Alas, finals week is creeping into view and my various once-neglected assignments along with it. This semester has carried with it much more than I had once anticipated but I am happy to have been put through it. Still, studying for finals is studying for finals regardless of whether it’s as an undergraduate or as a seminarian—the expectations are still the same, if not greater. Yet if I can find any reprieve from the impending weeks, if only for a moment, it’s in thinking about winter break and the joys of reading without obligation. So I’ve compiled a list of books that I plan to read, to enjoy, this upcoming break as a means of encouragement. Hopefully this list, though not exhaustive, will help you consider how you will be spending your time this winter season as well.
“Zack Eswine starts this unique pastoral resource with a captivating question: Could I now reach who I once was? Challenging the idea that today’s preachers must do away with biblical or expository preaching if they are to reach non-Christian people, Eswine offers a way of preaching that embraces biblical exposition in missional terms. Recognizing all of the different cultural situations in which the gospel must be preached, he gives preachers practical advice on preaching in a global context while remaining faithful to the Bible. Pastors, seminarians, and church and ministry leaders who speak in various contexts will welcome this fresh, thoughtful examination of bringing the Word to today’s multi-everything, post-everything world.”
“At its core this book is about everything seminary and academics never taught us about preaching. Professors don’t produce preachers. Preachers are hewn out of the rough granite of experience and time. I had the privilege of sitting down with some of the most notable preachers of our day and pilfering their hard-earned wisdom and insights. Well-Driven Nails is an accounting of what I learned from these true “professors” of the craft. But, it is also more than a book on preaching. It’s about a journey every preacher must take if he is to be a fearless proclaimer of Christ in a room full of critics. It is about finding one’s own voice. In this sense it also applies to everyone who struggles to overcome the fear of man in their devotion to Christ.”
Considered the 20th century’s foremost historian of Christian thought, Pelikan charts the development of doctrine within Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Christianity from the second century to modern day. Hailed by Alister McGrath as “the best one-stop introduction,” this magesterial series is an indispensable resource for serious students of theology. 1840 pages total in the five volume set from the University of Chicago.
Other books (not recommended):
The Next Christian: The Good News About the End of Christian America by Gabe Lyons
This book, handed to me by the publisher, is not recommended. It’s just a book I have to read and review, so I will be reading this book during winter break. However, from what I’ve read so far, it’s not quite as biblically and doctrinally sound as I would like; in other words, Lyons has the correct description of current nominal Christianity, but an incorrect prescription about possible solutions thus far. I’m not done with the book yet, but I will let you know how it goes.
For all those who are looking for a light read this winter break, I will be finishing this fictional novel by Colum McCann. I started this book a long time ago but was unable to finish it. Hopefully I’ll be able to polish off this book during winter break, just as a light read to balance out my literary diet. Also, if you’re looking for a fiction book to kick back and read, consider Rich Boy by Sharon Pomerantz or Rain of Gold (one of my all-time favorites) by Victor Villasenor. Happy reading!