RECOMMENDED CHRISTIAN BOOKS
Here are a list of Christian books which we can wholeheartedly recommend to those who want to learn more of the Christian Gospel.
I have mostly quoted the publishers which made these books available in the UK and this may vary in the U.S. And other countries. No particular alphabetical order is used here.
DOES GOD BELIEVE IN ATHEISTS?
By John Blanchard.
We believe that this is one of the most important Christian books of the last ten years or so. It is Apologetics at its very best, and I am happy to say that when this book first appeared I was in touch with John to thank him and congratulate him on his monumental and successful task. By the time John has finished, the unbeliever has pretty much no excuses left! It is a continual treasure house of quotes for the preacher and the Christian Apologist too. We cannot recommend this book too highly!
Evangelical Press: 2000. ISBN 0 85234 460 0
By C.S. Lewis
This is probably one of the most essential books to be in a Christian's 'armoury'- Lewis tackles many things which the agnostic and atheist is likely to throw at Christian ministers. Be prepared by having a copy of books such as this and 'Does God Believe in Atheists?'!! A concise and readable book which is usually very inexpensively sold but it is high in quality.
Originally published, 1952. Fount paperback: 1997. ISBN 0 00 6280544
THE GAGGING OF GOD
By D.A. Carson.
Probably now a modern classic. The writing carefully outlines the flawed philosophies which undergird this postmodern society with all of its major moral failings. Some parts are not the easiest to read, but the book is well worth persevering with. Not for all Christian lay people, perhaps, but probably essential reading for the evangelical minister who has to cope with influences such as multi-culturalism and moral relativism.
Apollos: 1996. ISBN 0-85111-7678
MORE THAN CONQUERORS!
By William Hendriksen.
This is by far the best book to use to study the Book of Revelation at depth. If every student of this great apocalyptic book just read this book first, how many problems would be solved and how many crazy theories diverted! Hendricksen is always scholarly yet clear too. He wisely points out the seven parallel sections of this book. If one has never noticed this, one is simply never going to understand the book. It is testimony to this book's solid biblical approach that though Hendriksen first published this book in 1940 it has not aged a bit. Highly recommended!
Originally published, 1940. Baker Books: 1967. ISBN 0-8010-5792-2
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
By John Stott.
A superb book in Stott's usual clear, lucid style. Essential for your shelf. I read it a few years ago so can't recall the publisher, but probably IVP.
By John Stott.
Not a very large book but this plea for unity among evangelicals still quite an important book. Sure, a few will certainly complain about Stott's tolerance of charismatics, Anglo-Catholics and (even) liberals. But there are too many good points in this book to ignore.
IVP: 1999. ISBN 0-85111-596-9
By Stuart Murray.
We now recommend that all who have to give serious thought to how church congregations are financed - treasurers and so on - seriously contemplate this book's message. The approach outlined here is the approach which we have upheld consistently whenever we have been asked about how a congregation's activities (yes, including the pastor's wages!) are best - and most biblically - financed. We strongly challenge a legalistic approach to tithing and have pointed out to several that the New Testament looks beyond any such system to the principle of 'Koinonia.' In view of the fact that almost every cult/sect/false teacher immediately advocates tithing, the time has surely arrived for conscientious Bible-believing evangelicals to reject a system which the apostle Paul obviously distanced himself from. It is nice that Murray has now written this book which we can also point to.
Paternoster Publishing: 2000. ISBN 1-84227-000-1
GOD THE EVANGELIST
By David F. Wells.
A superb book of quite small size. At UK Apologetics, we always recommend this book to all. It has great integrity, balance and perception. It would avoid a lot of problems in the Body of Christ if all believers were to read it!
WEF: 1997. ISBN 1-900890-07-0
JESUS IN AN AGE OF CONTROVERSY
By Douglas Groothuis.
A wonderful little book, highlighting numerous false ideas and beliefs about Jesus. Groothuis takes on the 'Jesus Seminar' and many New Age and occultic books which take the name of Jesus but preach a completely perverted message. He also admirably reminds us all, in compelling fashion, that the resurrection can still claim to be one of the most sunstantiated facts of history despite the many efforts which have been made to refute it during the last 150 years or so.
Harvest House/Kingsway: 1998. ISBN 0 85476 729 0
By Wayne Grudem.
Obviously, this is not a small book, yet compared to some 'systematics' it almost is! Grudem has succeeded in making this book readable, though academic and also certainly devotional. He deserves great praise for this. Some of my Reformed friends will shudder at Grudem's openess to charismatics and his rejection of Cessationism (the teaching that the supernatural Gifts ceased soon after the time of the apostles), neither would we agree with every single word but it is almost churlish to say this when the book has so many huge strengths. The most 'readable' systematic theology ever!
IVP: 1994. GB ISBN 0-85110-652-8 USA ISBN 0-310-28670-0
DID CHRIST DIE ONLY FOR THE ELECT?
By Norman F. Douty.
Formerly titled 'The Death of Christ' this is essential reading for any who want to sort out the 'Limited Atonement/Unlimited Atonement' arguments once and for all. In this book the late Norman Douty goes through the relevant Scriptures with great care so that, by the times the book is concluded, there really should be no confusion left on this vital point. Douty is also able to quote main protagonists from both sides of the fence as only a man of considerable study and learning can do; in fact, Douty was a past president of Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary. There is no doubt, of course, that it is Unlimited Atonement which is the true biblical teaching as even Calvin was prepared to admit before the dark curtain of Hyper-Calvinism closed in. This outstanding book really should be better known and at UK Apologetics we strongly recommend it.
Wipf and Stock Publishers: Second revised edition, 1978. My copy: publication date: 1998. ISBN 1-57910-135-6
IN GOD's UNDERGROUND
By Richard Wurmbrand, edited by Charles Foley.
This book made a huge impression on me after I found it in a used book shop. We Christians in the West almost seem to have it too easy at times, but here is a reminder of the serious suffering and persecution which have affected thousands of Christians during the 20th century. Here is the story of a very worthy Lutheran pastor who endured fourteen years of persecution in iron curtain Rumania because of his Christian beliefs. This severe persecution included much imprisonment and even torture, yet it is a truly inspiring book because, on several occasions, the Lord made it clear to pastor Wurmbrand that He was with him in his suffering. If you can get this book (it will not be easy), UK Apologetics highly recommends it.
W.H. Allen: 1968. Hardback. No clear ISBN found, but the following could be it: 491 0020 3
THE APOSTLES DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT
By George Smeaton.
This great book is again available. Okay, it is scholarly more than devotional in parts, but here is good evangelical theology clearly expounded. It is vital to hold on to substitutionary atonement as the New Testament teaching as more and more teachers suggest that new converts don't have to accept this. A great value of such books is their usefulness in helping people coming out of New Age and the cults with all of the flawed teachings they have received. Obviously, this is classical reformed theology which accepts 'limited atonement,' whereas we certainly say that 'unlimited atonement' is far and away the more biblical position.
Originally published, 1870. Banner of Truth: 1991. ISBN 0 85151 599 1
BAKER ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE BIBLE (4 Volumes)
By various contributors.
This is the Bible Encyclopedia which we now recommend. It is of inestimable value and is very accessible for all, not just the minister. Always clear and straightforward, it really is worth 'splashing out' for this four volume set. Highly recommended.
Baker Books: 1997. ISBN 0-8010-2139-1
THE INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION
By John Calvin. (Translated by Henry Beveridge).
Obviously, this is a huge systematics, but we should all pay more heed to Calvin (though not necessarily to the later 'Calvinism'). It is also surprisingly readable at times, especially in the superb Henry Beveridge translation. Extremist Sabbatarians would do well to pay attention to Calvin's superb Sabbath/First Day exegesis! Calvin rejected any concept of the Lord's Day becoming a 'Christian sabbath' but unfortunately reformed (Calvinist) theology later followed Bullinger rather than Calvin on this point.
However, while generally highly sympathetic to reformed teaching, Museltof Countercult and Apologetics and UK Apologetics do challenge reject certain aspects of it such as Covenant Theology, and also Limited Atonement. The interesting thing is that in the writings of Calvin himself (as opposed to the later Calvinism) both limited and unlimited atonement are represented.
First published at Basle in 1536. Eerdmans: 1995 (huge paperback). No ISBN found.
THE PROMISE OF THE FUTURE
By Cornelis Venema
An excellent book on Christian eschatology (that is, the study of things to come). Venema is a good clear writer and the book has few weaker patches compared to many. It is also often quite inspirational and moving. Highly recommended by Museltof.
Banner of Truth: 2000. ISBN 0 85151 793 5
By Henry Frost.
This superb little volume is again available. Snap it up! If you do not, others certainly will. Here is the clearest and most balanced approach to divine healing. How we wish that every 'healing evangelist' had immersed this book before commencing their ministry!! Like the great Martyn Lloyd-Jones, we recommend this to all who might ask questions on healing.
Originally published, 1931. Christian Focus Publications: 1999. ISBN 1 85792 530 0
By Leon Morris.
Here is probably the finest modern exposition of this vital New Testament epistle. Morris deserves every praise for his marvellous clarity, knowledge and wisdom. This book is a great favourite of mine and one which I regularly return to.
IVP: 1996. ISBN 0-85110-658-7
By A.A. Hodge.
A little masterpiece in Mr Brace's opinion. It has dated very little. This is Reformed theology of course, but without the hard edge which one finds in some writers. One of about 10 books which we strongly recommend. Of course, Hodge's 'Covenant Theology' is not biblical at all since it tends towards legalism and does not sufficiently emphasize the New Covenant (as the Scriptures do), also 'limited atonement' is highly problematic (to say the least), yet there is still much good in many reformed writers and they are more biblical on grace and in stressing God's sovereignty than one finds in more Arminian writers.
Originally published, 1890. Banner of Truth: 1990 reprint. ISBN 0 85151 582 7
FRANCIS SCHAEFFER TRILOGY
Here are three of the great man's most important books. If you do not have this writer represented in your Christian library, you really should have and this trilogy would be a quick way to remedy the situation! The three vital Schaeffer books are The God Who Is There, Escape From Reason and He Is There And He Is Not Silent. This is Christian philosophy of the very highest order and yet these are not long individual books and this trilogy, in paperback form, amounts to only 360 pages! Schaeffer traces the influences upon society of various anti-Christian philosophers. He shows how even the arts have been affected by the demotion of the concept of absolute truth. This is pretty much essential material for the commited, Bible-believing evangelical living at the beginning of the 21st century. Please take my advice that Schaeffer - rather like CS Lewis - is an essential writer for the evangelical pastor to read and appreciate, however, much of it is undeniably very deep reading which some might struggle with.
Originally published as three individual books, 1967, 1972 and 1990. Trilogy: IVP, 1990. ISBN 0-85110-692-7
PAUL. MISSIONARY THEOLOGIAN
By Robert Reymond.
This is the great new book on Paul by Reymond. The book has enormous strengths; it is highly readable, it covers both Paul's theology and his travels and one finds many fascinating little points emerging which one had never noticed before. Having said all of that, we unfortunately cannot give this book a fully clean bill of health. Reymond's description of 'the law of Christ' misses the mark and his 'Pauline Ethic' chapter is frankly legalistic, this is because of Reymond's unfortunate acceptance of 'Covenant Theology' which insists that Christians still stand under the law and reduces the New Covenant to being a biblical 'bit part player.' More on 'Covenant Theology' here. We would say, have this book but we aware of these two criticisms since they cover points not of minor - but of major - importance.
Mentor: 2000. ISBN 185792 497 5
PAUL. APOSTLE OF THE HEART SET FREE
By F.F. Bruce.
This is another great book on the apostle, but it is far less readable than Reymond and quite academic in parts. Having said all of that, I find Bruce's grasp of Paul's theology much stronger than Reymond's. Yes, it deserves a place in your library.
Eerdmans: 1977. ISBN 1-84227-027-3
HALLEY'S BIBLE HANDBOOK
By Dr Henry Halley.
This is still a classic of clarity and concision. What a shame that more biblical writers are not as motivated as Halley was to tell us what we most need to know in a most concise form, without showing any tendency toward over-elaboration or toward showing off colourful writing skills! Yes, this is in our top ten recommended books. Halley is especially helpful in outlining how and when the majority of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in history. Such knowledge is essential to help arm one against unbiblical prophecy extremists!
Originally published, 1927. Zondervan: 24th edition, 1965. ISBN 0-310-25720-4
SIX MODERN MYTHS
By Philip J. Sampson.
This book may be quite small but it is of inestimable value for the Bible teacher/Minister, as well as being quite readable for the layman. Sampson outlines some ideas which are widely accepted as being true by modern society, though they are actually mythical, moreover, they attack the message of the gospel.
IVP: 2000. ISBN 0-85111-659-0
FROM TRIUMPHALISM TO MATURITY
By D.A. Carson
This book is proof, if proof were needed, that sometimes quite small books will teach you more than huge ones!
In fact, this little gem of a book was often available for around £1.99 in the UK around 2002 yet its value is tremendous. Carson looks into the errors in understanding at Corinth and his detective work is superb. We can, in fact, know quite a lot about the problems which were occurring there, and there is a great message for today's church in looking at them.
The only problem is that in being such a small and inexpensive book, people may feel it is not worth buying. How wrong they would be!
Paternoster: 1996. ISBN 0-85364-751-8
By R.O. Zorn
I like this book which is very helpful in several areas. Zorn might be accused of 'splitting hairs' in his description of the differences between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Christ, but this is the only, and very minor, criticism one could make of this fine book. Yet again, a smallish book but of great value.
Banner of Truth: 1997. ISBN 0 85151 696 3
By Phillip Johnson.
Some of Johnson's fine anti-Darwinist books are available under different titles in the USA. So, if you are based there, you may need your book seller's advice. This, we understand, is a UK title for this book.
It should go without saying that these books are of great value in giving the lay-man a bit of extra help in being able to 'take on' Darwinism.
IVP: 1997. ISBN 0-85111-198-X
GEORGE MULLER; DELIGHTED IN GOD.
By Roger Steer.
Here is an essential book for the Christian. At least one record of the life of this great man of faith should be in all of our Christian book collections! This is not the only book on Muller, of course, but the only one available when I bought it, since they tend to be 'snapped up like hot cakes'! A Christian who has never read about Muller is a bit like a Christian who has never read Francis Schaeffer or C.S. Lewis; there is a notable lack in ones armoury!
Christian Focus Publications: 1997. ISBN 1-85792-340-5
NO OTHER NAME
By John Sanders.
For some, this book could seem like a controversial selection but we believe that every single Bible-believing evangelical should be aware of the strong Scriptural support for Evangelical Inclusivism. Basically, the point is made that while only Christ can save and that there is salvation in no other name, the Holy Scriptures themselves bear powerful evidence that God is not limited or inhibited in this manner from saving some who knew little of the true God during their lifetimes. In other words, it is not within the authority of evangelical theology to decide whom God may or may not choose to save and to set any sort of limits. However, Evangelical Inclusivism should never be confused with Pluralism which is a separate philosophy and a philosophy which attacks the specific truth claims of the Christian Faith.
SPCK: 1994. ISBN 0-281-04744-8
THE ECLIPSE OF CHRIST IN ESCHATOLOGY
By Adrio Konig.
A very essential study which is an effective antidote to those countless prophecy guros who continually deceive the enthusiastic but naïve. Konig shows how Christ is right at the very centre of eschatology (the last things) and to cut Him loose is to go into prophetic error. He shows how we are currently (in this age of the Church) living in the 'last days' which arrived about 2,000 years ago. Highly biblical and highly recommended.
Eerdmans: 1989. ISBN 0-8028-0356-3
THE LAST THINGS
By Herman Bavinck (edited by John Bolt, translated by John Vriend).
An outstanding book which is well-worth obtaining and reading in this paperback version of about 200 pages. Translations often suffer but Vriend has done a fine job here. This was originally the eschatological section of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics which was written in Dutch. Although Bavinck stood firmly within Calvinistic tradition, he obviously struggled somewhat with limited atonement and in this eschatology he continually hints and infers that there must somehow be a broader salvation than Calvinism allows - yet he, finally, does not clearly spell out his obviously strong doubts and remains within his philosophical/theological tradition.
Baker Books: 1996. US ISBN 0-8010-2088-3 UK ISBN 0-85364-761-5
ETERNITY IN THEIR HEARTS
By Don Richardson.
I highly recommend this book even though I truthfully struggled with Richardson's less than logical style. I feel that he could probably have made a more cohesive and theologically compelling case than he does. Basically Richardson believes that General Revelation (what can be known of God by what we see all around us but without knowing of Christ) can save but such is Richardson's lack of clarity that even this statement could be wrong. Many of the arguments that God is well able to save even those who never knew of Christ are strong but it is just frustrating that Richardson never puts his arguments very compellingly. So I recommend this book because I am convinced that the writer is on the right track and there is some fascinating anecdotal evidence along the way and this is the real value of this book. Not a long book and well worth going through it, but don't expect great clarity or compelling or persuasive writing because unfortunately Richardson does not offer those things.
Regal Books: 1981. ISBN 0-8307-0925-8
By Nancy Pearcey.
I am very pleased to be able to add this very fine book to our list of recommended books. Nancy Pearcey is at her very finest here in a book which has become a 'must read' for every Christian, especially Christian leader, who has to grasp with modern secular society's determination to privatize Christian belief and make it 'off-limits' - Nancy patiently explains how it all happened. This - in our opinion - is somewhere in the best Christian books of the last 20-25 years and probably in the top five of those. A full UK Apologetics review of this book can be found here.
Crossway Books: 2004. ISBN 978-1-4335-0220-8
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