My Favorite Books of 2014

Pastor Bob O'Bannon

Below are the 10 most stimulating, edifying and/or inspiring books I read last year. Before I proceed, let me recommend Goodreads to you. It’s a fun way to keep track of your own reading progress in individual books; to maintain an ongoing list of books you’ve read, along with the dates when you finished them; and to connect with friends so you can share reviews and suggested titles. Check it out here.

Goodreads even reminded me of all the books I read last year, which helped me prepare this list of top 10 titles:

1. Truman (David McCullough)

Winston Churchill once said Harry Truman did more than any other man to save western civilization. That’s a grand statement for a man who didn’t even earn a college degree. I am so impressed by McCullough’s engaging writing style that I’m already planning to read another of his books in 2015.

2. Is God Anti-Gay? And Other Questions About Homosexuality, the Bible and Same-Sex Attraction (Sam Allberry)

Regarding those who struggle with same-sex attraction, Allberry asks, “Wouldn’t it be great if, of all people, it was their Christian friends they felt most able to approach” about the issue? This book could help make it so. It avoids both liberal permissiveness and conservative self-righteousness.

3. Crazy Busy (Kevin DeYoung)

We live in a crazy busy culture, so it is helpful to be reminded that busy-ness does not equal holiness, and that not even Jesus did everything. Best of all, the book is short, so you shouldn’t be too busy to read it.

4. Gilead (Marilynne Robinson)

Reflective story of the pleasures and challenges of personal relationships — between fathers and sons, husbands and wives, friends and enemies. There are skeletons in closets that only grace can heal.

5. Antinomianism (Mark Jones)

Pastors in the reformed tradition love to talk about grace, and rightfully so, but a formulation of grace apart from a strong Christology can unwittingly allow some “unwelcome guests” into one’s theological home. This is an excellent corrective to any presentation of grace that does not involve a call to obedience to Christ and His Lordship.

6. Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything (Robert Reilly)

Reilly argues that the aggressive activism of gay rights supporters is motivated by a desire to rationalize their behavior. Gay activists want much more than a right to their private sexual practice; even more, they want public acceptance and community approval, as a rebuke to their own consciences.

7. Expositional Preaching (David Helm)

A compact treatment of just about everything you need to know in order to prepare a decent sermon. Great for beginners or for experienced pastors needing a refresher.

8. Delighting in the Trinity (Michael Reeves)

Presents the triune God of the Bible in contrast to the “single person” God of Islam and the distorted straw-man god that is regularly attacked by the new atheists. This would be a good starting point for someone seeking to understand more about this essential Christian doctrine.

9. Five Points (John Piper)

“I go to bed at night quietly confident that I will be a secure believer in the morning not because of my free will, but because of God’s free grace,” Piper writes. This book not only defends the five points of Calvinism, but shows why it matters.

10. Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense (Francis Spufford)

This is not the book to read to work out your doctrine, but it is a good book to read if you’re cynical about religion and looking for a very frank and gritty defense of the Christian faith.