Here we go: my favorites from 2009. These are the Christian books that I enjoyed or benefited from the most. I don’t claim to have read every significant book (see next paragraph) or to have compiled a list of the most important books. But these are the ones I liked best. I’m sure the list reflects my particular interests, struggles, and situation in life.
It is worth mentioning that there are a number of books from the past year that I still hope to read. These couldn’t be included in the list because I haven’t finished them yet, but I’ve heard good things about them: Gospel-Powered Parenting by William Farely, Adopted for Life by Russell Moore, Calvin by F. Bruce Gordon, The Meaning of the Pentateuch by John Sailhamer, and Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh.
Without further ado, my Top Ten for 2009:
10. The Reason for Sports, Ted Kluck – Funny, entertaining, thought provoking. If you love sports you’ll love this book.
9. The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mindset that Changes Everything, Colin Marshall and Tony Payne – A plea for focusing on disciplemaking instead of program maintaining. The book is provocative without being reckless. There are lots of good reminders about what really matters in ministry. I think I’ll take our staff through this one.
8. Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters, Timothy Keller – A wise, insightful, and convicting (painfully so at times) look at the deceitfulness and destructiveness of sin. Keller’s writing is penetrating, yet easy to read. We need more Christian books like this one.
7. Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice, Brian Chapell – Makes a compelling historical and biblically-thematic case for a more purposeful and gospel-ordered worship service. This book is a wonderful resource for pastors and worship planners.
6. Finally Alive, John Piper – A robust and inspiring look at the doctrine of regeneration. Penetrating exegesis, pastoral sensitivity, and good writing. One of Piper’s best.
5. The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture, Scott Klusendorf – Superb field manual for responding to abortion choice arguments. Well-worth owning and studying.
4. Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism is the Solution and Not the Problem, Jay Richards – Accessible and informed. The most engaging, readable, and thoughtful Christian defense of capitalism I know of.
3. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself, Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert – Best book on helping the poor that I’ve read. Pastors, deacons, missions committees, any interested in helping the poor–you really must read this book.
2. Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers, T. David Gordon – There’s nothing like a good jeremiad. This one packs a necessary punch. Preachers and congregations will be stirred.
1. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, Paul Miller – One of the few books that I am already re-reading and will keep re-reading. Filled with wisdom, honesty, and hope. Christians wanting to grow in prayer will still be reading this book a generation from now.