My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

18 October 2006

The Church's Bookshelf

When I visit someone's home the first time, I always find myself looking at their bookshelves. It's revealing, isn't it, what people have read and are reading? It gives me something to talk to them about, it helps me see where they've come from, how they've been shaped.

Christianity Today recently put together a list of the 50 most influential books in the evangelical world. Whether they're totally right or wrong, certainly this list is a good way to evaluate the church. You are what you read. Reading over this list, I found myself nodding my head. "Yep, that seems about right. This accurately reflects the evangelical church I know."

There's a lot of good - F. F. Bruce, Mark Noll, Operation World, Philip Johnson, John Piper, Madeleine L'Engle, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, J. I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, C. S. Lewis. There's a lot of not good - that purpose-driven fellow, those left-behind fellows, Hal Lindsay, that church growth fellow. And there's quite a bit in-between.

What's most evident, though, is what's missing. If you could force (convince, perhaps, would be nicer) the entire evangelical church to read two books, what would they be?

5 comments:

M&E said...

Wull, James B. Jordan's "Through New Eyes" of course!

Kurt said...

Luther's The Bondage of the Will would be one....

Tamara said...

Hmmm- The Bible ....teasing

Jeff Kessler said...

Anyone influenced by Sider's book: "Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger", should read David Chilton's answer: "Productive Christians in an age of Guilt Manipulators"

I'm not sure anyone reads every page of a systematic theology, but everyone should have Calvin's Institutes on their shelf.

Jeff Kessler

Jared said...

It's a hard question, isn't it?

Boy, if the whole church read Calvin's Institutes, a lot of things would change (note: I've not finished reading them myself).

I honestly can't think of just one more book that fits the bill...