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In the “Life in the Body of Christ” book we are reading for ABF, there is a section discussing how it is helpful for us as Christians to build a private library. The following is a list of book recommendations from members of the body here at CCC. Everyone was asked to send one or two books they believe every Christian should have as part of their library.
Contact us if you would like a PDF copy of the current list.
|Paul Biebel||All things for Good, Thomas Watson||“These two books (All Things for Good & God’s Joy in Your Heart) are packed with timeless truths which for every ounce of conviction offer pounds of encouragement, comfort, and hope in return.” Paul|
|Steve Moxleyand Patti Moxley||Believers Bible Commentary, William MacDonald
|AMAZON – Make Bible study a part of your daily life with the thorough yet easy-to-use Believer’s Bible Commentary. MacDonald tackles the controversial issues head-on, taking a theologically conservative stand, yet presenting alternate views with fairness. The Believer’s Bible Commentary is a friendly guide to exploring the deeper meanings of every biblical book.|
|Patti Moxley||Bible Dictionary, William Smith||CBD – It describes the more important people and places of the Bible and the major teachings of Scripture, and includes Smith’s famous 4,000 questions & answers.|
|Allen Burns||Desiring God, John Piper||“No book has shaped my theology more than this one. This book helps me understand God must be the object of my affections. When this happens, I will find my ultimate joy and satisfaction in life. This book stirs my passions for God and awakens me to look at Scripture from God’s perspective instead of from my own. (FYI-John MacArthur reads this book yearly!)” Allen|
|Sammy Williams||Doctrine of Repentance, Thomas Watson
|ONLINE DESCRIPTION: This book teaches on the nature of repentance and how it is more than feeling sorry but ultimately turns us from sin.|
|Zane Burke||God is the Gospel, John Piper||“An excellent read that touches us to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Zane|
|Paul Biebel||God’s Joy in Your Heart, C. H. Spurgeon||“These two books (All Things for Good & God’s Joy in Your Heart) are packed with timeless truths which for every ounce of conviction offer pounds of encouragement, comfort, and hope in return.” Paul|
|Neil Petersen||How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home, Derek W. H. Thomas||AMAZON: In these pages, Dr. Thomas leads his readers step by step through this remarkable chapter of Scripture, unfolding the waystations along the Christian journey and uncovering profound exhortations and reassurances for God’s people.|
|Kim Fillian and Sammy Williams||Knowing God, J.I. Packer||“Just really good!!!!!” – Kim FillianNOTE: This book is considered a modern classic by leading theologians. It is practical, yet deep. Paul’s prayer to the church of Colossae was that they increase in the knowledge of God and this book will help do that.|
|Toby Bartlett||Lengthen Your Stride, John B. Aker||ONLINE DESCRIPTION: The key ingredients to a deeper walk with God. — A closer communion with God – isn’t that what every Christian thirsts for? — Through his own life, and it’s diverse avenues, the author shows how he pursued God and learned that “closeness with God begins with His acceptance and love of us, but it takes something on our part too. We must have the right attitude and appropriate that intimacy.|
|Kathie Powers||My Utmost for His Higheest, Oswald Chambers||“This devotional really stirs my heart when I spend time dwelling on the message being told.”|
|Steph Baker||Stepping Heavenward, Elizabeth Prentiss||It’s a very intimate book that shows how to apply God’s word and how to live it out in loving Him and others more through all phases of life Here’s a review by Elizabeth Elliot that articulates it perfectly for me :) “This book is a treasure of both godly and womanly wisdom told with disarming candor and humility, yet revealing a deep heart’s desire to know God. We need such intimate accounts, need them desperately when the word “commitment” is so little understood and so seldom practiced. I do not hesitate to recommend it to men, who need to better understand the wives they live with, and to any woman who wants to walk with God.”|
|Susie CrossSteve Moxley||Strong’s Concordance||A concordance is an alphabetical list of words present in the Bible and shows where the word occurs within a verse.|
|Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem||This book has proven to be a great resource. It uses clear writing with understandable and logical explanations. This book is helpful to use when you want to understand how different doctrinal differences occur (who believes what, and why).|
|Sandy Moxley||The Faithful Parent, Martha Peace & Stuart W.Scott||FROM AMAZON: The most important relationship in your family is your relationship with him. That’s the relationship this book emphasizes. Martha Peace, bestselling author of The Excellent Wife, and Stuart Scott, author of its counterpart, The Exemplary Husband, join forces to challenge you to become a faithful parent — one who perseveres and leaves the results to God.|
|Neil Petersen||The God Who Loves, John Macarthur||AMAZON: “God is love.” It’s the most basic definition of God in Scriptures, but so profound that it’s often misunderstood. MacArthur answers such questions as: If God is love, how could He send anyone to hell? What’s the difference between the loving God of the New Testament and the angry God of the Old Testament? If God is love, why did He require His Son to die on the Cross? How can God be both loving and jealous?|
|Allen Burns and Brian Sayers||The Gospel According to Jesus, John MacArthur||“When I first started in ministry at Camp Good News, I had an “easy-believism” Gospel and didn’t even know it. A friend recommended this book to me in the middle of the camp season. As soon as camp ended that summer, I started reading. Wow. The truth of how the Gospel should be shared jumped off the page and resonated in my heart. After reading this book I decided I wanted to be an expert on the Gospel.” Allen|
|Fred Thompson and Neil Petersen||The Gospel for Real Life, Jerry Bridges||“I enjoyed this book very much. Jerry Bridges has a very practical way of explaining the Gospel, our need for Christ and how to live it our daily. It brought me great encouragement, conviction and hope in Jesus Christ.” – Fred|
|Chris Burns||The Reason for God, Tim Keller||FROM AMAZON: One by one, the arguments for unbelief fall before Keller’s unrelenting logic. The claim that science has disproved religion comes in for particular scrutiny, as Keller deflects the antireligious syllogism that converts evolutionary theory into an obituary for orthodoxy.|
|Terri Burns||Thompson Chain Reference Bible, Nelson Publishers||ONLINE DESCRIPTION: Thompson® Chain-Reference® Bibles are made for those who use their Bibles every day. The Chain-Reference System allows you to follow any subject, person, place or idea, from the beginning of the Bible to the end. The Thompson Chain Reference Bible has over 100,000 links covering over 7,000 topics.|
|Sandy Moxley||Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand||ONLINE DESCRIPTION: This is a story of amazing faith in shocking circumstances. Richard Wurmbrand endured months of solitary confinement, years of periodic physical torture, constant suffering from hunger and cold, the anguish of brainwashing and mental cruelty. His captors lied to his wife, saying he was dead. Yet he went on to tell the West the truth about Christianity behind the Iron Curtain. Millions of people have been touched by this story.|
|Brian Sayers||Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, Jerry Bridges||AMAZON: In Trusting God, Bridges shares the scope of God’s power to help you come to know Him better, have a relationship with Him, and trust Him more–even when unjust things happen. Tragedy, grief, loss, and death are part of life. Discover how Trusting God can reveal biblical truths about God.|
|Danielle Bokinala||What is the Gospel, Greg Gilbert||“It’s a very clear and direct explanation of core gospel truths – an excellent resource for explaining the gospel to myself and practicing to explain to others.”|
|Zane Burke||Who am I? Identity in Christ, Jerry Bridges||“A great exposition of what it means to be ‘in Christ.’” Zane|
|Carl Hall||Worship, the ultimate priority, John Macarthur||“The book by MacArther, as he says in the begining of the book, His study on worship transformed his walk, as well as the heart of his flock. As I have been reading it, I am in agreement. I feel every believer would be greatly encouraged in their walks by digging into True Worship.”|
I mentioned this book in Adult Bible Fellowship on Sunday, and promised that I would be posting a somewhat thorough review of it this week. That post is now available at www.CafeBiblia.com. Below is my opening summary if you want the “sound-bite” version, but when you start hearing folks talking about this book, I guarantee you’ll want more information.
The Shack is the story of one man’s struggle to know God and understand reality in the face of horrible tragedy. Mackenzie Phillips (“Mack”) grew up alone and far from home from age 13, having run away after fatally poisoning his abusive, drunkard father. He marries a fine Christian woman and settles into a somewhat normal life, until he is suddenly faced with the abduction and brutal murder of his youngest daughter.
After struggling through severe depression for a few years, he mysteriously receives a note of invitation from God to meet Him at the scene of his daughter’s horrible death-a shack in the wilderness of Oregon. There he engages all three members of the Trinity in conversation and discovery about his own heart and the tragedy itself, which transforms his concept of God and of reality.
Unfortunately the book “paints an image of God” that is erroneous at best and blasphemous at worst. The Bible says that some, professing to be wise, actually become fools because they have “exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man” (Romans 1:22-23). While admittedly a work of “fiction,” the author clearly intends to communicate truth about God, and therefore cannot be exempt from this biblical warning. Yet, even in the face of such obvious admonition, Young diminishes the reality, majesty and glory of the Godhead by depicting God the Father as a burly African-American woman with a crass sense of humor, the Holy Spirit as a slight, more aged, and almost translucent Asian woman, and Jesus (predictably, I suppose) as a bearded, middle-aged Jewish man outfitted like a carpenter (although the jeans, flannel shirt and tool belt gives even Jesus a curious bent).
What are some of the problems, concerns and issues that need to be addressed about this book? Others have addressed the doctrinal issues fairly thorously (read here for an excellent review). In addition to relating a few obvious doctrinal issues, I would like to address some of the problems, concerns and issues that need to be addressed about this book from a pastoral standpoint.
I would first like to explain some of the reasons why I believe this book is so popular, which will highlight some problems in the evangelical church as a whole. Second, I want to list a few of the key errors promoted in the book, and point you to an excellent and thorough discussion of the issues. Third, I would like to briefly address the question of whether this book, despite its errors, could be used as an evangelistic tool with unbelievers. And fourth, I want to briefly address why the argument “fiction should not be analyzed like it is a systematic theology” does not hold water.