As you can tell, I love books. I love to read them and recommend them. I also love to hear what books other people have been reading. Recently, I asked some of my friends to recommend a few books in a couple different categories.

Good “Sacred and Secular” Books

I asked Thabiti Anyabwile, David Platt, and Matt Chandler for (1) a really good Christian book they read in 2011 and would recommend Christians read, and (2) a fun non-Christian book they read this past year.

Thabiti chose Sam Storms’ book on election, Chosen for Life.  He said, “I’m thinking this is my new favorite to recommend or give away for people thinking through this issue. Chosen for Life is clean, exegetical, weaves in a little history and biography (Arminius, Calvin, and Edwards), and treats Arminianism charitably but critically. Great read.” For his other book Thabit is recommended The Help. “The Help was great. Took me back to some things I haven’t thought about in a long time.”

David decided to bend the rules and pick two books in each category.

On a devotional level, in preparation for an upcoming book on disciple-making, I re-read The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman. It’s simply one of the most influential books I have ever read, and one that I would recommend any Christian to read. On a more technical level, I was immensely blessed by Daniel Heimbach’s True Sexual Morality: Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crisis. Heimbach’s work is a potent, thorough examination of biblical manhood and womanhood that I hope many Christians and especially church leaders will devour.

As for non-Christian books:

On a historical level, I particularly enjoyed a readable, informative, concise, and entertaining biography of Winston Churchill by Paul Johnson entitled Churchill. On a more personal (and pleasurable) level, I read George Will’s book from the 90’s (recently reprinted) on baseball called Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball. Mind-boggling to consider how a baseball player has four-tenths of a second to see a small round ball coming toward him at 90-plus miles per hour and decide when, where, and how he wants to hit it.

Matt recommended God, Marriage and Family by Andreas Köstenberger and The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.

Good Books for Political Junkies

With an election year coming up in the U.S. I decided to ask three other friends (with different political persuasions) for books Christians should read as they think about politics.

Collin Hansen mentioned four books:

Carl Trueman highlighted three choices:

And finally, here are three more recommendations from Sam Storms:

Personally, I think Thomas Sowell’s Conflict of Visions is singularly helpful in trying to understand the political debates in the West. Sowell is a conservative, but he doesn’t take sides in this book. He simply (and clearly) tries to explain how different sides can view the same issues so differently. On economic issues, Ron Sider is a well-respected thoughtful voice from the left worth reading. Michael Novak and Jay Richards would provide a counter-balancing Christian perspective from the right.