Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Posts Tagged ‘Os Guinness

Lovely Day for a Guinness

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Os Guinness that is...

Justin Taylor has a wonderful little interview of Os Guinness, where he peppers him with insightful questions regarding on old book, The Gravedigger File (in anticipation for his forthcoming book The Last Christian on Earth).  For those not familiar with Guinness, he is the great-great-great grandson of Arthur Guinness, brewer and founder of Guinness beer.  He is a keen analyzer of evangelicalism and a necessary read for developing both a Christian worldview and philosophy of ministry.  He is well-travelled, well thought out, cogent, and prescient in his thinking.  1983’s Gravedigger put forth the idea that Christianity was the major force behind modernization and capitalism in the West and what Christianity created it also uncritically adopted, thereby undermining Christianity.  Undoubtedly true.

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Top 15 Books on Status of American Evangelicalism

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No Place for Truth by David Wells

These books represent the best analysis on the present status and recent history of evangelicalism.  This list is meant to be informative and not to be alarmist or disconcerting.  I think the classic Dicken’s line, ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times‘ will apply the Christ’s church til He return.  It is implicit also in this list that works commending a Christian worldview, like Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth, are must reads.  I have also omitted more esoteric debates including books on open theism, federal vision, new perspectives on paul… etc.  The purpose of this list is zoomed out than those specific issues.

1.  No Place for Truth by David Wells  [e, p, s]

How modernity crept in and screwed up evangelicalism.  Absolute classic.

2.  The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll  [y, l, e, p, s]

The scandal of the evangelical mind is that it is so scarce and scant.  You may also want to read Os Guinness’ Fit Bodies Fat Minds, addressing evangelicalism’s intellectual laziness and preoccupation with the temporary.

3.  The Democritization of American Christianity by Nathan Hatch  [e, p, s]

Fascinating analysis of the democritization of Christianity in America.  His historical analysis is keen and well-researched.

4.  Christianity and Liberalism by J. Greshem Machen  [e, p, s]

This classic work delineates the liberalism of the early 20th century as being a completely other faith than the historic orthodox Christian faith.  86 years later it is still relevant.

5.  God in the Wasteland by David Wells  [e, p, s]

Wells continues where he left off in No Place for Truth, by challenging evidenced consumerism in evangelicalism.

6.  The Courage to Be Protestant by David Wells  [e, p, s]

The title is a play on Paul Tillich’s The Courage to Be.  Tillich’s work was a classic in early 20th century Protestant liberalism.  Wells draws connections between the emergent movement as really being a form of rehashed 20th century era liberalism.  Wells is also scathing on the level and abuse of marketing in modern evangelicalism.  As far as Wells goes, his Above All Earthly Pow’rs s also a worthwhile read:  in terms of analysis Pow’rs is to post-modernity what No Place for Truth was to modernity.

7.  The New Shape of World Christianity:  How American Experience Reflects Global Faith by Mark Noll  [e, p, s]

I am surprised by the lack of press for this book.  Noll examines the history of Christianity in America and draws parallels in key growth areas (Southern hemisphere and the East).  Noll is actually rather positive amid the torrent of bad press on what American Christians are exporting.  This is an important work because we are good to be reminded that American evangelicalism is not the height of church history.  Further, the church is Christ’s and she will prevail.  I think Noll has his fingers on the pulse of what is going on and what is next, we would be wise to listen to what he has to say.

8.  Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism by George Marsden  [e, p, s]

This is a must read if you seek to understand our history.  Also an important work is Revival and Revivalism by Iain Murray.

9.  Reclaiming the Center:  Confronting Evangelical Accomodation to Postmodern Times by Various Authors  [y, l, e, p, s]

Various heavyweights chime in on the necessity of remaining faithful to the preaching of the Word and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If you like this work, I suggest also Os Guinness’, Prophetic Untimeliness:  Challenging the Idol of Relevance.

10.  Christless Christianity by Michael Horton  [y, l, e, p, s]

This books has caused a bit of a stir.  You can read John Frame’s book review here.  I have yet to read the book, but I thought it a worthwhile mention to engage in present dialogue over the status of the Gospel in evangelicalism.  From what I gather, Horton has guys like Joel Osteen in view when he speaks of a Christianity without Christ.

11.  Young, Restless, and Reformed by Colin Hansen  [y, l, e, p, s]

This book is an important first look at the growing demographic of young Reformed folk.  This is an area that needs further analysis and hopefully a good work will come soon.

12.  Respectable Sins:  Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges  [y, l, e, p, s]

Bridges is 100% right when he highlights several sins that evangelicals strangely tolerate:  gossip, anger, pride, jealousy, anxiety, and selfishness to name a few.

13.  Why Johnny Can’t Preach:  The Media Have Shaped the Messengers by T. David Gordon  [e, p, s]

Gordon applies Marshall McLuhan’s keen insights to shed light on the dearth of serious bible teaching in evangelicalism.

14.  Confessions of a Reformission Rev by Mark Driscoll  [y, l, e, p, s]

I think Mark Driscoll is a very important voice in evangelicalism, moreso than many of my fellow Reformed brethren.  This book is a humorous yet insightful look into the story of the planting of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  There are many lessons weaved into the narrative that are wise and memorable.

15.  Why We’re Not Emergent:  From Two Guys That Should Be and Why We Love the Church:  In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck  [y, l, e, p, s]

The first book is a solid book on the emergent church.  I also wanted to end this list with on a positive note with Why We Love the Church.  Many times we can get so bogged down in self-criticism that we forget to praise God for all the truly good things he is doing in and through the church in America.

What we need is always adherence to the same three things:  orthodoxy, orthopathos, and orthopraxis.

(c=children; y=young adult; l=lay leader; e=elder; p=pastor; s=scholar)

Top 10 Books on the Church

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The Church by Edmund Clowney

1.  The Church by Edmund Clowney

Hands down the best book examining the theology of the church.

2.  No Place for Truth by David Wells

A classic analyzing blow-by-blow how evangelicalism got intertwined with modernity.  If you like this book, I would also suggest his books, God in the Wasteland and The Courage to Be Protestant.

3.  Christ and Culture by H. Richard Niebuhr

In this classic, Niebuhr examines five different relationships the church may have to culture/world.  I would also commend two books that examine this book:  D.A. Carson’s, Christ and Culture Revisited and Craig Carter’s, Rethinking Christ and Culture.

4.  Deliberate Church by Mark Dever

Dever gives a thorough look at the structure and justification for all aspects of Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

5.  Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever

This book has saved me from unhealthy churches for 10 years now (thanks John B.).

6.  Worship in Spirit and Truth by John Frame

Frame gives a thorough, balanced, and palatable defense of the regulative principle.

7.  The Safest Place on Earth by Larry Crabb

The church (and Christian community) is/are meant to be the safest place on earth.  Sadly, this is often not only not the case, but the church can be the least safe place on earth.  Crabb discourages a legalistic culture within the church and encourages gracious, authentic, and vulnerable community.

8.  Confessions of a Reformission Rev by Mark Driscoll

A hilarious look at the lesson Mark Driscoll learned while planting Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

9.  Prophetic Untimeliness:  A Challenge to the Idol of Relevance by Os Guinness

A needed critique for over-contextualizers who would sacrifice the Gospel in order to be cool.

10.  Missional Church by Darrell Guder (ed.)

This book is a good introduction to the ideas and practices of the missional church movement.  Its hard to believe this book is over 10 years old.

Update:  Highly Recommended

The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne

See reviews here, here and here.  Looks like a worthwhile read.

Top 10 Devotional Classics

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J.C. Ryle: Bishop of Liverpool

1.  Holiness by J.C. Ryle  [y, l, e, p, s]

Put your helmet and pads on because you are gonna get trucked.  This is probably the most convicting book I have ever read.  I got to visit Ryle’s grave in Liverpool, England, he was very tall and had a large beard.

2.  Pensees by Blaise Pascal  [y, l, e, p, s]

Most do not think of Pensees as a devotional work.  I do.  Read it slow and meditate, it will warm your soul.

3.  Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer  [c, y, l, e, p, s]

Chapters 1-3 alone are worth the price of the book.  Tozer wrote this one night on a train ride!  He gets at the root of sin.

4.  Pursuit of Man by A.W. Tozer  [y, l, e, p, s]

Almost no one has read this gem.  In my view it is almost as good as Pursuit of God and better than Knowledge of the Holy.

5.  Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards  [y, l, e, p, s]

Edwards makes sense of our emotion and affection for God.  He was also instrumental in reuniting the Presbyterians who were divided on what to think about the First Great Awakening.

6.  Desiring God by John Piper  [y, l, e, p, s]

This book can be slow and awkward at times but it is well worth the read.  He defines and defends the idea of Christian Hedonism, borrowing heavily from Jonathan Edwards and #5 on this list.

7.  Devotional Classics by Foster and Smith  [c, y, l, e, p, s]

This book is on this list for the wide variety of authors/traditions you get to read over the course of church history.

8.  The Call by Os Guinness  [y, l, e, p, s]

Guinness covers systematically God’s calling on the Christian and employs several vignettes into the lives of wonderful Christians through church history.

9.  Knowing God by J.I. Packer  [c, y, l, e, p, s]

Packer has written a wonderful look at the attributes of God.  If you enjoy this one check out also Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer and The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink

10.  Puritan Paperbacks by Various:  Most notably – The Christians Great Interest, The Valley of Vision, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, Doctrine of Repentance, All Loves Excelling, The Sinfulness of Sin, The Bruised Reed, The Mortification of Sin, and Guide to Christ.  Entire set can be found at monergism books.  [y, l, e, p, s]

The Puritans are a treasure chest of wisdom and keen insight on the human condition.  They require patience to read but can be very rewarding.

(c=children; y=young adult; l=lay leader; e=elder; p=pastor; s=scholar)

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