Following are seven books I read in 2020 that I found beneficial in my Christian life. This year I read quite a few biographies, so three of my entries are biographies. Unfortunately, none of the academic books I read this year made the list (compare my list for 2019), even though most of the books that did make this year’s list were written by academic-oriented authors. I will itemize the books in the order I read them.
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, by Timothy Keller. Perhaps the best overall piece of Christian apologetics I have ever read. Clear and articulate, with a great tone. Give a copy of this book to your (thinking) non-Christian friend.
No Quick Fix: Where Higher Life Theology Came From, What It Is, and Why It’s Harmful, by Andrew David Naselli. A simple description and critique of higher life theology (“let go, let God”). This book highlights its main weaknesses, particularly the three-categories concept (spiritual Christians, carnal Christians, non-Christians). Includes a helpful Afterword by John MacArthur.
Cyprian of Carthage: His Life & Impact, by Brian J. Arnold. Helped me make sense of a third-century A.D. church father whom I hadn’t adequately understood.
12 Faithful Men: Portraits of Courageous Endurance in Pastoral Ministry, by Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson. Twelve instructive one-chapter biographies of men who were faithful pastors, despite hardships. I was especially impacted by the chapters about Andrew Fuller, John Chavis, C. H. Spurgeon, and Wong Ming-Dao.
Christianity & Liberalism, by J. Gresham Machen. Classic book, nearly 100 years old, defending the thesis that theological liberalism is in fact a different religion from Christianity. It is for good reason that this book continues to be reprinted year after year.
The First American Evangelical: A Short Life of Cotton Mather, by Rick Kennedy. A readable, yet at the same time intelligent, biography of a dedicated Christian pastor and author who lived 400 or so years ago. Mather was a Christian man who sought to live an “all-day-long faith” (p. 144).
Praying the Bible, by Donald S. Whitney. An extremely short book on how to draw upon the Bible, and the Psalms in particular, to enliven and guide our prayers. Every Christian needs to know how to pray in this way, and probably sometimes should. Extremely easy to read.
I hope you find these books as helpful to you as they have been to me.
Here is my list from 2019.
Here is my list from 2018.