A few books I want to read in 2013 (and think you should, too)

A habit I’ve gotten into is looking ahead to certain books I want to read in the coming year. Here are a few that have caught my eye:

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On the Grace of God by Justin Holcomb

The latest entry in Re:Lit’s “A Book You’ll Actually Read” series:

Packed with big truth, this little book on God’s grace can be read in roughly one hour, ensuring you’ll actually read it. Justin Holcomb, a pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle and executive director of the Resurgence, highlights Scripture’s recurring emphasis on humanity’s desperate need and God’s extravagant grace. Holcomb convincingly demonstrates that grace—most powerfully manifested in the person and work of Jesus Christ—is the foundational theme and primary message of the whole Bible. An appendix succinctly summarizes how God’s grace is evident in each book of the Bible.


The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry by Jared C. Wilson

Ministry can be brutal. Discouragement, frustration, and exhaustion are common experiences for all church leaders, often resulting in a lack of joy and a loss of focus. Aiming to encourage and strengthen pastors in particular, Jared Wilson helps readers rediscover the soul-satisfying gospel of grace as he creatively merges biblical exposition and personal confession. In addition to covering topics such as holiness, humility, and confidence, Wilson explores the nature of pastoral ministry through the lens of the five solas of the Reformation. Full of real-world examples from the author’s own life and ministry, this book reminds all pastors that their justification is not found in ministry success or audience approval, but rather in the finished work of Christ.


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The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word by R.C. Sproul

What Promises Can You Believe? In The Promises of God, Dr. R. C. Sproul shows how God—the one true Promise Keeper—always keeps His promises. Drawing from his expansive theological background, Dr. Sproul addresses questions such as these:

  • How do we know that God will fulfill His promises to us?
  • What can we learn about God’s faithfulness as we wait for His promises to be fulfilled?
  • What was the agreement God the Father had with Jesus before the beginning of the world?
  • What does God’s covenant with Adam mean for us today?
  • What common covenant do atheists and other non-Christians participate in with God?
  • What does God’s covenant have to do with His forgiveness of our sins today?
  • Why did Jesus have to die to complete God’s covenant with us?

God’s promises throughout history are the foundation for your relationship with Him. Here you will see how and why He keeps His promises to you, from now through eternity.


Setting Our Affections upon Glory: Nine Sermons on the Gospel and the Church by Martyn Lloyd Jones

Martyn Lloyd-Jones stands as one of the preeminent preachers of the 20th century. An ardent opponent of liberalism and a defender of orthodoxy, “The Doctor’s” legacy is still being felt today throughout the Protestant world. This collection of 9 previously unpublished sermons, originally delivered during his final visit to the United States, challenges us to reevaluate the focus of our lives and the object of our affections. Covering topics such as prayer, evangelism, and the church, this timely anthology serves as a wakeup call to the church, exhorting all of us to remain faithful to the Word of God and fostering a spirit of renewed devotional fervor.


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Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence by Preston Sprinkle

The bold new book from New York Times best-selling author Preston Sprinkle is a tour de force that tackles the topic of violence and how Christians should respond.

In a unique narrative approach, Sprinkle begins by looking at how the story of God as a whole portrays violence and war, drawing conclusions that guide the reader through the rest of the book. With urgency and precision, he navigates hard questions and examines key approaches to violence, driving every answer back to Scripture. Ultimately, Sprinkle challenges the church to “walk in a manner worthy of our calling” and shape our lives on the example of Christ.

Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence is biblically rooted, theologically coherent, and prophetically challenging. It is a defining work that will stir discussions for years to come.


Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live. by David Platt

What did Jesus really mean when he said, “Follow Me”?

In this new book, David Platt, author of the New York Times bestselling book, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, contends that multitudes of people around the world culturally think they are Christians yet biblically are not followers of Christ.

Scores of men, women, and children have been told that becoming a follower of Jesus simply involves believing certain truths or saying certain words. As a result, churches today are filled with people who believe they are Christians . . . but aren’t. We want to be disciples as long as doing so does not intrude on our lifestyles, our preferences, our comforts, and even our religion.

Revealing a biblical picture of what it means to truly be a Christian, Follow Me explores the gravity of what we must forsake in this world, as well as the indescribable joy and deep satisfaction to be found when we live for Christ.

The call to follow Jesus is not simply an invitation to pray a prayer; it’s a summons to lose your life—and to find new life in him. This book will show you what such life actually looks like.


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Brass Heavens by Paul Tautges

Sometimes we’re tempted to wonder if God can hear us. After months or even years of praying over a particular person or situation, we look for evidence that God is getting our message or even paying attention, and we can’t find much. Why is that? Why do the heavens sometimes seem as hard and reflective as brass? Doesn’t God love us and care for us? Isn’t he all-powerful? What’s going on?

In “Brass Heavens” author, pastor, and biblical counselor Paul Tautges grounds prayer in the character of our Triune God whose very nature is to share generously His good gifts with His children. Upon that foundation, he then explores six reasons why at times God appears to go silent. As we examine these causes of unanswered prayer, we discover the biblical means by which we may open God’s ears to our voice once again.

God has a good and holy purpose for periods of silence. He wants to test our faith that we might see for ourselves just how weak and dependent we are on him for all good things. His goal is nothing less than to heighten our spiritual sensitivities in order to draw us into more intimate fellowship with him and more faithful obedience to him.


Supernatural Living for Natural People by Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Romans eight is a favourite of many Christians for it contains verse after verse of pure spiritual gold. It opens up to us peace with God, the ministries of the Spirit, the urgency of personal reformation, the glory of our eternal inheritance, the power of God’s goodness at work in our daily lives and the invincibility of his loving intentions toward us. In this thoughtful and perceptive book, Ray Ortlund delves deeply into Romans 8. Our appreciation and understanding of the chapter will be thoroughly revitalised.


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Recovering Classic Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry by Gregory Alan Thornbury

The startling expansion of the evangelical movement has resulted in the lack of a coherent focus, common mission, and robust doctrinal core, and consequently the American church has struggled to effectively engage the modern world. Theologian and philosopher Gregory Alan Thornbury suggests that a renewed study of Carl F. H. Henry, one of the original architects of the modern evangelical movement, will help chart a new course for the next generation of evangelical theologians, pastors, and church leaders. The book explores topics such as the lost world of classic evangelicalism, epistemology, inerrancy, culture, institutions, and evangelism. Henry’s life and work are timelier than ever, providing crucial insights for a renewed vision of the church’s place in modern society.


Trent: What Happened at the Council by John W. O’Malley

The Council of Trent (1545–1563), the Catholic Church’s attempt to put its house in order in response to the Protestant Reformation, has long been praised and blamed for things it never did. Now, in this first full one-volume history in modern times, John W. O’Malley brings to life the volatile issues that pushed several Holy Roman emperors, kings and queens of France, and five popes—and all of Europe with them—repeatedly to the brink of disaster.

During the council’s eighteen years, war and threat of war among the key players, as well as the Ottoman Turks’ onslaught against Christendom, turned the council into a perilous enterprise. Its leaders declined to make a pronouncement on war against infidels, but Trent’s most glaring and ironic silence was on the authority of the papacy itself. The popes, who reigned as Italian monarchs while serving as pastors, did everything in their power to keep papal reform out of the council’s hands—and their power was considerable. O’Malley shows how the council pursued its contentious parallel agenda of reforming the Church while simultaneously asserting Catholic doctrine.

Like What Happened at Vatican II, O’Malley’s Trent: What Happened at the Council strips mythology from historical truth while providing a clear, concise, and fascinating account of a pivotal episode in Church history. In celebration of the 450th anniversary of the council’s closing, it sets the record straight about the much misunderstood failures and achievements of this critical moment in European history.

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  • Debi Martin

    this is how my wishlist/tbr pile just keeps growing :-). Hadn’t heard of the new David Platt book – thanks!

    • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

      Glad to be of service!