Looking at the books I enjoyed most over 2009 made me think about the ones I’m really looking forward to in 2010. Here are a few:
Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe
by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
This book, a 464 page systematic theology based on Driscoll’s preaching series in 2008 is bound to leave an impression. About the book:
Doctrine is the word Christians use to define the truth-claims revealed in Holy Scripture. Of course there is a multitude of churches, church networks, and denominations, each with their own doctrinal statement with many points of disagreement. But while Christians disagree on a number of doctrines, there are key elements that cannot be denied by anyone claiming to be a follower of Jesus. In Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe, Driscoll and Breshears teach thirteen of these key elements. This meaty yet readable overview of basic doctrine will help Christians clarify and articulate their beliefs in accordance with the Bible.
Dug Down Deep
by Joshua Harris
Joshua Harris’ latest book focuses on the practical importance of theology in the life of every believer as it shares Harris’ journey to having an informed knowledge of God as the foundation of his spiritual life. From the book:
The irony of my story—and I suppose it often works this way—is that the very things I needed, even longed for in my relationship with God, were wrapped up in the very things I was so sure could do me no good. I didn’t understand that such seemingly worn-out words as theology, doctrine, and orthodoxy were the pathway to the mysterious, awe-filled experience of truly knowing the living Jesus Christ.
They told the story of the Person I longed to know.
Dug Down Deep will be released on January 19th (and my ARC arrived on Tuesday!)
Evangelicalism: What Is It and Is It Worth Keeping?
by D.A. Carson
D.A. Carson is one of the finest evangelical scholars of our day and this book, examining the relevancy of the Evangelical movement, is sure to be a fascinating and helpful read:
What defines today’s evangelicals? Are they people who fit an empirical, social-science profile? Have historical roots in the Reformation? Hold to certain theological priorities or fall within particular parameters? Is the term evangelical even useful anymore?
D. A. Carson responds to all of these questions and more in Evangelicalism. Carson defines and upacks the term, advocating a biblical/theological foundation that is built on the description of the gospel found in 1 Corinthians 15. First establishing that evangelicalism is Christological, biblical, historical, theological, apostolic, heraldic, and personal, he proceeds to demonstrate its continuing relevance and our need for its scripturally defined boundaries. Carson then critiques Mark Noll’s book Is the Reformation Over? and draws examples from Catholic doctrine, Christian experience, and modern scholarship to illustrate that the issues at stake in the Reformation are not settled.
by Chip and Dan Heath
I’m currently reading Made to Stick by the Heaths and it’s brilliant. It’s confirmed a lot of my assumptions about what makes a good idea and corrected others. Their follow-up, Switch, looks to be just as thought-provoking:
Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?
The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.
In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results, [bringing] together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
The Good News We Almost Forgot
by Kevin DeYoung
Kevin DeYoung’s latest takes us into the heart of the Heidelberg Catechism:
If there is “nothing new under the sun” then perhaps the main task now facing the Western church is not to reinvent or be relevant, but to remember. The truth of the gospel is still contained within vintage faith statements. Within creeds and catechisms we can have our faith strengthened, our knowledge broadened, and our love for Jesus deepened. In The Good News We Almost Forgot, Kevin DeYoung explores the Heidelberg Catechism and writes 52 brief chapters on what it has shown him. The Heidelberg is largely a commentary on the Apostle’s Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer and the book deals with man’s guilt, God’s grace, and believers’ gratitude. The result is a clear-headed, warm-hearted exploration of the faith, simple enough for young believers and deep enough for mature believers.
Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus
by D.A. Carson
Finally, a second entry from D.A. Carson. I’m guessing this one is based on the conference held at Mars Hill Church in Seattle last December (A Day with Dr. Don). Here’s the publisher’s description:
How are Christians to approach the central gospel teachings concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus? The Bible firmly establishes the historicity of these events and doesn’t leave their meanings ambiguous or open to interpretation. Even so, there is an irony and surprising strangeness to the cross. Carson shows that this strange irony has deep implications for our lives as he examines the history and theology of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. Both amateur theologians and general readers will appreciate how Carson deftly preserves weighty theology while simultaneously noting the broader themes of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Through exposition of five primary passages of Scripture, Carson helps us to more fully understand and appreciate the scandal of the cross.
So, those are a few of the books I’m looking forward to in 2010.
But what about you?
What books are you looking forward to?