With 2020 drawing to a close, I’ll throw my best of list into the mix as well, so below are my favorite books that I read this year.
- Heaven Taken by Storm by Thomas Watson
- Like last year, Watson again takes the top slot for me. I enjoyed this book so much that I read it together with several church members and recorded some of my thoughts over a chapter or two each week.
- Quotation: There Is Always Something That Needs Mortifying
- The Way Forward by Joe Barnard
- I first heard of this book as being the 21st Century version of Ryle’s Thoughts for Young Men. Having yet to read Ryle’s book, I cannot attest to how valid the comparison is, but I can firmly and warmly recommend this potent little book. Directed toward men, Barnard does exactly what he sets out to do; he provides a practical path for discipleship for men in the present day.
- Quotation: Scandalously Simple
- Perelandra by C. S. Lewis
- This year marked my second time reading Perelandra, but my first time grasping some the richness and depth to the book. Like almost all of Lewis’ writings, this book only grows with another read through. I will not go into the plot of this sci-fi work of fiction but will only say: you should read this book.
- Enjoying God by R. C. Sproul
- Since I taught through the attributes of God this year, one of my resource books was bound to end up on this list. Knowing God by J. I. Packer, honestly, would have been in this slot, but I’ve yet to finish reading it. Sproul’s introductory treatment on God’s attributes is wonderful though. In signature Sproul style, his writing is both deep and accessible.
- Quotation: Human Freedom & Divine Sovereignty
- Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
- I was on a bit of a fiction kick this year, and Gilead is deeply moving novel to take up. Robinson wrote the novel as a series of letters from a dying pastor to his seven-year-old son. As a pastor who regularly writes letters to my three-year-old daughter (although I am thankfully not terminally ill), the premise resonated deeply with me.
- The Democratization of American Christianity by Nathan O. Hatch
- This history of the Second Great Awakening is not exactly a page-turner, even less so if for those who struggle to enjoy history. However, Hatch’s presentation of the populist movements that defined the various religious fervors of the period is fascinating and well-worth studying. Since I wrote an entire review here, I’ll refrain from saying more.
- The Other Worldview by Peter Jones
- I won’t say that I enjoyed this book, for the subject matter is not one to be enjoyed. Jones writes to warn Christians today of the resurgence of blatant paganism back into everyday culture. The title comes from Jones’ assertion that only two true worldviews exist: Christianity and paganism (or as he calls them, Twoism or Oneism). This book shaped my thinking like no other book did this year.
- Quotations: True Spirituality; On Conforming to Culture
- Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel by Raymond Ortlund
- Ortlund is great writer, and this is a great book. Addressing such a common topic, I originally planned to simply skim through this thin volume while I was studying to preach over marriage; however, Ortlund’s rich writing and biblical clarity gripped me. This is now my go-to treatment of the Christian worldview of marriage.
- Quotation: The Ancient Design for Modern Marriage
- Competing Spectacles by Tony Reinke
- I didn’t make one of these lists for 2017, but if I had, Reinke’s 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You would have been at the top. In a similar vein, this book continues Reinke’s look at how media shapes and impacts our walk with Christ.
- God’s Battle Plan for the Mind by David Saxton
- In this book, Saxton describes how the Puritans thought of biblical meditation. You can find my review here.
Honorable Mention: The Whole Armor of God by Iain Duguid
This was my first time reading a book by Duguid and doing so has made me look forward to reading his commentary on the book of Daniel for my next sermon series. I quoted this little book on the armor of God numerous times in my own study, and it is well worth reading.
Quotations: Wearing the Belt of Truth; Unanswered Prayer & the Holy Spirit