Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture edited by Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert (published by B&H Academic, 2015). Last year, in 2014, I attended my first ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) Conference. One of the books being recommended in a number of seminars was this one. What has made this book most formative in my thinking is getting to see basic Scriptural truth being applied to highly complex and diverse counseling situations. Reading the book has given me even greater confidence that the Scriptures truly are all we need as Christians for helping others navigate through their problems. As an elder (and/or pastor), resources like this one will be used over and over in my ministry and my only regret is not locating it earlier in my life.
The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande (published by Baker Books, 2004). Conflict is inevitable because of sin. Conflict will occur with church leaders; conflict will come with your spouse; conflict happens with your children; conflict is around with your close friends. Conflict, conflict, conflict. If ever there was a book that would equip us how to handle conflict biblically? If only there was a resource that would equip us how to patiently work through conflict in a reasonable and patient manner? Oh wait, there is such a book! This one! If you are a Christian, you need to read this book. It will benefit you in countless ways with it’s insight into resolving all forms of conflict and doing that in a godly way.
Who is Jesus? By Greg Gilbert (published by Crossway Books, 2015). We gave a copy of this book to all of our guests at Wichita Bible Church on Easter Sunday this year. I enjoyed it’s simplicity and clarity on the nature and work of Christ so much that I had to keep a copy for myself. There are certainly more in-depth books in Christology, but I won’t be recommending many before this one. Gilbert does a tremendous job introducing Jesus in a clear way to his readers: including why He came, where He came from, what He came to do, and what He taught when He was here. The book can be an excellent tool for any phase of discipleship or even as a resource to introduce non-Christians to Jesus Christ. This book may be short, but it is sweet.
The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible by B.B. Warfield (published by P&R Publishing, 1980). Somewhere in Tulsa, OK my dad is reading this post and saying, “What? You hadn’t read this book yet?” My dad has always been a great example of knowing and encouraging older books. And I know for sure that he has recommend I read Warfield … and I finally have. Warfield is an author I started reading more of a few years ago and I know of no better defender of Scriptural authority, sufficiency and inerrancy than him. This book is his magnum opus in bibliology. It is thorough in it’s treatment of what Scripture is and it will exhaust you in a good way with the weight of Scripture’s importance. If you read this book, and you should, prepare to read it slower than most books. There is much to digest
Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1991) by Iain Murray (published by Banner of Truth, 2013). This is not the 2-volume work Murray also has available on the life of Lloyd-Jones, but I would recommend this one above the other for the following reason: it trims out a lot of needless information that most readers won’t be interested in (e.g., church meeting conversations). Because I love biographies, I raced through this one. When you make a list of biographies to read, make sure this book about this English pastor of Westminster Chapel in London, England from the last century gets on your list. So many modern-day expositors (and I am one of them) are indebted to this man’s influence and example as a preacher of God’s Word.
Heaven (Theology in Community) edited by Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson (published by Crossway Books, 2014). When I saw this book was available by these two men, I had to have it. I benefitted so much from their book on hell, and I hoped their book on heaven was equally formative. And it was. I used to recommend Randy Alcorn’s book on heaven as the best resource regarding our eternal home, but this book will now get my 1st nod on that subject. Not only is this book a biblical treatment of heaven, but it is rightfully cautious about turning speculation about what heaven could be like into truth. It is rigidly biblical and not full of fantasy. You will see every passage that refers to heaven cited and/or explained in this book. It is a systematic theology of the eternal state.
The Daring Mission of William Tyndale (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile) by Steven Lawson (published by Reformation Trust Publishing, 2015). The one book I read this year that emotionally “got to me” is this one. Tyndale is the translator of the English Bible. His perseverance in fleeing persecution to get the Bible translated into our language was heroic. And Tyndale gave his life for this cause. If you love Christian biographies, you need to read this book to learn about the story of how the Bible came to you in your language. By the way, Lawson has a whole series of books (e.g., John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, John Knox, Jonathan Edwards, Isaac Watts, George Whitefield, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Owen, etc.) he has been writing on figures in church history and they are all excellent.
Putting Your Past in It’s Place: Moving Forward in Freedom and Forgiveness by Stephen Viars (published by Harvest House Publishers, 2011). For a few years, I have been pleading with the Lord to provide a resource to assist me in my counseling of men and women who struggle with fear, anxiety, depression, and dealing with past traumatic events. This is that answer to prayer. The author uses the analogy of four buckets that everyone can identify with: reacting well to an event in which you were innocent (Bucket #1), reacting poorly to an event in which you were innocent (Bucket #2), reacting well to an event in which you were guilty (Bucket #3), and reacting poorly to an event in which you were guiltily (Bucket #4). He gives practical and biblical wisdom for each person who can identify with one of those “buckets.” Biblical counselors especially need to have this book on their shelves. When you read it, you will discover yourself referring to it and recommending it often.
In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture edited by Steven B. Cowan and Terry L. Wilder (published by B&H Academic, 2013). I received this book when I attended the Inerrancy Summit at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA earlier in 2015. Because the Bible is constantly under attack, the subject of defending the Bible is always relevant. And this book promises to better equip you to engage in that battle. Some of the contributing authors are Walter Kaiser, Daniel Wallace, Paul W. Barnett, Jr., Paul Copan, James M. Hamilton, Craig L. Blaising, and Darrell L. Block.
Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards’s ‘Religious Affections’ by Sam Storms (published by Crossway Books, 2007). What Justin Taylor and Kelly Kapic did for John Owen’s Overcoming Sin and Temptation, Sam Storms seeks to do something similar for Jonathan Edwards Religious Affections. While Storms book serves more like an adaptation of Edwards Affections, it also serves as a commentary for the modern reader who hasn’t been privy to the older English commonly used in Edwards day. I was genuinely sad to have this book come to an end. I thoroughly enjoyed Storms’ faithful analysis and explanation of one of the most important books written in church history. If you ever wanted to read Religious Affections, but found it lexically challenging, read this book by Storms and he will most certainly whet your appetite for the real thing.