Â Â Â Â Â In the grand scheme of things in the CCO
calendar, the whole universe revolves around our divinely-appointed schedule,
doesn’t it? We fast approach the liturgical season of RSVP. For any non-CCO
staff peeking over somebody’s shoulder reading this, RSVP is in-house
short-hand for a very seeker-sensitive evangelistic weekend retreat where
issues of life: sexual abuse, the meaning of work, dating and the like, are
frankly discussed as a way to raise questions of ultimate concern. In other
words, there is little overt “Christian lingo” or heavy Bible
preaching. [Note to CCO staff: remind your sometimes overly earnest disciples
that this is about integral, relational, contextualized worldviewish
evangelism; no big ol’ black leather Bibles or “This Blood’s for You”
the Spirit which calls people to their Creator, we can expect incredibly
meaningful conversations and a harvest of the newly-redeemed. For folks to
understand the gift of salvation, though, sometimes takes a while; while we
should always be eager to press for that marvelous once-in-a-lifetime
confession of sin and profession of faith, often we must nurture the journey
with good talks, careful listening and reading a few books together. Here,
then, is a list of good books for seekers (those interested in learning more
about the faith) or for those questioning the existence of God and the
truthfulness of the claims of Christ. Actually, this is only part one of the
list. Look for additional suggestions in an upcoming Ministry Exchange,
including some selections that might be a little more, uh, a bit more
surprising. May we use these books, learn from them, pass them around so that
true seekers would learn that the gospel can stand up to any of their
questions, and that Jesus the Christ can free them to live a Kingdom life of
meaning, depth, and purpose.
(Tyndale), $10.99. A standard apologetics approach, responding to tough
questions; the cover is nice and the writing very nicely done. The writer
teaches at Wheaton and is well acquainted with the questions of students.
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel (Zondervan), $14.99. Strobel (now at
Willow Creek) was an atheist journalist who set out to disprove the claims of
Christ – and, you guessed it. He became a believer. This is a compilation he
put together (with the help of some heavyweight Bible scholars) examining the
historical N.T. documents, the reliability of the Bible, the relevance of
Jesus, etc., etc. I’ve found that students love this one, even though it is
fairly rigorous. 7 Myths about Christianity by Dale & Sandy Larsen
(IVP), $9.99. Responds nicely to the charges that Christianity is arrogant,
suppresses women, destroys native cultures, forces its morality on others,
etcetera. I think this is especially good in the PC environment of collegiate
God by C. Stephen Evans (Eerdmans), $13. A great book, very well-written,
although perhaps a touch too philosophical for some. Still, highly, highly
recommended. The Journey: A Spiritual Roadmap for Modern Pilgrims by
Peter Kreeft (IVP), $9.99. Written as a novel where the delightful seeker goes
through a journey meeting Socrates and others (a materialist, a skeptic, a
nihilist, a pantheist, a Jew, etc.) until finally growing in his insight to
meet Christ. Nice, not unlike Lewis at times. I wonder how many people are
really this interested in a serious pursuit of truth. The Best Things in
Life by Peter Kreeft (IVP), $11.99. A 20th Century Socrates looks at Power,
Pleasure, Truth and the Good Life. Written as a series of dialogues, Socrates
confronts Peter Pragma and Felicia Flake on the campus of Desperate State.
How Do I Get To Know God? by D. James Kennedy (Revell), $9.99. Explains
doctrinal concerns like how Christ makes a way to God, what is saving faith,
what assurances do Christians have, etc. A helpful companion volume is What
is God Like?, where short chapters look at the existence and nature of God.
Searching Issues, Questions of Life and A Life Worth
Living by Nicky Gumbel (Alpha), $9.99 each. Gumbel is an evangelist in
England and is all the rage in evangelical Episcopal churches where his videos
are being shown. The first book (Searching Issues) tackles objections to the
faith while the second (Questions) is a practical introduction to Christianity.
The last (A Life Worth Living) has practical insights for living the life of
faith. Very user-friendly, good for new believers or young Christians, too.
Atheism by Ravi Zacharias (Baker), $12.99. Ravi is, obviously, quite the
intellect, and this is a must for serious atheists. Finding Faith: A
Self-Discovery Guide for Your Spiritual Quest by Brian McLaren (Zondervan),
$17.99. A very handsome hardback, this is a gem of a book! Walks the interested
seeker through a process of discovering credible faith. Fantastic! The author
is a church-planter and attuned to postmodern issues and styles. Life. Any
Questions? by Greg Laurie (Word), $15.99. Subtitled “Finding Spiritual
Meaning on the Fast Track,” this is a fantastic, brief presentation of the
gospel for modern seekers. Very practical, responding to life issues of
emptiness, fear, goals, meaning. Written by a powerful, young evangelist.
What Angels Wish They Knew: The Basics of True Christianity by Alistair
Begg (Moody), $16.99. A great little conversation (the first chapter is called
“Mocha, Biscotti and the Search for Meaning”) aimed particularly at
the Starbucks crowd. Despite the cryptic title, this is a great example of
making reformed essentials relevant to seekers. What Christians Really
Believe & Why by Stan Grenz (Westminster), $12. Sensitive to
worldviews, the quest for meaning and cultural trends like postmodernism and
new-age pop spirituality, this attempts to move beyond what often seem like
rather stale arguments over questions no one is asking anymore. Tremendous.
& Edward Boyd (Chariot), $11.99. A nicely-done hardback, a true selection
of letters from an adult son who has become a Christian back to his
nonbelieving father and his father’s thoughtful critiques. I’m Glad You
Asked by Ken Boa & Larry Moody (Victor), $10.99. In-depth answers to
difficult questions about Christianity. A Reasonable Faith: The Case for
Christianity in a Secular World by Tony Campolo (Word), $10.99. Not well-known,
this is a great book, although pretty philosophical. Partly Right by
Tony Campolo (Word), $10.99. Looks at the chief critics of Christianity that
students will hear about in college – Darwin, Freud, Marx, et al. He builds a
good bridge by saying that some of their critique of establishment religiosity
is, in fact, correct. Of course, they are only partly right. Very useful for
thoughtful students who tend to think along these lines. Jesus With Dirty
Feet by Don Everts (IVP) $4.99. A very small paperback written in extended
poetry style, which is a look at Christianity for the curious and skeptical.
More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell (Tyndale), $4.99. Still one of
the best little books to explore the claims of Christ. Clear and to the point.
The Unknown God: Searching for Spiritual Fulfillment by Alister McGrath
(Eerdmans), $18. Although McGrath is quite the reformed theologian, here he is
found quoting D.H. Lawrence, Plato’s Cave and numerous poets. Inside are nice
graphics and beautiful full-color pictures making it appealing to the eye.
Serious. A Search for the Spiritual: Exploring Real Christianity by
James Emery White (Baker), $9.99. Wisely claiming that people are more
interested in spiritual reality than propositional truth claims, this attempts
to present an apologetic more in tune with real needs, questions and hungers.
Still, it is hardly unusual, except an engaging style and an honesty that is
intentionally and overtly seeker-oriented.