Saturday, October 24, 2009
My Top 10 Most Influential Theological Books
A fluid list of the 10 most influential theological books I've read outside of the Bible (at the time that I read them). This is not necessarily the list of books I recommend, but that were most influencial on me at the time I read them.
10. God of Promise by Michael Horton. This may not be the best book on Covenant Theology, but it introduced me to a world that made sense of the Biblical text and lead every concept to Christ.
9. On the Incarnation by Athanasius of Alexandria. A book that introduced me to multiple facts: 1) the early church knew the gospel. 2) Christ and his work is the center of that gospel, not just my response. 3) The Incarnation is included in the work of Christ.
8. Biblical Theology by Geerhardus Vos. There is difference between "biblicism" and Biblical Theology. The former treats the Bible as a cold text, the latter as divine Scripture. Vos' book is the Bible narrative explained until it points to Christ. I'm learning that Biblical Theology is the discipline one never masters and never ceases to learn.
7. The Death of Death by John Owen. This is how to write theological treatises. On the most important subject: Christ and His work.
6. The Christian Ministry by Charles Bridges. This book introduced me to Practical/Pastoral Theology. Written in the 1800s, I have yet to find its equal in contemporary literature.
5. The Christian Tradition by Jaroslav Pelikan. A 5-volume set on the History of Doctrine I read over the period of 4 months. It changed the way I look at Christian History, the development of Doctrine and Eastern Orthodoxy.
4.The Westminster Standards. Not properly a book. The doctrinal statement put together by dozens of ministers in the 1600s, representing the labor and piety of a generation of bible teachers and preachers. This collection of the Westmisnter Confession and the Catechisms is both educational and devotional. Barely a week goes by without it teaching me something or discovering its truth elsewhere and reading it here more clearly.
3. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. The first book that made me realize that Jesus was God. Also, the first book I read that answered questions about the Christian faith in a way that was reasonable, rather than just demanding a leap of faith.
2. Desiring God by John Piper. Piper convinced me of the answer to Westminster Catechism Question 1: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
1. The Confessions by St. Augustine. I first read this in a group with a few other people from my old church, EWO. Augustine introduced me to a way of looking at the Christian faith with both my brain and heart engaged. I've read it four times now. It is the greatest book written outside of the Bible.