Here are the books I have read through throughout the fall.
How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp: This book focuses on the right things concerning the Christian life: the heart, self-examination, evil and suffering in the world (and in us), the cross, community, and growth (or present grace or discipleship). These truths are standard for not just understanding but experiencing the Christian life. As Future Grace is meticulous concerning the Christian life, How People Change is holistic concerning the Christian life. Very penetrating, easily re-readable, and worth a more serious study.
Turning Points by Mark Noll: Overall it was readable and helpful for getting a “big picture” view of the history of Christianity. After the chapter on the Diet of Worms things get more complicated as the schisms within the church multiply, so the first 7 or 8 chapters are more helpful than the last 4 or 5. The inserts of original texts were nice. The material on Martin Luther was passionately and well written (displaying the authors confessed affection for Luther's thought).
A Call to Prayer by J.C. Ryle: “Piercing exhortation” is the best phrase to capture this 32 page tract. About a year ago I tried to read it and only got about six pages in before I could go no longer. The author’s warnings of eternal consequence to the prayerless person are, as I said, piercing. His final commendations to the one who does pray are very helpful, however, still sharp. Because of its energy and brevity this will be a good re-read.
When Sinners Say “I Do” by Dave Harvey: The book has a wonderfully helpful thrust: understanding and embracing the reality of the depth of your sin (and your spouse’s) will propel you to embrace the cross of Christ and live a life of love, sacrifice, joy, etc. Along with this is a lot of helpful wisdom in different aspects of the Christian life (showing mercy, grace, forgiveness, etc.) The chapter on confronting sin in your spouse’s life is really good.
Culture Shift by Al Mohler: Three things helped this book stay interesting: short chapters, relevant topics, and convincing arguments (The citing the author does of secular or opposing arguments is really helpful for this last one.). The book is a necessary read for developing a Christian worldview as a U.S. citizen because of the individual topics discussed. The chapters on abortion, parenting, and Christian morality and public law were the most beneficial.
Addiction by Ed Welch: As much as this book is about addictions it is about sin. The book is helpful for anyone who sins and wants to understand it and fight it. There is a much needed agenda within the book of centralizing the debate about whether addiction is a sickness/physical problem or a sin/spiritual problem. The book addresses counselors and addicts. The application questions at the end of each chapter are worth the price of the book alone.
Leviticus by God: There was a lot in there I am sure I did not understand, but two things are clear: God is holy and if sinners are to know Him they must be atoned for. God’s presence cannot dwell amongst any sort or amount of rebellion. Their sin must be punished if sinners are to know the Holy One of Israel.