Kevin Thompson’s Top Ten Books of 2012

The following list is my nominees for top books of 2012.  The qualifications for such a prestigious position are simple – I had to have read it, enjoyed it and found it somehow helpful or convicting.  These books are in no particular order.

Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchividjian

“In this world, one thing is certain: Everybody hurts. Suffering may take the form of tragedy, heartbreak, or addiction. Or it could be something more mundane (but no less real) like resentment, loneliness, or disappointment. But there’s unfortunately no such thing as a painless life. In Glorious Ruin, best-selling author Tullian Tchividjian takes an honest and refreshing look at the reality of suffering, the ways we tie ourselves in knots trying to deal with it, and the comfort of the gospel for those who can’t seem to fix themselves—or others.

This is not so much a book about Why God allows suffering or even How we should approach suffering—it is a book about the tremendously liberating and gloriously counterintuitive truth of a God who suffers with you and for you. It is a book, in other words, about the kind of hope that takes the shape of a cross.”

Bring Me the Book Review of Glorious Ruin.

Conviction to Lead, The: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters by Albert Mohler, Jr.

Leadership Principles from a Renowned Agent of Change

Cultures and organizations do not change without strong leadership. While many leadership books focus on management or
administration, the central focus of The Conviction to Lead is on changing minds.

Dr. Mohler was the driving force behind the transformation of Southern Seminary from a liberal institution of waning influence to a
thriving evangelical seminary at the heart of the Southern Baptist Convention. Since then he has been one of the most prominent voices in evangelicalism, fighting for Christian principles and challenging secular culture.

Using his own experiences and examples from history, Dr. Mohler demonstrates that real leadership is a transferring of conviction to others, affecting their actions, motivations, intuition, and commitment. This practical guide walks the reader through what a leader needs to know, do, and be in order to affect change.

Bring Me the Books Review Coming in January
Father Hunger: Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families by Douglas Wilson

Fatherlessness is a “rot that is eating away at the modern soul,” writes Douglas Wilson, and the problem goes far beyond physical absence. “Most of our families are starving for fathers, even if Dad is around, and there’s a huge cost to our children and our society because of it.” Father Hunger takes a thoughtful, timely, richly engaging excursion into our cultural chasm of absentee fatherhood. Blending leading-edge research with incisive analysis and real-life examples, Wilson:

Traces a range of societal ills―from poverty and crime to joyless feminism and paternalistic government expansion―to a vacuum of mature masculinity
Explains the key differences between asserting paternal authority and reestablishing true spiritual fathering
Uncovers the corporate-fulfillment fallacy and other mistaken assumptions that undermine fatherhood
Extols the benefits of restoring fruitful fathering, from stronger marriages to greater economic liberty
Filled with practical ideas and self-evaluation tools, Father Hunger both encourages and challenges men to “embrace the high calling of fatherhood,” becoming the dads that their families and our culture so desperately need them to be.

“Wilson sounds a clarion call among Christian men that is pointedly biblical, urgently relevant, humorously accessible, and practically wise.” ―Richard D. Phillips, author of The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men

“Father Hunger illulstrates one of the greatest influences or lack thereof on the identity of a man: a father. Read a book that will strike an invisible chord in the lives of men both lost and found.” ―Dr. Eric Mason, pastor of Epiphany Fellowship, Philadelphia

Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith by Larry Osborne

Zealous faith can have a dangerous, dark side. While recent calls for radical Christians have challenged many to be more passionate about their faith, the down side can be a budding arrogance and self-righteousness that ‘accidentally’ sneaks into our outlook. In Accidental Pharisees, bestselling author Larry Osborne diagnoses nine of the most common traps that can ensnare Christians on the road to a deeper life of faith. Rejecting attempts to turn the call to follow Christ into a new form of legalism, he shows readers how to avoid the temptations of pride, exclusivity, legalism, and hypocrisy, Larry reminds us that attempts to fan the flames of full-on discipleship and call people to Christlikeness should be rooted in love and humility. Christians stirred by calls to radical discipleship, but unsure how to respond, will be challenged and encouraged to develop a truly Christlike zeal for God.

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler and Jared C. Wilson

Even if you go to church, it doesn’t mean that you are being exposed (or exposing others) to the gospel explicitly. Sure, most people talk about Jesus, and about being good and avoiding bad, but the gospel message simply isn’t there—at least not in its specificity and its fullness.

Inspired by the needs of both the overchurched and the unchurched, and bolstered by the common neglect of the explicit gospel within Christianity, popular pastor Matt Chandler writes this punchy treatise to remind us what is of first and utmost importance—the gospel.

Here is a call to true Christianity, to know the gospel explicitly, and to unite the church on the amazing grounds of the good news of Jesus!

VIDEO: To see the video of Matt speaking on The Explicit Gospel Tour, please visit Crossway’s vimeo page here: https://vimeo.com/41100864

Traditional TheologyAnd the SBC:  An Interaction with And Response to The Traditionalist Statement Of God’s Plan of Salvation By Tom Ascol

This is Tom Ascol’s response to the recent anti-Calvinist The Traditionalist Statement Of God’s Plan of Salvation – a document published by some within the Southern Baptist Convention and signed by such men as Ergun Caner and Jerry Vines.

I found this book to be incredibly insightful not concerning the debate within the Southern Baptist Convention but also insightful concerning the doctrines of grace in general.

The Life of God in the Soul of the Church: The Root and Fruit of Spiritual Fellowship by Thabiti Anyabwile

In this transformational book, trusted pastor Thabiti Anyabwile repositions our thinking about spiritual fellowship. Extending the concept of Divine life presented in Henry Scougal’s classic The Life of God in the Soul of Man, Anyabwile contends that union with Christ is not individualistic, but is discerned in the soul of the local church. This vision of spiritual fellowship is not centered on external activities and programs, but on our shared life in Christ.

Listen to my interview with Pastor Thabiti about this book.
The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness by Kevin DeYoung

The hole in our holiness is that we don’t seem to care much about holiness. Or, at the very least, we don’t understand it. And we all have our reasons too: Maybe the pursuit of holiness seems legalistic. Maybe it feels like one more thing to worry about in your already overwhelming life. Maybe the emphasis on effort in the Christian life appears unspiritual. Or maybe you’ve been trying really hard to be holy and it’s just not working! Whatever the case, the problem is clear: too few Christians look like Christ and too many don’t seem all that concerned about it.

This is a book for those of us who are ready to take holiness seriously, ready to be more like Jesus, ready to live in light of the grace that produces godliness. This is a book about God’s power to help us grow in personal holiness and to enjoy the process of transformation.

The Church: The Gospel Made Visible by Mark Dever

Christians face lots of practical questions when it comes to life in the local church: How is the gospel displayed in our lives together? What are we supposed to do and believe? Different followers answer differently—even as they preach the same gospel! What should we think about such differences?

A church’s life, doctrine, worship, and even polity are important issues. Yet they are so rarely addressed. The Church is Mark Dever’s primer on the doctrine of the church for all who see Scripture alone as a sufficient authority for the doctrine and life of the local church. He explains to the reader what the Bible says about the nature and purpose of the church— what it is, what it’s for, what it does.

Indeed, Scripture teaches us about all of life and doctrine, including how we should assemble for corporate worship and how we’re to organize our corporate life together. God has revealed himself by his Word. He is speak- ing to us, preparing us to represent him today, and to see him tomorrow! A congregation of regenerate members, fulfilling the responsibilities given to us by Christ himself in his Word, regularly meeting together, led by a body of godly elders, is the picture God has given us in his Word of his church.

Fundamental Flaws: Seven Things Independent Fundamental Baptists Get Wrong (And How to Fix Them) by Darrell Dow

For years people who have read the satire and parody on the Stuff Fundies Like blog have asked for someone write a companion that not only points out the problems in Baptist Fundamentalism but also provides solutions. Fundamental Flaws strives to look not only the negatives that are so easily found in these fundamentalist churches but also to point to a better way.

Those who are long time readers of the blog will find some familiar material in this book as well as some newly written sections to address the seven key areas of church, standards, education, sex, missions, history, and authority.

This book does not attempt to be exhaustive in its approach to any of these topics but provides a solid starting place for an ongoing conversation that is vital to the spiritual health of those both in fundamentalism and those who have recently departed from it.

Listen to my interview with Darrell concerning the book.

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