Monday, March 2, 2009

A Year of Reading (2008)

Even in my extremely busy schedule, the Lord was good to allow me the time to make my way through about 50 books this year. I did not read every one all of the way through, but I was able to read what I needed in order to digest some of the book, which I will read again as soon as possible. As time is limited, I have decided to read only the best and highly recommended books, therefore I did not read The Shack (inappropriate concepts of the Godhead), or books by N.T. Wright or Henri Nouwen. I tried to stay with evangelical authors who will help me think but not wander. Five excellent books that I would like to mention are as follows:

A Crime So Monstrous by E. Benjamin Skinner. This is a difficult secular book to read about the hideous sin of slavery today (i.e. women and children forced into prostitution and bonded slave labor even in Western countries). Street children, orphans, the suffering and the poor are especially susceptible to bondage and slavery.

The Courage to be Protestant by David Wells. This is a classical study! Each Christian should work his/her way through this book and discuss it especially with leaders of the church, as the book is about “the church.” Yes, being true to the Word of God will take courage these days.

The Godward Life by John Piper. This still remains my favorite of all John Piper’s books, perhaps because reading is difficult for me and the short chapters are just right. This book and The Godward Life: Book Two are two books that I use quite often for my encouragement and challenge in my love for and walk with God!

Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever. This is basically a shorter version of Dever’s excellent Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. It includes simple and basic guidelines for all in the church today to become all we should be and do this in godly fellowship. We were also able to print these books in the Philippines for 1300 needy pastors.

Slavery and Christianity: Paul’s Letter to Philemon by James Robbins. Over the last several years, I have been a student of slavery and the Abolition movement. My interest in African Americans began as a boy of seven, when I saw a black person for the first time and said “Mom look at that…” My mother immediately slapped me very hard with the back of her hand! She then said, “Douglas Lee, that man is just as good as you will ever be. Don’t ever say that about anybody!” After trusting Christ, the interest grew, especially when we began working in Malawi and Zambia and heared about slavery, and then ministering in the South. In reading and studying about slavery before the Civil War, it was shocking to learn that people still said that slavery wasn’t so bad! Excuses were given: the war wasn’t over slavery, it was over state rights. They justified slavery, even saying it was Biblical! This commentary on Philemon deals with this issue and the falsehood of this unbiblical teaching. What a great book!

by Doug Nichols

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