As a way to keep the legacy of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses alive, each year, Christianity Today publishes a list of their favorite Christian books from the previous year. From Evangelism, to Fiction and more, listed below are just a few of their top picks from each category.
1. Apologetics / Evangelism – Making Sense Of God: An Invitation To The Skeptical by Timothy Keller
Pastor and New York Times bestselling author, Timothy Keller invites skeptics to consider that Christianity is relevant now more than ever. Making Sense Of God shines light on the value and importance of Christianity in our lives.
2. Award of Merit – Saving the Saved: How Jesus Saves Us From Try-Harder Christianity Into Performance-Free Love by Bryan Loritts
Pastor Bryan Loritts reveals the truth that God doesn’t want our spiritual scorekeeping, but rather our surrender. Saving The Saved proclaims the good news that once the pressure to perform is off, we are free to abide and that beyond the man-made rules, there is a God who knows you by name.
3. Biblical Studies – Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels by Richard Hays
Echoes Of Scripture In The Gospels is the long awaited sequel to Echoes of Scripture In The Letters Of Paul. This novel answers many questions regarding scripture such as: why do Gospel writers read the Scriptures in such unexpected ways? Are their readings intelligible as coherent or persuasive interpretations of the scriptures? And lastly, does the Christian faith require the illegitimate theft of someone else’s sacred texts? Hays chronicles the dramatically different ways the four Gospel writers interpreted Israel’s Scripture.
4. Christian Living / Discipleship – Crossing the Waters: Following Jesus Through The Storms, The Fish, The Doubt, And The Seas by Leslie Leyland Fields
This novel is set in a rich maritime culture on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus’ first disciples were fishermen and his messages and miracles dealt with water, fish, fishermen, net-breaking catches, sea crossings, boat-sinking storms, and even a walk on water. Fields crosses the waters of time and culture to take us out on the Sea of Galilee, through a rugged season of commercial fishing with her family in Alaska, and through the waters of the New Testament.
5. The Church / Pastoral Leadership – How To Preach And Teach The Old Testament For All Its Worth by Christopher J. H. Wright
Preachers either ignore preaching from the Old Testament or they preach from the Old Testament and fail to handle it correctly. Christopher J.H. Wright believes that preachers must not ignore the Old Testament because it’s the Word of God. Therefore, he uses How To Preach and Teach The Old Testament as a guide to help preachers and ministers understand the Old Testament better by covering the History, Law, Prophets, Psalms, and Wisdom Literature along with practical checklists, exercises, and sermons for handling the Old Testament properly.
6. Culture & The Arts – 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories Behind Great Works Of Art, Literature, Music, And Film by Terry Glaspey
Many creative people including painters, musicians, architects, writers, flimmakers, and poets have taken inspiration from their faith. Now, readers can discover the stories behind seventy-five masterpieces and the artists who created them. From art of the Roman Catacombs to U2, this book unveils the varied artistic heritage left by believers, who were masters at their craft.
7. Fiction – The Confessions Of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe
Augustine of Hippo began a love affair with an unnamed woman prior to becoming a sainted father of the church of Christianity. They were together for over thirteen years and had a son together. The Confessions of X tells her side of the story from when they first met at the age of seventeen, to when they fell in love, and finally to the loss she felt from losing Augustine and their son.
8. History / Biography – Kierkegaard: A Single Life by Stephen Backhouse
In this new biography about Søren Kierkegaard, considered to be the first existentialist philosopher, we discover a new understanding about his thoughts and life in a story filled with romance, betrayal, humor, and riots. Stephen Backhouse does a fabulous job by introducing Kierkegaard’s many guises such as: the thinker, the lover, the recluse, the writer, and the controversialist through such compelling prose that reads smoothly. An appendix featuring an overview of each of Kierkegaard’s works is also provided.
9. Missions / Global Church – Joyful Witness In The Muslim World: Sharing The Gospel In Everyday Encounters by Evelyne Reisacher
Joyful Witness In The Muslim World features global perspectives on current Christian engagement with Islam. Evelyne Reisacher has worked extensively and closely with Muslims in Europe in order to help readers move from fear to joy as they share the gospel with Muslims. Reisacher surveyed areas where Muslims and Christians encountered one another and took account of diverse conceptions of Muslim-Christian relations.
10. Politics / Public Life – The Justice Calling: Where Passion Meets Perseverance by
Bethany Hanke Hoang and Kristen Deede Johnson
For over ten years now, the justice movements to abolish labor slavery, end sex trafficking, fight for those who suffer from violent oppression, and poverty have reached an all time high. Hoang and Johnson ,who both have firsthand experience in the justice movement, connect justice to Scripture, the character of God, and the long traditions of the church, so that our passion meets perseverance and justice becomes an enduring and integrated part of our life and faith.
11. Spiritual Formation – The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness In A World Of Distraction by Adam McHugh
How would our lives change if we approached every experience with the intention of listening first? Our world is filled with noise and distraction, making it hard to really hear those around us. People always want to be heard, but few are ready to listen. Good relationships require all parties to not only communicate, but also to listen to one another. The Listening Life is all about how listening is the heart of our spirituality, our relationships, and our mission in the world.
12. Theology / Ethics – Biblical Authority After Babel: Retrieving The Solas In The Spirit Of Mere Protestant Christianity by Kevin Vanhoozer
Notable scholars have argued in recent years that the Protestant Reformation unleashed interpretive anarchy on the Church. Many would like to believe that the Reformation is a 500 -year-old experiment that went wrong, however, Kevin Vanhoozer does not. Biblical Authority After Babel explores how a proper reappropriation of the five solas: gratis, fide, scriptura, Christus, and Deo gloria, offers the tools to constrain biblical interpretation and establish interpretive authority.
13. CT Women – Ruined: A Memoir by Ruth Everhart
One night during her senior year of college, two intruders broke into Ruth Everhart’s apartment and held Ruth and her roommates hostage. They also took turns raping each of them at gunpoint. After that night, Ruth believed she was ruined, both physically and in the eyes of God. Ruined is all about her journey of healing, faith, and forgiveness.
Do you plan on adding some of these books to your to be read list, or have you read a few of them already? Let us know what you think or which books sound interesting to you in the comments!
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