I’m sad to say that it’s been a very light reading year for me, but it’s not totally without excuse. Chalk it up to my moving from NoCal to SoCal then back to NoCal then back again to SoCal, getting married, immediately moving to India with my wife, flying back to SoCal two-and-a-half months later, hopping on a plane a month after that to move to Virginia, where we currently reside and are trying our best not to freeze to death.
Through all that craziness, I have only managed to complete reading ten different books – counting the one short eBook I wrote this year – and make a dent in two more. However disappointed I was with the length of this year’s reading list, I can say sincerely that the content I did absorb was incredibly helpful and thought-provoking. I have created a list of the three which had the greatest impact on me, accompanied with brief reviews for each.
(If you are interested in ordering a copy of any of the three books, simply click the title – they are linked to their respective Amazon pages. )
- Heaven Misplaced | Douglas Wilson
Reading this book, I felt as though Douglas Wilson took a metaphorical sledgehammer to the knees of my eschatological presuppositions. It was one of those unique experiences where I finished the last page sort of staggered. While I have not fully solidified in my view of the end times, this book opened my eyes to possibilities and interpretations I had never before considered.The simplistic theological framework impressed upon me by viewings of the Left Behind series suddenly seemed to shatter under the weight of Wilson’s arguments.
His prodding toward the reader to embrace a more “hopeful optimism” regarding the last days really resonated with me, and the Biblical support structure behind each of his points is difficult to ignore – (his chapter on Nero blew my mind.) This book didn’t push me to a final decision about where my eschatology should land, but I don’t think that was Wilson’s sole desire in writing this book. I think he simply wanted to send us on a journey to re-examine eschatological passages which have become far too familiar to us.
- Messy Grace | Caleb Kaltenbach
I’ve been beating the drum for this book ever since I’ve read it. I’ve written about it, tweeted quotes from it, and worn my copy out – I just lent it to someone the other day. So what makes this book so special?Caleb Kaltenbach is an evangelical pastor who has decided to write a book about homosexuality. Sounds pretty ordinary right?
Well, there’s a twist.
Kaltenbach’s parents are gay.
That’s right, at a young age, his mother came out as a lesbian, and after he graduated college, his father came out as homosexual as well. He admits himself what a unique situation this is, “I mean seriously, who has two parents who are gay? I know there are other people out there like me, but I’m sure there are few of us. Yet this was my reality.” (pg. 25)
It’s from this background that the author addresses the issue of homosexuality. His goal is for the reader to “get a glimpse of the LGBT community from the inside, to see what some think of Christians so that you can think about what kind of Christian you are going to be to them.” (pg. 15)
I had some reservations about the book when I saw that it was written by an author who was raised in an LGBT+ environment. I assumed it would be written with a bent toward acceptance of homosexuality, and downplay the precise words of Scripture. I could not have been more wrong. He deals with it boldly and lovingly. He constantly reminds us that it isn’t merely a matter of winning an argument, it’s about reaching souls for Christ.
I was brought to tears by a few of his personal life experiences – he’s a very strong writer – and was often convicted by the fact that I often fall short of loving others the way I should. Caleb’s book is one I would see myself returning to again in the future, and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to grow in communication with their loved ones. The information on these pages is absolutely vital for the day and age in which we live.
It all goes back to that tension of grace and truth. “We can be right about theology but wrong in how or when we communicate such truth.” (pg. 110)
(Read my original full-length review here: https://globetrottingtheologian.com/2016/02/08/messy-grace-book-review/)
- The Holiness of God | R.C. Sproul
I was late to this one, I know.Considered a modern classic of Christian literature, The Holiness of God is perhaps R.C. Sproul‘s best-known work – and for good reason!
As the title would suggest, this book unpacks the subject of God’s holiness. I zipped through this little 240-page book in about 2 days, totally captivated the entire time. It’s difficult to imagine one walking away without a newfound awe and passion for our great God. Such a humbling experience.
To get a brief taste of what the book has to offer, I encourage you to check out my list of 10 incredibly powerful quotes from the book: https://globetrottingtheologian.com/2016/12/08/holinessofgodquotes/
There’s my top 3 most influential books of the year 2016, what were yours? Drop a comment below so I know to check them out!