In more spiritually formative years — and spiritual formation should be ongoing — there were several books I was encouraged to read which had a lasting effect. Many of these are now out of print, but I’ve included here things published in the last 40-50 years only. I have read some classics as well, especially Andrew Murray and A. W. Tozer. Glancing at my bookshelf, here’s what I came up with:
Less recently published
The Mind Changers – Emory Griffin – Compared the evangelism process to candle-making with three stages: Melt, mold, make hard. Was recommended at a conference.
Contemporary Christian Communication – James Engle – Central to this was a chart showing the spiritual formation process from pre-conversion to decision to post-decision.
The Translation Debate – Clark Glassman – From the perspective of a Bible translator this looks at the challenges faced on the mission field. Wish IVP could find a way to revise and update this.
Shout it From the Housetops – Pat Robertson – Not exactly a popular name with some people today, but this early bio challenged me as Pat and his wife Dede sacrificed a posh lifestyle to buy a rundown TV station.
Destined for the Throne – Paul Billheimer – This was the first doctrinal book I was encouraged to purchase in the two years I was attending a charismatic congregation. It was recently repackaged.
Flirting with the World – John White – Showed that it’s the inner life that matters, not the externals by which people might be judged.
The Pursuit of Holiness – Jerry Bridges – A wonderful companion read to the above title, this proved to be Bridges’ signature work.
Your God Is To Small – J. B. Phillips – Especially the first half, dealing with the false ideas people have about God. Should be required reading.
The Liberator and The Word on the Street – Rob Lacey – Written for street youth in Manchester, England this was the most extreme paraphrase I’d ever encountered.
The Jesus I Never Knew – Philip Yancey – Based on some well-made and badly-made films on the life of Christ, a look at shaping an accurate picture of Jesus.
Theology for Non-Theologians – James Cantelon – One of the first of many I would read in the theodicy genre.
More recently published
Radical – David Platt – A challenge to be aware of and consider giving time to the cause of third world missions.
Irresistible Revolution – Shane Claiborne – What happens when a young man takes the teaching in an Eastern College course seriously.
Mark and Luke – Michael Card – There are actually four gospels in the series, I read these two and on each page Card brings the narratives to life in a fresh way.
Jim and Caspar Go to Church – Jim Henderson – Our modern church scene through the eyes of an atheist.
The Shack – Wm. Paul Young – Love it or hate it you have to admit this started a ton of conversations about the nature of God and the place of Christian fiction.
Days of Elijah – R. T. Kendall – For an Old Testament study, Kendall brought a lot of Christ to the table in this look at key Bible figure.
Not a Fan – Kyle Idleman – A great “first book” for a new Christian; it is a good representation of the Christian Living genre previously typified by Lucado and Swindoll.
If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get out of the Boat – John Ortberg – Maybe it was because I read this concurrent with the video series; a great faith-builder.
There’s also the writers who brought significant elements to the discussion table; alternative thinkers like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren; church planters like Michael Frost and intellectuals like Greg Boyd.
I’m sure I could have listed this many again and I’ve left out somethings I would have wanted to include. The reviews on the blog are also books I recommend.
I’ll be away the day this publishes, so if you leave a comment and it gets caught in moderation, I’ll catch up to it eventually.