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Top 5 Books of 2014

Top 5 books 2014

If you’ve known me for a little while, you’d know that I absolutely love Christian books. They aren’t my final authority nor my primary source of God-intake, but God speaks through various authors today to communicate Scriptural truths. Here’s my list of the top 5 books released this year, with their synopses for your pleasure.

 

5. Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology – R.C. Sproul 

Many people react negatively to the word theology, believing it involves dry, fruitless arguments about minute points of doctrine. Yet as Dr. R.C. Sproul argues, everyone’s a theologian. Any time we think about a teaching of the Bible and strive to understand it, we are engaging in theology. Therefore, it is important that we put the Bible’s varied teachings together in a systematic fashion, using proper, time-tested methods of interpretation so as to arrive at a theology that is founded on truth. That is precisely what Dr. Sproul does in Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology. This book is anything but a dry discussion of minute points of doctrine. Dr. Sproul, demonstrating his trademark ability to make complex subjects easy to understand, surveys the basic truths of the Christian faith, reminding us once more of what God is like and of what He has done for His people in this world and the next.

 

 

4. What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things DoneMatt Perman

Productivity isn’t just about getting more things done. It’s about getting the right things done – the things that count, make a difference, and move the world forward. In our current era of massive overload, this is harder than ever before. So how do you get more of the right things done without confusing mere activity for actual productivity?

When we take God’s purposes into account, a revolutionary insight emerges. Surprisingly, we see that the way to be productive is to put others first – to make the welfare of other people our motive and criteria in determining what to do (what’s best next). As both the Scriptures and the best business thinkers show, generosity is the key to unlocking our productivity. It is also the key to finding meaning and fulfillment in our work.

What’s Best Next offers a practical approach for improving your productivity in all areas of life. It will help you better understand:

  • why good works are not just rare and special things like going to Africa, but anything you do in faith even tying your shoes
  • how to create a mission statement for your life that actually works
  • how to delegate to people in a way that actually empowers them
  • how to overcome time killers like procrastination, interruptions, and multitasking by turning them around and making them work for you
  • how to process workflow efficiently and get your email inbox to zero every day
  • how your work and life can transform the world socially, economically, and spiritually, and connect to God’s global purposes

 

 

 

3. Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and MeKevin DeYoung

The Bible stands at the heart of the Christian faith, but people disagree about its nature and authority. With characteristic wit and clarity, Kevin DeYoung gives an engaging introduction that helps readers understand why the Bible can be trusted, and why it’s sufficient for our lives, and why it has such lasting significance.

I wrote more about this book here.

 

 

 

2. Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless WorldMichael Horton

Radical. Crazy. Transformative and restless. Every word we read these days seems to suggest there’s a “next-best-thing,” if only we would change our comfortable, compromising lives. In fact, the greatest fear that most Christians have is boredom – the sense that they are missing out on the radical life Jesus promised. One thing is certain. No one wants to be “ordinary.”

Yet pastor and author Michael Horton believes that our attempts to measure our spiritual growth by our experiences, constantly seeking after the next big breakthrough, have left many Christians disillusioned and disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with an energetic faith; the danger is that we can burn ourselves out on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations. What’s needed is not another program or fresh approach to spiritual growth; it’s renewed appreciation for the commonplace.

Far from a call to low expectations and passivity, Horton invites readers to recover their sense of joy in the ordinary. He provides a guide to sustainable discipleship that happens over the long haul – not a quick fix that leaves readers empty with unfulfilled promises. Convicting and ultimately empowering, Ordinary is not a call to do less; it’s an invitation to experience the elusive joy of the ordinary Christian life.

 

 

1. PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace – Daniel Montgomery

It’s time to open your eyes to the freeing power of authentic grace – grace that releases us from trying to earn God’s favour, grace that liberates from the tyranny of trying to please others, grace that empowers us to pursue authentic holiness.

That’s what the theology of Martin Luther and John Calvin did in their own day for the people around them. Time magazine recently dubbed Calvinism as one of the top ten ideas changing the world right now. And yet most of these discussions center on the issue of predestination or on whether particular people agree with the five points of Calvinism. Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones think it’s time to rescue the theology of the Reformers from the stale scholasticizing and to declare anew the intoxicating joy of the gospel they proclaimed.

PROOF stands for planned grace, resurrecting grace, outrageous grace, overcoming grace, and forever grace. The authors offer proof of God’s grace on which people can stand against the attacks of cheap grace and legalism that have led many of God’s people to lose sight of the freedom and joy of the gospel. And this proof is intoxicating – it’s like a 200-proof drink that will leave you spiritually staggering at its effect on your life.

God’s grace not only declares us ‘not guilty!’ in his presence, it changes our relationship with God – forever.

 

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