Here are some helpful reading resources as well as some recommended podcasts.
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
The Christian church has a long tradition of systematic theology, that is, studying theology and doctrine organized around fairly standard categories such as the Word of God, redemption, and Jesus Christ. This introduction to systematic theology has several distinctive features: – A strong emphasis on the scriptural basis for each doctrine and teaching – Clear writing, with technical terms kept to a minimum – A contemporary approach, treating subjects of special interest to the church today – A friendly tone, appealing to the emotions and the spirit as well as the intellect – Frequent application to life – Resources for worship with each chapter – Bibliographies with each chapter that cross-reference subjects to a wide range of other systematic theologies.
Systematic Theology by John Frame
Systematic Theology is the culmination and creative synthesis of John Frame’s writing on, teaching about, and studying of the Word of God. This magisterial opus—at once biblical, clear, cogent, readable, accessible, and practical—summarizes the mature thought of one of the most important and original Reformed theologians of the last hundred years. It will enable you to see clearly how the Bible explains God’s great, sweeping plan for mankind
The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler with Jared Wilson
You know you know it…
But then again, maybe you don’t.
Even if you go to church, it doesn’t mean that you are being exposed to the gospel explicitly. Sure, most people talk about Jesus, and about being good and avoiding bad, but the gospel message simply isn’t there—at least not in its specificity and its fullness.
Inspired by the needs of both the over-churched and the unchurched, and bolstered by the common neglect of the explicit gospel within Christianity, popular pastor Matt Chandler writes to remind us what is of first and utmost importance—the gospel.
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer
If God is in control of everything, can Christians sit back and not bother to evangelize? Or does active evangelism imply that God is not really sovereign at all? J. I. Packer shows in this new edition to the popular IVP Classics how both of these attitudes are false. In a careful review of the biblical evidence, he shows how a right understanding of God’s sovereignty is not so much a barrier to evangelism as an incentive and powerful support for it. With over 100,000 copies in print, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God is truly a classic that should be read by every Christian.
Telling the Truth edited by D.A. Carson
Telling the Truth provides informed insights on the heart of the Gospel, the soul of postmodern culture, and their complex interface. This book is a compilation of thoughts and strategies from twenty-nine prominent practitioners of contemporary evangelism. Originating at a three-day conference held at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Telling the Truth draws on knowledge gained in the trenches by Ravi Zacharias, Kelly Monroe, D.A. Carson, Ajith Fernando, and other notables. It will open your eyes to how the contest for souls is fought, guerilla-style, at a multitude of fronts: relationships, the university, ethnicity, reason and emotion, the pulpit, communications . . . in short, the broad spectrum of human experience and values. You’ll be challenged to discern between the unchanging Gospel and the flexible means by which we communicate it. Telling the Truth can help you lay the groundwork necessary to point biblically uninformed, postmodern men and women toward an encounter with non-negotiable truth — an absolute revealed in the Bible that points to the reality of sin and the need for a Savior.
Tactics by Gregory Koukl
In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to get in the driver’s seat, keeping any conversation moving with thoughtful, artful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to maneuver comfortably and graciously through the minefields, stop challengers in their tracks, turn the tables and—most importantly—get people thinking about Jesus. Soon, your conversations will look more like diplomacy than D-Day. Drawing on extensive experience defending Christianity in the public square, Koukl shows you how to: – Initiate conversations effortlessly – Present the truth clearly, cleverly, and persuasively – Graciously and effectively expose faulty thinking – Skillfully manage the details of dialogue – Maintain an engaging, disarming style even under attack Tactics provides the game plan for communicating the compelling truth about Christianity with confidence and grace.
Discipleship & Family
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
Written for parents with children of any age, this insightful book provides perspectives and procedures for shepherding your child’s heart into the paths of life. Shepherding a Child’s Heart gives fresh biblical approaches to child rearing.
Parenting by Paul David Tripp
What is your calling as a parent?
In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.
In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God—grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.
Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy.
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood By John Piper and Wayne Grudem
A controversy of major proportions has spread throughout the church. Now more than ever before, gender roles are openly questioned in the wake of evangelical feminism—a movement that is having a profound impact on society, the home, and the church. In this redesigned edition of an influential and award-winning bestseller, more than 20 influential scholars such as John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and D. A. Carson have committed their talents to produce the most thorough response to date. Combining systematic argumentation with popular application, this volume deals with all of the main passages of Scripture brought forward in this controversy regarding gender-based role differences. Anyone concerned with the fundamental question of the proper relationship between men and women will want to read this book.
Podcast – Revive Our Hearts by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Podcast – Ask Pastor John by John Piper
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
Drawn from a rich heritage, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will guide you through a carefully selected array of disciplines. By illustrating why the disciplines are important, showing how each one will help you grow in godliness, and offering practical suggestions for cultivating them, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life will provide you with a refreshing opportunity to become more like Christ and grow in character and maturity. Now updated and revised to equip a new generation of readers, this anniversary edition features in-depth discussions on each of the key disciplines.
Prayer by Timothy Keller
Christians are taught in their churches and schools that prayer is the most powerful way to experience God. But few receive instruction or guidance in how to make prayer genuinely meaningful. In Prayer, renowned pastor Timothy Keller delves into the many facets of this everyday act.
With his trademark insights and energy, Keller offers biblical guidance as well as specific prayers for certain situations, such as dealing with grief, loss, love, and forgiveness. He discusses ways to make prayers more personal and powerful, and how to establish a practice of prayer that works for each reader.
Dr. Keller’s previous books have sold more than one million copies. His Redeemer Presbyterian Church is not only a major presence in his home base of New York, it has also helped to launch more than two hundred fifty other churches in forty-eight cities around the world. His teachings have already helped millions, the majority of whom pray regularly. And with Prayer, he’ll show them how to find a deeper connection with God.
40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert Plummer
In 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible, New Testament Professor Dr. Robert L. Plummer tackles the major questions that persons ask about reading and understanding the Bible.
- Does the Bible contain error?
- Were the ancient manuscripts of the Bible transmitted accurately?
- What is the best English Bible translation?
- Is the Bible really all about Jesus?
- Do all the commands of the Bible apply today?
- Why can’t people agree on what the Bible means?
- How do we interpret historical narrative?
- How do we interpret the Psalms?
- What does the Bible tell us about the future?
- What is the “Theological Interpretation of Scripture”?
- and many others
Openness Unhindered by Rosaria Butterfield
Before you can resolve the issues of our day, you must be able to clarify them. Terms like same-sex marriage, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gay Christian are part of the discourse of daily life; yet enormous controversy surrounds them. They are the stuff of news headlines and vitriolic social media posts. But they also reflect stirrings of the heart in real people with real questions and concerns. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, once a leftist professor in a committed lesbian relationship and now a confessional Christian, but always the thoughtful and compassionate professor, has written a followup to The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. This book answers many of the questions that people pose when she speaks at universities and churches, questions not only about her unlikely conversion to Christ but about personal struggles that the questioners only dare to as someone else who has traveled a long and painful journey. Dr. Butterfield not only goes to great lengths to clarify some of today’s key controversies, she also traces their history and defines the terms that have become second nature today-even going back to God’s original design for marriage and sexuality as found in the Bible. She cuts to the heart of the problems and points the way to the solution, which includes a challenge to the church to be all that God intended it to be, and for each person to find the true freedom that is found in Christ.
Bloodlines by John Piper
Genocide. Terrorism. Hate crimes. In a world where racism is far from dead, is unity amidst diversities even remotely possible?
Sharing from his own experiences growing up in the segregated South, pastor John Piper thoughtfully exposes the unremitting problem of racism. Instead of turning finally to organizations, education, famous personalities, or government programs to address racial strife, Piper reveals the definitive source of hope—teaching how the good news about Jesus Christ actively undermines the sins that feed racial strife, and leads to a many-colored and many-cultured kingdom of God.
Learn to pursue ethnic harmony from a biblical perspective, and to relate to real people different from yourself, as you take part in the bloodline of Jesus that is comprised of “every tongue, tribe, and nation.”
Podcast – The Briefing by Albert Mohler
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
You may have read books on this topic before—but not like this one. Instead of an instruction manual for church growth, this classic text offers tried and true principles for assessing the health of your church. Whether you’re a pastor, a leader, or an involved member of your congregation, studying the nine marks of a healthy church will help you cultivate new life and well-being within your own church for God’s glory.
Why We Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
This book presents the case for loving the local church. It paints a picture of the local church in all its biblical and real life guts, gaffes, and glory in an effort to edify local congregations and entice the disaffected back to the fold. It also provides a solid biblical mandate to love and be part of the body of Christ and counteract the “leave church” books that trumpet rebellion and individual felt needs.
Why We Love the Church is written for four kinds of people—the Committed, the Disgruntled, the Waffling, and the Disconnected.
Why We’re Not Emergent by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
You can be young, passionate about Jesus Christ, surrounded by diversity, engaged in a postmodern world, reared in evangelicalism, and not be an emergent Christian. In fact, I want to argue that it would be better if you weren’t.
The Emergent Church is a strong voice in today’s Christian community. And they’re talking about good things, like caring for the poor, peace for all men, and loving Jesus. They’re doing church a new way, not content to fit the mold. Again, all good. But there’s more to the movement than that. Much more.
Kevin and Ted are two guys who, demographically, should be all over this movement. But they’re not. And here’s why—they do life founded upon orthodox beliefs about God, propositional truths about Jesus, and the authority of Scripture.
In Why We’re Not Emergent, Kevin and Ted diagnose the emerging church from both a theological and an on-the-street perspective. They pull apart interviews, articles, books, and blogs, helping you see for yourself what it’s all about.
Provocative yet playful, this book seeks to show you why being emergent isn’t the only, or even the best, way to be passionate about Jesus Christ.
New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp
Mornings can be tough. Sometimes, a hearty breakfast and strong cup of coffee just aren’t enough. Offering more than a rush of caffeine, best-selling author Paul David Tripp wants to energize you with the most potent encouragement imaginable: the gospel.
Forget “behavior modification” or feel-good aphorisms. Tripp knows that what we really need is an encounter with the living God. Then we’ll be prepared to trust in God’s goodness, rely on his grace, and live for his glory each and every day.
For the Love of God volumes 1 & 2 by D.A. Carson
In a world that views absolute truth, right and wrong, and salvation as being subject to individual interpretation, the Bible’s unwavering proclamations and miraculous stories seem obsolete in modern times. But it is not God’s Word that has changed. Indeed, its relevancy and its power to transform lives are intact. What has changed is the number of people who consult it. Now more than ever the need to read the Bible, to understand the big picture of its storyline, and to grasp the relevance this has for your life is critical.
This two volume devotional contains a systematic 365-day plan, based on the M’Cheyne Bible-reading schedule, that will in the course of a year guide you through the New Testament and Psalms twice and the rest of the Old Testament once.
In an effort to help preserve biblical thinking and living, D. A. Carson has also written thought-provoking comments and reflections regarding each day’s scriptural passages. And, most uniquely, he offers you perspective that places each reading into the larger framework of history and God’s eternal plan to deepen your understanding of his sovereignty-and the unity and power of his Word.
Pierced by the Word by John Piper
Pierced by the Word takes up thirty-one subjects as unique as “How to Be a Refuge for Your Children,” “How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God,” and “Embracing the Pain of Shame.” Some are longer, some shorter, like the real-world conversations they so closely resemble, and each comes from the fertile mind of John Piper and is written in his own inimitable style. Together, the readings will lead to a deeper understanding of God and a cleaner, clearer relationship with Him. Most of all, Piper’s approach shows how meditating on God’s powerful Word can affect every aspect of our lives.
Life as a Vapor by John Piper
“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Living knowing that your life is a vapor is different than just living. Things here are passing away. You’ve got to hold on to what will stand. Savor what matters. This collection of thirty-one articles is full of that heart-longing after Christ that distinguishes Piper’s preaching ministry. Readers will feel as though they have stumbled into a garden as they enter these pages. The Scripture cuts, Christ is exalted in God, and we worship Him
The Valley of Vision edited by Arthur Bennett
A selection of prayers and meditations in the Puritan tradition, widely valued since publication in 1975. In this classic volume, edited by Arthur Bennett, the prayers of the Puritans are brought to life. Including prayers of Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, Isaac Watts, Charles Spurgeon, and others, The Valley of Vision is a selection of petitions and meditations in the Puritan tradition. This compilation of prayers is intended to teach and encourage Christians to be faithful in their private and family worship. The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature. Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book is certainly not designed to take the place of your own prayers, but rather to nourish the mind with ideas from godly writers and poets of past ages.
Church History / Biographical
The Story of Christianity Volume 1 by Justo Gonzalez
In The Story of Christianity: Volume 1, Justo L. González, author of the highly praised three-volume History of Christian Thought, presents a narrative history of Christianity, from the Early Church to the Dawn of the Protestant Reformation. From Jesus’ faithful apostles to the early reformist John Wycliffe, González skillfully traces core theological issues and developments within the various traditions of the church, including major events outside of Europe, such as the Spanish and Portuguese conquest of the New World. This updated and expanded edition incorporates recent archaeological discoveries about the life of Early Christian Communities, as well as important contemporary research revealing the significant role of women throughout the history of the church. With lively storytelling, The Story of Christianity provides a fascinating and panoramic history of the dramatic events, colorful characters, and revolutionary ideas that shaped the first fifteen centuries of the church.
The Story of Christianity Volume 2 by Justo Gonzalez
From Justo L. Gonzalez, author of the acclaimed three-volume History of Christian Thought, The Story of Christianity Volume II: The Reformation to the Present Day is the fully revised and updated second volume of The Story of Christianity. Gonzalez’s astute scholarship, lucid prose, and impassioned focus tell the narrative history of Christianity, beginning with the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century and leading all the way up to present day.
George Muller: Delighted in God by Roger Steer
George Müller’s life is a powerful answer to modern skepticism. His name has become a by-word for faith throughout the world. In the early 1830s he embarked upon an extraordinary adventure. Disturbed by the faithlessness of the Church in general, he longed to have something to point to as ‘visible proof that our God and Father is the same faithful creator as he ever was’. He was more successful than anyone could have believed possible and is as much an example to our generation, as he was to his.
Podcast – 5 Minutes in Church History by Stephen Nichols
The Great Commandment
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
One of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals (Christianity Today, 2006)
Platinum Book Award, Evangelical Christian Publishing Association For over 40 years, J. I. Packer’s classic has been an important tool to help Christians around the world discover the wonder, the glory and the joy of knowing God. In 2006, Christianity Today voted this title one of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals. This edition is updated with Americanized language and spelling and a new preface by the author. Stemming from Packer’s profound theological knowledge, Knowing God brings together two important facets of the Christian faith― knowing about God and also knowing God through the context of a close relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. Written in an engaging and practical tone, this thought-provoking work seeks to transform and enrich the Christian understanding of God. Explaining both who God is and how we can relate to him, Packer divides his book into three sections: The first directs our attention to how and why we know God, the second to the attributes of God and the third to the benefits enjoyed by a those who know him intimately. This guide leads readers into a greater understanding of God while providing advice to gaining a closer relationship with him as a result.
Desiring God by John Piper
Experience the Lifelong Pleasures of Knowing God!
Satisfaction…Happiness…Joy. According to John Piper, the pursuit of pleasure in God is not only permissible, it’s essential.
Desiring God is a paradigm-shattering work that dramatically alters common perspectives on relating to God. Piper reveals that there really is no need to choose between duty and delight in the Christian life. In fact, for the follower of Jesus, delight is the duty as Christ is most magnified in His people when they are most satisfied in Him.
Constantly drawing on Scripture to build his case, Piper shows why pursuing maximum joy is essential to glorifying God. He discusses the implications of this for conversion, worship, love, Scripture, prayer, money, marriage, missions, and suffering.
Piper beckons us to approach God with the hedonist’s abandon. Finally, we are freed to enjoy Jesus—not only as our Lord and Savior, but also as our all-surpassing, soul-satisfying Treasure.
Desiring God may turn your Christian world upside down. And that will be a good thing, for the glory of God, and for your deepest joy.
The Things of Earth by Joe Rigney
The world is full of good things.
Ice-cold lemonade. The laughter of children. College football. Scrambled eggs and crispy bacon. But what happens to these earthly pleasures when Jesus shows up? Do the things of earth grow strangely dim? Or does he shine in all that’s fair?
In this book, Joe Rigney offers a breath of fresh air to Christians who are burdened by false standards, impossible expectations, and misguided notions of holiness. Steering a middle course between idolatry on the one hand and ingratitude on the other, this much-needed book reminds us that every good gift comes from the Father’s hand, that God’s blessings should drive us to worship and generosity, and that a passion for God’s glory is as wide as the world.