshall Shelley. Unfortunately, the topic is a reality in all churches. But don’t let the title of calling congregational members dragons discourage you from reading this book. You will benefit from it.
- Connecting: The Mentoring Relationships You Need To Succeed in Life by Paul Stanley and Robert Clinton. Excellent book as Stanley and Clinton explore the need for mentoring and the different aspects of mentoring. Highly recommend this book if you are serious about discipleship because there are some relationships that will focus on one being a spiritual mentor rather than a teaching mentor. This books outlines those differences and provides guidance for each.
- Managing Conflict in the Church by David W. Kale. Good book, but did not glean much from it compared to the others.
- Catastrophic Crisis: Ministry Leadership in the Midst of Trial and Trajedy by Steve Echols and Allen England. This book was eye opening in that it dealt with topics many churches do not even consider, although they are unfortunately becoming more frequent (e.g., active shooter in the church). This book not only reviews different catastrophic events, but also presents leadership discussion points and reflections. This book made such an impact on me that I have both paper and kindle editions.
- Antagonists in the Church by Kenneth Haugk. This book was purchased during the seminar based on conversations and recommendations with the professor. A highly recommended book as it covers a topic that many ignore or try not to believe about potential members in their congregation. Unfortunately, this is a frequent occurrence based on conversations I have had this year. While there is still more research needed in the area of what separates an antagonist from a church bully, this book is very helpful in learning how to identify and deal with antagonists in the church.
- The Teaching Ministry of the Church, 2nd Edition, edited by William R. Yount. Good book and worth reading. The book contains many contributors covering a variety of topics from teaching each age group to selecting and evaluating curriculum for your church.
- The Reciprocating Self: Human Development in Theological Perspective, 2nd Edition, by Jack O. Balswick, Pamela Ebstyne King, and Kevin S. Reimer. This is a very in-depth examination of human development. While the authors provide expanded research on human development not discussed in the other books, the authors take liberty in developing their theological perspective based on a position not held historically. Critical reading is a must with this book.
- Nuture that is Christian: Developmental Perspectives on Christian Education edited by James C. Wilhoit and John M. Dettoni. What I appreciate about this book, more than than the others, is presenting individual chapters on the works of Piaget, Kohlberg, Fowler, Erickson, Vygotsky, Perry and Belenky. Anyone interested in their work and how it contributes to Christian education, spiritual development, will benefit from this book.
- Christian Formation: Integrating Theology and Human Development edited by James R. Estep and Jonathan H. Kim. Another good book to add to one’s library. While I disagree on their paradigmatic approach to integration, this is a very helpful book in the area of Christian formation.
- Think Biblically: Recovering a Christian Worldview edited by John MacArthur. This book was purchased due to it being referenced to refute the One-Book position written by Taylor B. Jones.
- Exploring The History and Philosophy of Christian Education by Michael J. Anthony and Warren S. Benson. This book was purchased for additional reading to learn of Church’s historical position when it comes to the integration debate (i.e., No-Book, One-Book, or Two-Book positions). Anthony and Benson cover key figures and their philosophies when it comes to Christian education and integration. Excellent book and highly recommended as they as provide “So What” lessons on why this matters today.