Welcome to 2024! As we enter a new year, I want to share my seven favorite Christian books of 2023. Note that my very favorite books of the year are at the bottom of this list, so you’ll want to keep reading.
#7 The Spirit Said Go: Lessons in Guidance from Paul’s Journeys by Mark Wilson. A charismatic biblical scholar weaves textual observations about Paul’s decision-making process in the book of Acts with geographical observations gleaned from Paul’s travels (the author spends more than half of every year in “Asia Minor” and surroundings) and offers many modern illustrations about how the Holy Spirit leads today. I don’t agree with everything Wilson asserts, but I benefited a lot from thinking about the topic of guidance in the biblical book of Acts.
#6 The Holy Spirit: An Introduction by Fred Sanders. This book is full of sturdy reflections about the Holy Spirit from a systematic theologian who has spent his life thinking and writing about the Trinity. This book is serious reading, despite its brevity and simple title. It is, however, as winsome and witty as anything you will encounter while reading serious theology.
#5 Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation by Collin Hansen.This book is not a normal biography. Hansen analyzes the persons, events and places that most influenced Tim Keller. I appreciated Hansen’s approach, since I’m always interested in how God shapes a person’s character and prepares him or her for fruitful ministry. Hansen’s book was released in February of 2023, about three months before Keller passed away in May of the same year. HERE is my review.
#4 The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes by Nancy R. Pearcey. Pearcey makes a case for why courageous and compassionate men are essential for a well-functioning society, and how (=background history) so many in modern America came to view masculinity as generally toxic. Despite a few quibbles, I came away with some helpful perspectives, and agree that the topic is important.
#3 A Supreme Love: The Music of Jazz and the Hope of the Gospel by William Edgar. The thesis of this book is that jazz music highlights the movement from deep sorrow into inexpressible joy, and that such movement is incomprehensible apart from understanding the influence of the Christian gospel on the genre. The book contains a lot of historical description about the development of jazz. HERE is my review.
#2 This Homeward Ache: How Our Yearning for the Life to Come Spurs on Our Life Today by Amy Baik Lee. My whole life I have wrestled with deep inward longings — even aches — that I’ve struggled to describe. I eventually came to realize that such yearnings are heaven-focused and a valuable feature of the Christian life. (I wrote a bit about this in chapter 6 of Walking in the Spirit). My heart swelled as I read Amy Baik Lee’s descriptions and explorations of her own longings. She elegantly articulates similar yearnings I have felt all my life. Note that Lee really is an excellent writer; I delighted in the way she structured her sentences and paragraphs!
#1 Remaking the World: How 1776 Created the Post-Christian West by Andrew Wilson. This book is easily my favorite of the year. The book is chock-full of scintillating analyses of seven “revolutions” (not just the one you might be thinking of) that took shape at the end of the 18th century, changed the course of history, and profoundly impacted life as we know it today. Though this book is for serious thinkers, it is superbly conceived and exceptionally well-written. HERE is my review.
I genuinely hope you enjoy these books as much as I did.
Here is my list for 2022.
Here is my list for 2021.
Here is my list for 2020.
Here is my list for 2019.
Here is my list for 2018.
Thank you so much to all of you who regularly read my posts this past year! I am so grateful. I am already working on a slate of posts for 2024 that I can’t wait to share.
This post and other resources are available at Kindle Afresh: The Blog and Website of Kenneth Berding.