On My Shelf is a new feature designed to help you get to know various people through providing a behind-the-scences glimpse into their lives as readers.
I corresponded with Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, about what’s currently on his nightstand, books he re-reads, his favorite fiction, and more.
What’s on your nightstand right now?
I usually keep my nightstand uncluttered, but downstairs I have a desk in the family room where my “fun” at-home books are stacked. Right now there are a dozen books on the desk. I just returned from a few days of travel so I was able to finish three of these books: O Come, Let Us Worship by Robert Rayburn, The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Cessation of Special Revelation by Garnet Milne, and a fascinating collection of essays in the book Engaging with Martyn Lloyd-Jones. There are several other books I’m reading for my doctoral studies: a biography of John Witherspoon (1723-1794), a collection of Witherspoon’s sermons, a book on religious historiography, and a monograph on church and theology in Enlightenment Scotland.
Each morning I try to read at least five pages from some classic Christian work. Right now that book is The Church of Christ by James Bannerman. I’m also slowly working my way through Scott Manetsch’s terrific book Calvin’s Company of Pastors. I’m really enjoying Fateful Lightning, Allen Guelzo’s book on the Civil War and reconstruction. I have two other books I haven’t started yet: James Bratt’s new biography of Abraham Kuyper and Rod Gragg’s Covered with Glory on the 26th North Carolina infantry at Gettysburg. I like to read.
What are some books you regularly re-read and why?
I have re-read Calvin’s Institutes more than any other work. I constantly find nourishment in Calvin for my head and my heart. I try to read Lloyd-Jones’s Preaching and Preachers every couple of years just keep me energized for preaching. I also find encouragement from Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students.
What are your favorite fiction books?
I wish I read more fiction than I do. It would be good for me. My favorites are pretty ordinary. I love The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. I read Wangerin’s The Book of the Dun Cow a couple of years ago and was very impressed. For sheer fun and brilliance of writing, there’s nothing better than Jeeves and Wooster from P. G. Wodehouse.
What are your top five books on belonging to the body of Christ in the local church?
In no particular order, and off the top of my head, I’d recommend:
For the basics of being a church member: What Is a Healthy Church Member? (Thabiti Anyabwile)
For the importance of being a confessional church: The Creedal Imperative (Carl Trueman)
For the importance of prayer: A Praying Life (Paul Miller)