On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives as readers.

I corresponded with Richard Mouw—former president and professor of faith and public life at Fuller Theological Seminary—about what’s on his nightstand, books that have shaped him, his favorite fiction, and more. 


What’s on your nightstand right now?

The most compelling philosophical book I’ve read recently is Sarah Bakewell’s At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone du Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others.

What books have most profoundly shaped how you serve and lead others for the sake of the gospel? 
 
Of all the leadership books I have read, at the top of the list is Max DePree, Leadership Is an Art.
 
In thinking about leadership in general, I owe much to classical writers I’ve wrestled with while disagreeing with them: Plato’s The Republic, Machiavelli’s The Prince, Hobbes’s Leviathan, and The Federalist Papers.

What books have most influenced your understanding of Christ and culture and why?

The full list would be long, with a special underlining of Abraham Kuyper’s Lectures on Calvinism, and H. Richard Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture not far behind.

Carl F. H. Henry’s The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism was an early inspiration for me on what would have to be attended to in a healthy evangelicalism.

Bernard Ramm’s Christian View of Science and the Scripture shaped my thoughts in my teenage years on faith and science.

Cornelius Van Til’s Common Grace and the Gospel set me off on a lifelong exploration of a key topic for me. I still like a lot of what he wrote on the subject, and he got me reading others—Herman Hoeksema and Klaas Schilder—who have challenged me to stay accountable to solid Calvinism.

I recently wrote the foreword to a wonderful new translation of Schilder’s Christ and Culture.

And on race relations, Albert Raboteau’s Slave Religion opened up a new world for me. 

What are your favorite fiction books? 
 
As an undergraduate English major at Houghton College, I focused primarily on 19th-century British and American novels, and recently re-read Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun and Oliver Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield. I plan to return soon to Jane Austen and the Brontes. When I want to go slumming in fiction on an airplane trip, I read the likes of Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy.
 
What are you learning about life and following Jesus?
 
I’m learning to stay close to my roots. During my college years my parents gave me—several volumes at a time—the full set of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Eventually I made my way through the 20 volumes, and his presentation of the gospel influenced me profoundly. He’s still my favorite preacher! I read J. I. Packer's Fundamentalism’ and the Word of God when I was in graduate school, and that continues to serve as the basis of my understanding of biblical authority. For devotional reading I regularly turn to Kuyper’s Near Unto God. My favorite worldview book is Arthur Holmes’s Contours of a World View.

Also in the On My Shelf series: Sam AllberryRay OrtlundBrett McCrackenMez McConnellErik RaymondSandra McCrackenTim ChalliesAnthony MooreSammy Rhodes, Karen EllisAlastair RobertsScott SaulsKaren Swallow PriorJackie Hill PerryBruce AshfordJonathan LeemanMegan HillMarvin OlaskyDavid WellsJohn FrameRod DreherJames K. A. SmithRandy AlcornTom SchreinerTrillia NewbellJen WilkinJoe CarterTimothy GeorgeTim KellerBryan ChapellLauren ChandlerMike CosperRussell MooreJared WilsonKathy KellerJ. D. GreearKevin DeYoungKathleen NielsonThabiti AnyabwileElyse FitzpatrickCollin HansenFred SandersRosaria ButterfieldNancy Guthrie, and Matt Chandler.

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