http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6710415-jesse This is the best place to follow what I’m reading/reviewing/suggesting etc.
– This is a wonderful list of books, with category headings. There’s pretty much something for everyone here.
Politics – Wayne Grudem
– This book is a large volume on an incredibly wide range of topics relating to political and cultural issues and how Christians should view them in light of the Bible. Very insightful, rigorous, and helpful so far, and I have only just begun reading it.
Confessions – Augustine
– There is a reason this book has lasted as long as it has and been so “popular” as well. This book deals with several things, but it’s one of those that made me say “ouch, yeah that’s me too” a lot. Philosophy, Theology, and Christian Living are addressed.
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine – Wayne Grudem
– Another great resource from Wayne Grudem. This gives a great overview of the different Christian positions on certain doctrines and how they get their support. He addresses basically every theological issue I can think of.
The God Who Is There – Francis Schaeffer
– If you want to know why/how things are the way they are, then read this book. Shaeffer explains how the current world paradigm of postmodernism came to be and what our job as Christians is with regards to “20th century man”. Rest assured though, everything he says in the book can be used for 21st century man too; we haven’t changed much.
Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis
– This is the book that really got me interested in apologetics and theology. While neither the book, nor the man, are perfect, it is still a really great book. It covers a wide range of topics, and is a great starter book.
There Is A God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind – Antony Flew
– This is a very honest book. Antony Flew is a figure worth studying regardless of your worldview because he, unlike the new athesits, actually was interested in presenting a comprehensive case for his atheism. In this book, he documents in the first part, how he became an atheist and what his professional life as a philosopher looked like from that worldview. Then, in the second part, he documents how he slowly began to change his views and what convinced him of the existence of God.
The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me To God – Peter Hitchens
– This book is somewhat similar to the Antony Flew book above, though Peter goes further than Antony does in the sense that he now claims Christianity whereas Flew died a Deist. Obviously, there is much discussion in this book on him more famous brother Christopher Hitchens, and what their relationship was like growing up and how they both came to atheism and then how Peter departed and their subsequent relationship. It is also worth reading because, as a journalist, it is in an engaging style and Peter got to live in a country where they actually had a government that was run on atheist philosophy. The reader gets to see what that looked like, and how there are parallels in today’s America. There is also a wonderful discussion on Britain, and how they have their own religion based on their own history.
He Is There and He Is Not Silent – Francis Schaeffer
– Metaphysics, morals, and epistemology. Three main areas in philosophy and how modern man has serious problems in all of these areas, yet within the scope of Christianity, these problems disappear. Also, a wonderful pair of appendices dealing with the definition of faith and how it is logical, expected, and necessary for God to have communicated via propositional revelation.
Escape From Reason – Francis Schaeffer
– He traces here the historic problem of “Nature and Grace” and how we moved into thinking in two stories. This is how man became a machine, how man became dead, how man became a zero. This will really help you understand how people think and why they do the things they do. Also, the title may seem a bit misleading but in reality it deals with how modern man actually abandoned his reason.
Back to Freedom and Dignity – Francis Schaeffer
– This is largely a response book to B.F. Skinner’s book “Beyond Freedom and Dignity” and how man has both because they are God given and this is the only way to explain man’s “manishness” as well as the fact that if we abandon these things, we do so at great risk.
Miracles – C. S. Lewis
– This is a great treatment of the subject of miracles. He explains what they are, how they work, and why it is possible for them to happen without it being somehow contradictory to science or reality. (As a side note, this is also the primary work that my “nature of miracles” is based on).
The Abolition of Man – C. S. Lewis
– This book is tough to get through. Not because it isn’t good, but precisely because it is. He deals here with education and how we are influencing our children and rasing a generation of “men without chests” based on what we are teaching them from an early age. Universal values are also included in this discussion as well as the natural law.
The Screwtape Letters – C. S. Lewis
– This book is creepy, I’ll admit. It’s a book about the interaction between an elder demon and his apprentice and focuses around the elder offering advice to the younger on how to better tempt, trap, and control the person he’s going for. I say it’s creepy because of how accurate it is into the human condition. One of those “this hits too close to home” moments pretty much every other page. The “subject” that is being tempted is a Christian (or at least becomes one, it’s been awhile) so this is especially applicable in that sense.
The Great Divorce – C. S. Lewis
– This is a fictional book on how Lewis views heaven, in a way. A bus ride from hell to heaven with all sorts of characters and their interations with angels, each other, and demons. Great story as well as some very helpful analogies to Christian living.
The Problem of Pain – C. S. Lewis
– This is his work on the problem of evil. This is a helpful and unique book in the fact that it addresses both the intellectual problem of evil and the emotional one. There’s also a chapter on animal pain, which is interesting, regardless of your position on the topic.
The Four Loves – C. S. Lewis
– Loves is a huge topic, and Lewis breaks down what he feels are the four main types of love: Agape, Phileo,Eros, and Storage . He explains them and relates how they work between people and between people and God etc.
The Weight of Glory – C. S. Lewis
– A great collection of essays which were taken from talks, sermons etc. Lewis wrote on Christian living better than perhaps any author outside the Bible with the exception of Augustine (at least as far as my limited learning/reading has taken me) and these essays are no different. He tackles topics like in group, out group mentality and how it happens and why we are drawn to it. He discusses forgiveness and what we are tempted to think it is versus what it actually is.
Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus – D. A. Carson
– This is a great, and short, book for anyone wanting to understand the cross and resurrection better. His exegesis is thorough and he brings a lot of clarity into how these things would’ve been understood by their original readers.
Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality – Ravi Zacharias
– As of 2012, this is a look at current culture using current examples. Ever wonder where the vague spirituality comes from, and why it sounds so eastern? What’s with yoga and meditaiton? How about Oprah, what’s her deal? Ravi’s pretty much the man when it comes to carying on Schaeffer’s legacy of tying things together. Where did all these ideas come from, and how have they impacted culture? Check this book out if you want to know what people you interact with on a daily basis are thinking and why it’s important.
The Explicit Gospel – Matt Chandler
– This is a great, short book. Chandler really hits the nail on the head and covers a lot of important topics. What is the gospel, how can we lose it even when we are trying to focus on it, how we can avoid errors etc. And his writing is, for lack of a better word, modern. So it’s very current in a way that makes it applicable, without being cheesy.