I keep a record of the books I read (actually only the ones I finish). Last night I thought I would select my book of the year (from those I read in 2009). Before I share my favorite book, from those I read last year, I thought I would give some recommended reading.
Pierced for our Transgressions (Ovey, Jeffrey and Sach) is a defence of the traditional evangelical understanding of what happened at the cross. It is a very detailed and thorough book. It is clear defense of what is known as Penal Substitution.
Mukiwa - White Boy in Africa (Peter Godwin). This is a memoir of someone growing up in Zimbabwe during that's country's transition from white rule. Godwin also writes a superb book entitled When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, which I read a couple of years ago, and gives his experiences of political events from a couple of years ago.
Worship Matters (Bob Kauflin). I thought this book was great. David Blevins also raved about it when he read it, and our praise team are all reading it.
Doubt - Faith in two minds (Os Guinness). I am doing some further study and doubt is one of the topics I choice to write an essay on. This book was later reproduced under the heading God in the Dark.
Walking with Gay Friends (Alec Tylee). A very compassionate and practical book from a conservative position. This is a huge issue for the church at this time and I believe this book gives a sensible approach.
J. Greham Machen (Stephen Nichols). Machen was an American evangelical academic at the beginning of the last century. He was someone who argued against the liberalism of theology in his day. As I read this book I felt that he was someone who had a lot of relavence for our own time.
Fresh wind, fresh fire (Jim Cymbala). Books like this are a must read every now and then because they reignite the passion for whatever ministry we are in. While Cymbala sometimes undervalues the place of preaching he passionately reminds us of the importance of prayer.
Why I am a Christian? (John Stott) A short and clear book to be read and to give away.
Give us this mountain, He gave us the valley and Digging Ditches (Helen Rosevere). These three books share Helen Rosevere's story. The woman is an inspiration. She speaks with real honesty. They are a challenge to a more dedicated discipleship.
But now for the book that I most enjoyed last year. It was not a book that I learned much theology from. I felt that it was superbly written (although Caroline wasn't as impressed with his writing style as I was, and she knows these things better than me). It made me smile and laugh. It reminded me that reading is not simply for the acquiring of knowledge, but also for simple enjoyment. Having said all that it did shape my thinking in the fact that it is a book that conveys an atmosphere. My book of the year is Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller).