Cracking on with my list of 10 books that have influenced me…
A Body of Divinity by Thomas Watson: I have spent more money in either buying this or replacing personal copies of this book than any other book. It’s that kind of book.
I first heard about this book through the recommendation of my previous pastor, Dr Peter Masters of the Metropolitan Tabernacle. True story: he told me to sell a shirt and buy one! As someone who I held (and still hold) in incredibly high regard, I picked up a copy (while holding onto my shirt)…and I wasn’t disappointed.
Weaving theological precision with penetrating insight, Watson expounds on the themes taught in the Westminster Shorter Catechism in a memorable way that is sure to be a blessing.
The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul: In three words: a modern classic. Dr Sproul has been a faithful defender of Reformation truth and in his seminal work, he takes up on top of the mountain with him and shows us what it is that we serve a God who is Holy, Holy, Holy(!) The chapter on The Trauma of Holiness is worth the price of the book itself. Dr Steven J Lawson has a saying that certain subjects are the equivalent of saying some subjects are the equivalent of “playing big boy football” – Sproul’s treatment of the Holiness of God makes you realize that God’s holiness is more than just fodder for worship music – it’s an earth-shattering reality for all of life!
The Cross of Christ by John Stott: I took this book with me to university and read it during “Fresher’s Week”. A captivating read on the redemptive work of Christ and why it ought to be central for the life of the believer as well as the Church, it, along with Pierced for our Transgressions, established the importance of a proper understanding of the Atonement for me. (Pro tip: if you do get a used copy, get one with the study guide ;))
Knowing God by J.I. Packer: Another modern classic. I understand that in many reformed circles (and with good reason), the name of J.I. Packer arouses deep disdain but this work is one you need to read. Taking the theological cookies off the top shelf and putting them on the bottom shelf where even folks like I can get to them is a rare gift and Packer uses it marvellously. If Watson provides us with exhaustive theology, then Packer provides us with accessible theology. My recommendation is to start with the chapter on The Heart of the Gospel – sooooo good!!!
Holiness by J.C. Ryle: One of few men I am comfortably with calling ‘Bishop’, J.C. Ryle’s Holiness is a must-read for the Christian who desires to grow in holiness and Christlikeness and yet wants to avoid the twin ditches of either legalism and/or license.
As the good Bishop puts it, ““Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God’s judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word.”
Desirous of living a life like this? Ryle is your man (accompanied by a open Bible and a praying heart as you read)
And there’s my ten! What books would you add? Take out? Swap with another? Leave me a comment!