If I am not reading classic fiction, chances are I am reading Christian nonfiction. I gobble up apologetics, theology, and any other genre that offers worthwhile insight into the greatest Book.
But the best Christian nonfiction, let me add, does not lie in the self-help section of your local Barnes & Noble. If you want to find a book that is sound in doctrine, mature in your walk, and are willing to have your heart’s black spots torn out, you have to look harder than what the secular world wants to give you—because the best Christian books are not sought out of want for self-affirmation. They are sought out from a desperation for God’s truth.
God’s truth, of course, is found only in the Bible; I am not trying to say that other books will satisfy. What I do know is that, in studying the insights of those believers before us and tying what they say to what God has spoken, we will live in a richer understanding of God’s world, man’s nature, and Christ’s atonement.
This is a start for your search.
The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton— Gilbert Keith Chesterton is one of my favorite apologeticists—and also one of the wittiest. But his writing style aside, this book contains the deepest, most satisfying theology I’ve read. Although he was a staunch Catholic believer (I agree to disagree with some of the things he said about the Virgin Mary, for instance), Chesterton presents beautiful defenses of Christianity’s foundations. This book, though sometimes hard to follow because of its author’s sheer brilliance, is also somewhat monumental from a Christian historical perspective, as it was crucial to C.S. Lewis’ conversion (a fact I previously mentioned here).
The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer— I received this as a gift from a homeschool convention I attended last year, and I have no doubt that it was a direct work of God. This book…how shall I say?…acts as a counselor for my faith, always pointing me to the pursuit of Who matters most.
“[W]ithin the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.” ~The Pursuit of God, “Preface”
The Pursuit of God did not satisfy my thirst, I am happy to say—it actually thrust my thirst more at the level of “unquenchable.”
The Story of Reality by Gregory Koukl— In one of the book’s featured testimonials, Frank Turek compares Koukl’s book to Mere Christianity. I cannot think of any other way to describe what Koukl did here. If you look at the back cover, it sounds simple enough:
In The Story of Reality, bestselling author Gregory Koukl unpacks the story of our world through a wide-angle lens, introducing you to some of the most important questions every person must ask about life, death, the evil in this world, and why we are here. This is the story of the Bible told through five simple and easy-to-remember words: God, Man, Jesus, Cross, and Resurrection. These five words capture the meaning of our humanity and of all human history from beginning to end.
Yet, as I have found, this book is far from simple. I opened it out of curiosity (my father’s a fan of Koukl) and was not expecting anything new; I closed it horror-stricken that I had thought it would not be worthwhile. It’s that wonderful, and, as J. Warner Wallace once said, it is “a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Christianity.”
Though The Everlasting Man, The Pursuit of God, and The Story of Reality are excellent books to accompany your spiritual walk, please remember to keep your eyes on the One of whom they are speaking. As Deuteronomy 5:32 (NKJV) warns,
“Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.”
Carry on in your faith, steady in the straight path, and always be ready to pick up some good books:)
January 27, 2018