As the New Year dawns, I am reminded of the books I found most encouraging and well worth reading again. Here are my top 5:
5. When Sinners Say "I Do", by Dave Harvey. Harvey begins where all aspects of our lives must begin, with the knowledge of God and ourselves. Good theology leading to good marriages makes for a good book.
4. Sermon on the Mount, by Dan Doriani. As we preached through the Sermon on the Mount this past year, many life changing truths were discovered. Doriani's book was key in my preparation as well as personal growth.
3. Decline of African-American Theology, by Thabiti Anyabwile. Excellent work. A better title would have been, "We Slipt Along Ways Baby: Theology from Jupiter Hammon to T.D. Jakes."
2. Amish Grace, by Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, and David Weaver-Zercher. After the murderous shootings at Amish School in Nickel Mines, PA, the Amish showed the world what forgiveness really looks like. Great and informative read!
1. The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan. I know, its not fair. But every year it remains on my list without peer. Every time I read it I learn something more of God's glory and grace to me in Jesus Christ.
Lastly, here are a couple of books I read that I found disappointing. I am sure some found these books to their liking; I was not among them.
From the Hood to the Hill by Barry C. Black. I really thought I was going to enjoy this autobiographical account of the first black chaplain of the US Senate. Unfortunately, the book was too self-congratulating and indulgent. I suppose that is the nature of autobiographies, but this one was more than this reader could take. Admittedly, I could not even finish it.
If God is So Good, Why Are Blacks Doing So Bad, by James Dixon. This book actually is not a bad book except it was written by a preacher. If it had been written by someone else, I might have thought better of it. However, coming from the pen of a preacher, I expected to hear not just the problem but the solution, namely the gospel. Unfortunately, I did not. Dixon did a good job in diagnosing the issues plaguing Black America but did not offer the only true and lasting solution, namely the application of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all of life. Admittedly, the problem was more my expectation than the author's intention. I just hoped that two would match. They did not.