Fall books

The Power and the Glory – Graham Greene (1940) // Excellent work of fiction, and this, my second impression of Greene was much better than my first (Brighton Rock). The story follows a whisky priest in Mexico on his quest for forgiveness and redemption at a time of religious purging.

From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservatism – D.G. Hart (2011) // A very well researched historical narrative of evangelicals’ political involvement since the early 1900s. Light on analysis or opinion until the two concluding chapters. Hart assumes his readers have a certain level of familiarity with historic conservatism that I don’t have, but I still enjoyed it. The final chapters tied things together nicely, provided a good perspective on Christians and political bias, and drove home Hart’s point that evangelicals and conservative politics have always been an odd match. He wouldn’t be surprised to see a messy split in the near future. Dr. Brian Lee has an excellent review here.

The Gospel Commission: Recovering God’s Strategy for Making Disciples – Michael Horton (2011) // This is Horton’s third in a series of three books on the American church, and is a lengthy exposition of the Great Commission. The first diagnoses the problem, the second challenges Christians to get the message right, and this one explains the methods and the future of the church. It is very good at points and skimmable at others. Could have been improved by better editing and shortened by 30-50 pages.

Miracles – C.S. Lewis (1947, 1960) // Philosophical, poetic, and masterful. A couple excellent passages here and here. I’m not sure if Lewis’ definition of Naturalism isn’t a straw man, but his logic, poetic prose arguing for the supernatural in our world is a joy to read.

Culture in Christian Perspective: A Door to Understanding and Enjoying the Arts – Leland Ryken (1986) // This has been recommended to me several times, and I intend to do the same now that I’ve read it. Ryken is a clear, compelling writer who argues for a recovery of the arts to a prominent place in Christianity. He touches especially on art related to truth, beauty, and creativity. The only qualm I have with it is that it is dated and written before postmodernism came into self-conscious existence in the arts.

The Pearl – John Steinbeck (1947) // Steinbeck’s novella is based on an old folk tale of a poor man who finds the greatest pearl in the world. A powerfully tragic message. I did find some of Steinbeck’s general descriptions to be superfluous and contrived, though.

The Cross of Christ: 20th Anniversary Edition – John Stott (2006) // After Stott’s death earlier this year, I wanted to read his most popular and influential book. It’s a comprehensive look at Christ’s death and what it means theologically, doxologically, practically, and socially. Stott covers so many aspects of the atonement, relating them all back to its essence of “self-satisfaction by self-substitution.” Without the cross being a substitution, everything else about it falls apart. A really great book.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart: Revised and Updated – Tedd Tripp (1995) // Excellent book on parenting based on God’s promises. Focuses on the foundation of communication and correction in getting to the heart issues with kids. This book is a resource that we will assuredly keep coming back to through the years.

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