Well, that time of year again. Top reads of the year. These weren't necessarily published this year; just the ones I most enjoyed reading this year:
- Paul and the Law by Brian Rosner - I knew this one would be good. I was sort of burnt out on this whole issue for a while but finally picked it up. Really good synthesis of one of the more complicated issues in theology. Paul's theology of law includes repudiation, replacement, and then reappropriation as prophecy and wisdom. He doesn't use the label but this is New Covenant Theology through and through.
- Everyday Church by Chester and Timmis - This is sort of a sequel to Total Church, which is my favorite book on ministry and the Christian life. Good stuff. They use 1 Peter as a template to look at the Christian life and the church as the everyday stuff of life. True to form, there are jabs here and there to the attractional church model. One of my favorite lines (even if an overstatement) was that programming is what we do when Christians are not doing what they are supposed to be doing in everyday life. Ouch. . .
- The Israel of God by O. Palmer Robertson - I read a lot on Israel this year as I worked on a book of my own (hope to see it this Summer). This was probably my favorite. OPR is a top-notch canonical exegete. He covers the issues of land, wilderness, Melchizedek, kingdom, and one of the finer treatments on Romans 11 around. That chapter alone is worth the price of the book. Warning: Left Behind fans may will have their presuppositions dashed.
- Pastoral Ministry According to Paul by James Thompson - Good, but densely exegetical look at Paul as a pastor. His goal was to see his communities transformed into the image of the Son. JT's a bit left of me and he's obviously not Reformed, but he takes a close look at Paul the pastor's aims and makes some good observations. What we are too often consumed with (buildings, butts, and budgets) seemingly didn't cross his mind. He wanted to see his people changed by the gospel. That was pastoral success for the Apostle.
- Reading Backwards by Richard Hays - Fantastic book on the Gospels and the Old Testament. Hays and OT/NT stuff is surely to be gold-plated goodness. The way the Spirit moved the Gospel writers to weave the story together and have the story of Jesus revolve the story of Israel is beautiful and rich. Hays serves pastors by shedding light on text after text.
- Saving Eutychus by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell - I try and read a preaching book every year and this one was a fun, short read. Brilliant title. Highly recommended for all preachers, though I was surprised that they recommended 23 and 25 minute sermons. My aim is 35 but struggle to keep it there at times. Can't imagine 23!
- Spurgeon on Leadership by Larry Michael - I read about 15 leadership books this year. Didn't like most of them. Seems to me some pastors who get all into leadership are just bored with the Bible and theology. This one was cool, though. Some of the best leadership themes mixed with Spurgeon's life and ministry. Michael knows Chuck well and is well-read in all things Maxwell so it makes for an edifying and challenging read.
- Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear - This was probably my favorite read of the year. Greear helpfully lays out a theology of gospel assurance that will hit a wide audience. I bought copies as gifts for family members. Thankful for this type of resource.
- Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill - Homosexuality is the issue of our day. I read a few books this year on the topic but probably enjoyed this one the most. I don't agree with everything Hill writes here, but found it a thoughtful and refreshing account from someone striving to honor Christ while living with same sex attraction. He's a great writer and story teller, and has a firm grasp on Christianity as the good - but often hard - life. The title says it all: we have been washed (1 Cor. 6:11) but are waiting for the resurrection (Rom. 8:23).
- Proof by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones - Really good and fresh presentation of those glorious doctrines of grace. Biggest frustration was the robust endnotes. The fact that those still exist is the only reason I am not postmill.