I’m beginning to see the list of favorite books/reads of 2017. I love to read others’ lists. I also like to think about over what I’ve read this year and choose my favorites. These are my favorite books I read in 2017. Only three of the books were actually published in 2017.
- The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.
This book explores the relationship between Graham and eleven United States presidents from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush. It is both a fascinating and frightening portrayal offering an encouraging look at the possibility of gospel ministry to political leaders and a cautionary tale of the perils of such ministry.
- Henry Clay: The Essential American by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler.
An exhaustive biography of a truly important American, the Kentuckian Henry Clay. It’s amazing how entwined his life was with the life of our nation from 1800-1850. This is not only a primer on Clay, but a good overview of American political life in the first half of the 19th century.
- The Other Side of Infamy: My Journey through Pearl Harbor and the World of War by Jim Downing.
I loved reading this book by 103-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor, Jim Downing. Downing, who I met this year, is very lucid in his recounting of his experience at Pearl Harbor and his years of service and ministry that followed. A great first-hand account of the day that lives in infamy and of the early history of the Navigators.
- Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
After you get past the creepy psycho-analysis of Johnson early on, this is a very compelling read. This combined with the portrayal of Johnson’s relationship to Graham in The Preacher and the Presidents paints an interesting picture of a man increasingly isolated during his presidency who looked for loyalty and love of people.
- He Died for Me: Limited Atonement and the Universal Gospel by Jeffrey D. Johnson.
A compelling look at the nature of the atonement with an understanding of its nature that allows for/demands a proclamation to the world.
- Controversy of the Ages: Why Christians Should Not Divide Over the Age of the Earth by Theodore Cabal and Peter Rasor II.
This book is well-described by its subtitle. While discussions about the age of the earth often divide Christians, this work argues that should not be the case. Interesting analysis of historic debates between science and Christianity provide a model for how to engage in perceived conflicts in the present and future.
- The Reason for God: Belief in An Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller.
An excellent apologetic work that winsomely argues for the existence of the Christian God. C. S. Lewis for the modern man. After reading on Kindle, I ordered a hard-copy to have on hand for reference and perusal.
- Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir by Carolyn Weber.
Beautifully written memoir of an American who converted to Christianity while studying at Oxford. Fascinating details about life at Oxford sprinkled throughout a conversion narrative that takes place slowly, but powerfully.
- Lincoln’s Bishop: A President, A Priest, and the Fate of 300 Dakota Sioux Warriors by Gustav Niebuhr.
Insightful portrayal of the impact of a minister who appealed to Abraham Lincoln on behalf of Native Americans. This book has everything from details of conflict on the frontier between settlers and Indians to the conscientious stand by an Episcopalian bishop for the equality and protection of a despised group of people.
- All That is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism by James E. Dolezal.
A short, but dense treatment of some of the foundational issues related to the doctrine of God that have seemingly been assumed, then lost to a current generation of evangelicals. Dolezal builds the classical doctrine of the Trinity while affirming and safeguarding the foundational doctrines of simplicity and impassibility. In the end, he shows that the orthodox position on the Trinity must take into account these doctrines in any formulation of a doctrine related to the Godhead.