I am an avid reader and cannot get enough of consuming good books. As a pastor who has a seminary education, I have read my fair share of books. We can be profoundly influenced and mentored by Christian authors that the Lord has used to advance His kingdom. With so many choices out there in the evangelical sub-culture, how does a Christian discern truth from error—especially when it is in print?
Part of our spiritual growth as believers is to build a good library of doctrinally sound and theologically solid books that will encourage, challenge, motivate and stimulate us to love and good works. As evangelicals, we adhere to Sola Scriptura which means that Scripture alone is our sole rule of faith and practice. There is no other authority above the Holy Bible and we are to measure every teaching of man against God’s revelation in Scripture. Yet, God in His providence, has given gifts to His church through godly men and women who have written books for the growth of God’s people. We should realize that all humans are fallible and no one author or pastor or theologian is above reproof or correction and can at times be wrong.
As we begin the summer of 2012, I want to recommend to you my reading audience “Sean Cole’s Top Seven Summer Reading List”. These are books that have profoundly influenced me and I believe that every Christian should own. Some are more accessible and readable that others.
Number One: “The Explicit Gospel” by Matt Chandler. Pastor Matt has one of the top downloaded sermon podcasts on I-Tunes and this book clearly and poignantly describes what the gospel is and what it isn’t.
Number Two: “Christ Formed in You: The Power of the Gospel for Personal Change” by Brian Hedges. This book packs a punch. It shows us how the gospel helps us to become more like Christ. This is a must read for all who want to know how to look more like Jesus in our progressive sanctification.
Number Three: “A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World” by Paul Miller. This is probably one of the best books I’ve read on prayer in a long time. It is very practical and does not minister guilt to those who know that their prayer life is not where it needs to be.
Number Four: “Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative” by Carl Trueman. This is a very interesting read from a conservative evangelical Protestant from England who comments on the interesting world of politics in America.
Number Five: “Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian” by John Piper. This book confronts racism head on with a thorough treatment of race in the Bible. This is encouraging and informative.
Number Six: “When People are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man” by Ed Welch. This is a great resource for those who struggle with self-esteem issues or who find their identity in being a people-pleaser. This is written by a Christian psychologist who delves into what it means to fear God without the influence of modern psycho-babble.
Number Seven: “Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary” by J.D. Greear. This is another excellent book that illustrates the beauty of the gospel and our acceptance by God in Christ.
May these books be a blessing to you. May they expand your horizons, challenge your thinking, and draw you closer to the Savior. Happy reading!!!