Top Ten Books of 2011

The end of the year provides the opportunity to look back at the year which has now passed us by. One of my favorite times of reflection is to think back over the books which I’ve read and try to select a top 10 list of favorite books. It’s not too hard, the good ones always rise to the top without too much effort on my part. My list this year includes eight published in 2011 and two which were published in the latter months of 2010 but which I read in 2011. The books are not listed in order of importance, but rather alphabetically.

Published in 2011:

Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine (Zondervan) by Gregg Allison. This book is a comprehensive (784 pages) survey of the development of Christian doctrine throughout the history of the church. It thus serves as a must have resource for church historians, theologians, and those who enjoy such subjects. I’m privileged that Dr. Allison will be serving on my dissertation committee.

John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock (Banner of Truth) by Iain Murray. Reading and listening to John MacArthur for the past 17 years has shaped my understanding of the gospel and the role of the preacher. This biography, by one of my favorite biographers Iain Murray, was released to coincide with the culmination of MacArthur’s preaching through the entire New Testament at Grace Community Church over 40+ years. If you’re unfamiliar with the life and ministry of John MacArthur, this book will serve as a great introduction for you.

The Lord’s Supper: Remembering and Proclaiming Christ Until He Comes (B&H Academic) edited by Thomas R. Schreiner and Matthew R. Crawford. In my opinion, there are two few books on baptism and the Lord’s supper. This book fills a significant lacuna in Baptist life. A variety of gifted scholars contribute chapters on their respective areas of expertise in history, theology, and Scripture.

Ministry By His Grace and For His Glory: Essays in Honor of Thomas J. Nettles (Founders Press) edited by Nathan Finn and Tom Ascol. This book was edited by friends for our mutual friend and mentor, Tom Nettles. Dr. Nettles is my doctoral supervisor, so I was especially happy to see this book released. More than a mere memorial to Dr. Nettles, this volume contains substantive chapters on areas of church history, theology, and pastoral ministry that have been important in Dr. Nettles’ life and ministry.

Pujols: More Than the Game (Thomas Nelson) by Tim Ellsworth and Scott Lamb. I have been very proud of my friends Tim Ellsworth and Scott Lamb for the success of their book on Albert Pujols. This book is a great read, combining great baseball stories within the framework of the life of a devoted follower of Christ who just happens to be the greatest baseball player of our times.

Reckless Abandon: A modern-day Gospel pioneer’s exploits among the most difficult to reach peoples (Ambassador International) by David Sitton. I spent a week teaching at the missionary training center established by David Sitton the first week of December. I read this book on my flight home. I’ve given away multiple copies as well as shared my copy with others. No one has been able to put it down. Exciting, suspenseful, joyous stories of the conquest of the gospel among the unreached peoples of Papau, New Guinea.

Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church (Crossway) by Michael A. G. Haykin. Although Dr. Haykin is known for his works on 17th and 18th century Baptists and Evangelicals, his official area of expertise is the early church. Drawing on his vast knowledge of the church fathers, Haykin has provided in this work an introduction to the fathers which shows their importance for Christians living in the 21st century.

Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ (Crossway) by Russell D. Moore. Dr. Moore is an amazing wordsmith both in the pulpit and on the printed page. In Tempted and Tried, Moore uses his considerable skill to deliver a devastatingly convicting punch to any and all excuses for sin in your life. This is a must read for every Christian since every Christian is engaged in spiritual warfare whether they realize it or not. This book will help you not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices.

Read in 2011, but published in late 2010:

Decision Points (Crown) by George W. Bush. I really enjoyed reading this first-hand account of the Bush presidency. You can hear Bush’s voice as you read this seemingly authentic account of his life. Even if you disagree with his decisions as president, I think this book humanizes Bush by showing how he went about making those decisions.

God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology (Crossway) by James R. Hamilton. I love everything Dr. Hamilton writes. This biblical theology provides a helpful lens for reading and understanding how the Bible fits together. Hamilton argues that the center of biblical theology is “God’s glory in salvation through judgment.” Though it might be an awkward book title, it is a helpful perspective on a theme which Hamilton fleshes out throughout the entire canon of Scripture.

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