Friday, October 06, 2006

Books That Have Shaped Me

Christianity Today has published an article on The Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals. It's questionable if all fifty books are deserving of the honor but that's a debate for another time and another blog.

However, I am certain that following list of books have been influential in shaping my life and I thought I'd share them with you. I'll list them with a short commentary on how each book has been used by God to shape my life.

Chosen by God
R.C. Sproul

If you're struggling with predestination and the doctrine of election, I highly recommend Chosen by God. Having come from Pentecostal, Arminian viewpoint, this book was intrumental in helping me understand the doctrine of election. In typical Sproul style, the book tackles predestination, free will and the sovereignty of God in a manner accessible to non-theologians.

The Cross of Christ
John Stott

The Cross of Christ is a book I read and re-read every 12-18 months. Initially, I found it a little difficult to get through but it was well worth completing. I found that it expanded my view of what Christ accomplished on the cross, leading me to a greater appreciation for the gospel.

The Discipline of Grace
Jerry Bridges

This book helped me realize how vital the gospel is to everyday Christian living. Chapter 3 on preaching the gospel to yourself is worth the price of the entire book. It's a easy read with a profound impact.

The Pleasures of God
John Piper

The Pleasures of God was the very first Piper book I read. I was intruigued by the title and affected by the truths contained in its pages. Having read almost every book Piper has authored, this is still my favorite. This book calls us to worship by simply joining God in the joy that he has in himself. It's soul enriching and I love it.

Let the Nations Be Glad
John Piper

It would be easy to take John Piper's catchphrase - "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him", turn it on its head and become utterly self focused. Let the Nations Be Glad doesn't permit us to do that by emphasizing that the purpose of missions is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ for the joy of all peoples.

Grace Unknown
R.C. Sproul

I'm not certain but I think this book has since been renamed "What is Reformed Theology?". I found Grace Unknown invaluable in assisting my transition from an Arminian view to a Reformed (Calvinist) position. The strength of the book is how it captures Reformed Theology in such simple and concise language.

Systematic Theology
Wayne Grudem

The closest thing I have to an answer book on biblical doctrine is Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology. It is sufficiently precise and descriptive in its explanations without being overly complex.

Instrument's in the Redeemer's Hands
Paul Tripp

This is a wonderful book that provides a framework for inter-personal ministry. It is gospel centric and has helped me understand how to apply gospel truths in my own life as well as in counseling.

Money, Possessions and Eternity
Randy Alcorn

If you make money, spend money, save money or handle money in any way, you need to read this book. I found this book challenging my views regarding money and possessions by calling me to examine the way I handle wealth in view of eternity.

Randy Alcorn

My selection of Deadline is representative of how I feel about the fiction books written by Randy Alcorn. His descriptions of heaven are so vivid and compelling that they evoke rich emotions from me. I read Deadline when Kathy was sick with cancer and still recall how affected I was by the descriptions of the Savior waiting to greet the saints who have passed into his presence.

Other honorable mentions of books that didn't make my top ten list:
The Holiness of God (R.C. Sproul)
The Enemy Within (Kris Lundgaard)
Desiring God (John Piper)
Trusting God (Jerry Bridges)
The Knowledge of the Holy (A.W. Tozer)

What do you think of my list of books? What books have influenced your life?


P.S. - On this date in 1536, English theologian and scholar William Tyndale was martyed. If you read your Bible today, you have Tyndale to thank. He was chiefly responsible for translating the New and Old Testament into Early Modern English. Thank God for men like Tyndale.


jacksons said...

Interesting, we have quite a few book in common.

Alexa A. said...

Hey there! Thanks for the comment on This Place Is... Hope you'll keep reading even though Seth and I are too busy to update it half the time.

And awesome book list too, hooray for reformed theology! My mom used to play RC Sproul tapes to wake me up in the mornings.

Mark Goodyear said...

Great list! I just recently discovered Randy Alcorn. I guess I'm slow...

I'm not sure I'm a good representative of what is important to evangelicals, but here some of my big influencers in no particular order:

N. T. Wright The Challenge of Jesus
C. S. Lewis The Great Divorce
Richard Foster Celebration of Discipline
Ned Bustard (ed.) It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God
Parker Palmer The Courage to Teach

andre said...


I've never read NT Wright but I know he's a widely read theologian. Unfortunately, I only know of him for his more recent "New Perspectives on Paul" controversy. When I get a chance, I'll pick up The Challenge of Jesus.

The Great Divorce is a great book though I've only read excerpts.

Thanks for sharing your list.

tricia said...

I have read several of those and appreciate them as well. I've gotten to work with Randy Alcorn and he was the real deal.
Personally, I'd add The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, "Your God is Too Safe" by Mark Buchanan and something by Henri Nouwen.

andre said...


I'm somewhat familiar with Dallas Willard but I don't know Mark Buchanan or Henri Nouwen. "Your God is Too Safe" is certainly an intruiging title.

thanks for sharing your list of books