The Transformedblog asked our regular contributors to recommend their favorite books read in 2013 for your consideration in 2014.
In choosing a small handful of favorite books read in 2013, I tried to emphasize those titles that might not be as well-known as others:
Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful: A Biblical Vision for Education in the Church by Gary Parrett and S. Steve Kang (IVP Academic, 2009)
Parrett and Kang provide an interdisciplinary, gospel-centered and provocative presentation of the goals and dynamics of edification that deserves to be more widely known (and practiced!). Implementing the primary recommendations of this book would do a lot towards remedying the “great omission” that so many lament, namely our failure to nurture genuine followers of Christ whose lives are marked by progressive and pervasive obedience to Him.
Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Tom Nettles (Christian Focus, 2013)
An exhaustive (and potentially exhausting, running over 700 pages of small print) interweaving of the biography and convictions of arguably one of history’s greatest preachers, written by one of the most widely-respected contemporary Baptist historians. Fans of Spurgeon may feel that they already know everything that they need to know about him, but may discover (as I did) that nuggets of wisdom and new information are found on page after page of Nettles’ work.
The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones: 1899-1981 by Iain Murray (Banner of Truth, 2013)
Not to be confused with Murray’s earlier two-volume biography of Lloyd-Jones, this volume is a “re-cast, condensed and, in parts, re-written” version of the larger work. Having already read the two-volume version years ago, I almost didn’t purchase this work. The “in parts, re-written” clause intrigued me enough, however, to buy it anyway despite the risk of redundancy, and I’m glad that I did. For not only does this new edition provide Murray with an opportunity to respond to subsequent reactions to (and interpretations of) Lloyd-Jones, but it also reminded me how many of the issues Lloyd-Jones faced still confront evangelicals today. While I may not always agree with his conclusions, I am still invariably helped by how Lloyd-Jones framed and grappled with these issues.
Problems of Christian Leadership by John Stott (IVP, 2013)
I thought I had already read everything by–and nearly everything about–John Stott, one of my favorite authors who passed away in 2011. So I was delighted to learn about this new book that contains the previously-unpublished messages that Stott preached about leadership at a 1985 IFES conference in Quito, Ecuador. You can read this in one night (it is only around 90 pages), but I find myself weeks later still pondering this most recent example of the winsome integration of theory and practice that was so characteristic of Stott’s writings.
Stirrings of the Soul: Evangelicals and the New Spirituality by Michael Raiter (Matthias Media, 2003)
Raiter, writing from an Australian perspective, provides a very perceptive analysis of what has contributed to a resurgent interest in “spirituality” and how evangelicalism has been impacted by it. He is especially helpful in illustrating both the danger of drifting into syncretism in the quest for spiritual vitality and how popular presentations of evangelical belief may inadvertently contribute to the sense of spiritual dryness that often tempts people to seek for solutions in other traditions.