Pastor Bob O'Bannon
This is an exciting time of year. I love reading all of the “best of the year” lists that come out at this time (even the ones that come out way too early, like in November), particularly for music and books. Click here to find Christianity Today’s list of best books of the year, and click here to find a similar list from Gospel Coalition.
Even more fun than reading these lists is making them, so this week I offer to you my favorite books of 2015, listed in no particular order. Please note that these are not necessarily books that were released in 2015 (though some of them were), but simply books I happened to read this year. Feel free to share your own recommendations in the comment box below.
George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father, Thomas Kidd.
Not finished with this yet, but so far I’m hooked on this story of how a young Gospel preacher became a household name in England and America in the 1700s.
Animal Farm, George Orwell.
In Orwell’s prophetic classic, we learn that when lies are told often enough and persuasively enough, people will believe almost anything.
Same-sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, Sean McDowell.
There are lots of good books on this topic, but this one now moves to the top of the list. It’s orthodox but also gracious and compassionate.
The Wright Brothers, David McCullough.
Inspiring story of two brothers who — without the benefits of education, training or money — diligently pursued their dream and ended up changing the world. “No bird soars in a calm.”
A Clear and Present Word, Mark Thompson.
This book addresses the most fundamental question before Christians today — can we really know what the Bible says about anything? Thompson assures us of Scripture’s clarity, saying that “God has something to say, and he is very good at saying it.”
A Brief History of Thought, Luc Ferry.
Provides a broad overview of western philosophical thought while giving a lengthy and respectful treatment of Christianity as a legitimate contributor to the field. Ferry rejects Christianity, but admits that it has the “most effective of all responses” to the problem of mortality.
Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything, Robert Reilly.
Reilly makes the case that the redefinition of marriage is transforming the way people view reality. To some this probably seems like an overreaction, but societies and cultures are changed not all at once, but with small incremental steps over time.
Justification Reconsidered: Rethinking a Pauline Theme, Stephen Westerholm.
Attempts to revise Paul’s doctrine of justification (new perspective) have spilled lots of ink, but now you can understand everything you need to know about this in just under 100 pages.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, Raymond Carver.
A collection of minimalistic short stories that observe the painful dysfunctions of strained love relationships. Not until after I was finished with this did I learn that the movie “Birdman” is based on the story in this volume from which the book gets its name.
The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture, Scott Klusendorf.
A relentless onslaught of devastating arguments against the pro-choice position.
Books I’m excited to read in 2016:
The Pastor as Public Theologian, Kevin Vanhoozer.