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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.