Best Books of 2010: A Baker’s Dozen

This is without a doubt the most time consuming blog post of the year. You have to read a lot of books to be able to pick some of the best! But this is also one of my favorite posts of the year; it’s like revisiting new friends.

This year I’ve chosen a baker’s dozen of the best books of 2010. There is nothing scientific or comprehensive about this list. These are simply my favorite books–Christian and secular–from the past year. Favorite means I learned something, I enjoyed reading them, and have already recommended them to others. Obviously, I may not agree with every point in every book, nor am I recommending everything the author has ever written.

Enough with the introduction, here is my list of the Best Books of 2010.

13. Bradley R.E. Wright. Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told (Bethany House)

Bad stats and misused data are pet peeves of mine. This book mercifully exposes some of both.

12. Victor Davis Hanson. The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern (Bloomsbury Press)

Maybe it was because I knew so little about most subjects in the book that I found it all extremely fascinating.

11. Timothy Z. Witmer. The Shepherd Leader: Achieving Effective Shepherding in Your Church (P&R Publishing)

Every elder board should read this book and implement at least some of its advice.

10. Sam Storms and Justin Taylor, eds. For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper (Crossway)

Fantastic contributions by Carson, Mahaney, Powlison and others. Plus, I’ll never forget being in Minneapolis, sitting by C.J. in the third row, as Sam and Justin surprised Piper with this book. Like many others, I shed some tears that day.

9. William Powers. Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age (Harper)

One of the most convicting things I read all year.

8. Larry Osborne. Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page (Zondervan)

There is a lot of wisdom here. Funny too.

7. James Davison Hunter. To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World (Oxford University Press)

Not a perfect book, but Hunter’s emphasis on institutions, his critique on Christian political engagement, and his term “faithful presence” might be game-changers.

6. Fred Zaspel. The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary (Crossway)

Do you wish Warfield had written a systematic theology? Now he has. I found the sections on evolution and miraculous gifts especially illuminating.

5. Robert Plummer. 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible (Kregel)

Clear, readable, engaging, informative. Use it in your church.

4. Tom Schreiner. 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law (Kregel)

Same as above. This is looking like a great series.

3. Peter J. Leithart. Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom (IVP Academic)

If you’ve ever blamed Constantine for anything (or everything!) you should read this book. Leithart makes a plausible case that though he was a flawed egoist (and probably more flawed than Leithart lets on), Constantine was a genuine Christian whose legacy has been distorted by Hauerwas, Yoder, and almost everybody else who’s decried “Christendom” in recent years.

2. Robert Letham. The Westminster Assembly: Reading its Theology in Historical Context (P&R Publishing)

Makes good use of Chad Van Dixhoorn’s massive research on the minutes of the Assembly. Letham is one of my favorite living theologians. This book was more interesting than you might think. Give it a shot (especially if you’re Presbyterian).

1. Paul Johnson. Churchill (Viking)

A great book by a great writer about a great man. The last six pages contain more practical wisdom than you normally find in six books.