C.S. Lewis Institute Fellows Reading List

There are a handful of great organizations that have allowed us to be their book providers.  As most of you know, we often go out on the road, setting up displays, taking the titles to town, selling them to the groups that are kind enough to allow us space.  We do this with denominational groups and para-church ministries.

A few organizations have us listed at their websites, encouraging their patrons to order resources through us.  It is a joy when someone says they saw our link at The Simple Way or Cardus, Square Halo Press or  Burnside Writer’s Collective, The Washington Institute of Faith, Culture and Vocation or the CCO.  Just the other day a fellow wandered in who had found us by reading Andy Crouch’s Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling (IVP; $22.00) where we are kindly mentioned. These organic connections are a blessing to us, even if (if truth be told) they don’t generate tons of business.  We are honored to be connected to so many great groups.

Every summer we get a deluge of orders from our good friends at the C.S. Lewis Institute in Washington DC for their long-standing discipleship class called their Fellows Program.  This rigorous training program is now being duplicated in Atlanta (three cheers for Lewis fan and visionary Bill Smith there) Annapolis, and, Lord willing, some other sites in years to come.

The Fellows program takes Lewis as a jumping off point but is not a Lewis study club.  It is a discipleship class which informs both the heart and mind, using some of the best of today’s evangelical authors and includes meeting with mentors, lots of handouts, readings, downloaded sermons, even DVDs that have to be watched—including dramatizations from Luther to Amazing Grace to Bonhoeffer.  Being involved in this multi-faceted, year-long learning community demands a large commitment (and, as you might imagine, most of the participants around the DC Beltway are themselves already in demanding careers, working in business and law and public service and research and the like.)

Could you imagine creating a year of study and learning in your community?  Do you know folks hungry to learn? Would your program be worth their while?  What resources would you use? 

The leaders of the C.S. Lewis Institute are theologically rigorous, evangelical, and, like Lewis, not only quite orthodox, but delightfully eager to read, talk, learn, and live out faith in the complexities of calling and career in the modern world.   As you can see, they read a lot.

We are glad that they suggest our services to the Fellows and we try to keep their required readings on hand so we can send them out promptly as they order throughout the year.

We thought it would be fun for our BookNotes readers to see this excellent list.  I think I have read most of the books listed (in fact, have helped them pick a few of them.) Their list changes a bit from year to year and some years they have run a “year two” Fellows program with other titles.  We thought you might be blessed just to know that these kinds of programs exist and that these kinds of reading lists have been developed.  

Here is the list of what they are now using. In some cases, they only have to read certain key chapters.  The descriptions are mine and you should recall that they work through these, using them wisely, discussing them with mentors, supplementing their formation with other reading, classes, videos and experiences.

We are grateful that they recommend us as a source for their folks to purchase these books and DVDs, but we should be clear that CSLI does not endorse Hearts & Minds in any official way nor does CSLI have any official relationship with us.  We have sold books at some of their large conferences (with N.T. Wright,  Ravi Zacharias or Os Guinness, say), we love their meaty quarterly journal (Knowing & Doing), appreciate their work, recommend the free audio and video lectures available at their website, and are glad for their friendship.

 And we are grateful for book lists like this.

C. S. Lewis Institute FELLOWS READING LIST  (summer 2011)

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives
Richard Swenson (NavPress) $15.99  Who doesn’t need some sensible
guidance about managing resources—time, emotions, money and such.  I
often tell people that this is the only book of this sort that I really
like.  We’ve often raved about the devotional that is also available (Minute of Margin) and the sequel (In Search of Balance.)  It makes a lot of sense to start with some attention to this very basic matter, our pace of life and wise sense of balance.

Ordering Your Private World Gordon MacDonald (Nelson) $15.99  A contemporary classic about priorities, character, and the inner life. Includes a study guide making it very useful as a foundational book.

Renewed Day by Day A.W. Tozer (Wingspan) $16.99  Some have compared this to My Utmost for His Highest, a year long devotional of extraordinarily insightful readings. This will surely touch you deeply, shaping your soul.  To have Tozer as a companion for a year is a brilliant idea.  I wonder if Lewis ever read him?  I know Tozer read Lewis!

Satisfy Your Soul: Restoring the Heart of Christian Spirituality   Bruce Demarest  (NavPress) $16.99  A studious, excellent, Christ-centered books about spiritual formation.  One of the best!

Knowledge of the Holy A. W. Tozer (HarperOne) $12.95  Still one of the most best-selling religious books of the 20th century, a passionate study of the attributes of God.

Quiet Time  IVCF Staff (IVP) $5.00  A small booklet inviting one to a daily quiet time.  Nice.

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life  Donald Whitney (NavPress) $15.99  I sometimes say Whitney is a Reformed Richard Foster drawing more on Puritan sources than Foster’s monastic sources.

Spiritual Birthline: Understanding How We Experience New Birth  Stephen Smallman (Crossway) $12.99  Do you know how to tell your spiritual journey? Does understanding justification and regeneration matter?  Can you look back over your life and say when and how you crossed over the line to saving faith?  Very interesting!

The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther and Calvin  John Piper (Crossway) $14.99  The passionate Piper has a series of books each studying a theme by way of three short biographies.  This one reflects on God’s saving grace as understood by these titans of faith.  Highly recommended.

The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine  A.W. Tozer (Wingspread) $12.99  Again, Tozer–a remarkably innovative and learned leader of the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination–shows himself to be solid with traditional, orthodox rigor, and yet with a sweetly mystical strain.  Classic.

Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs J.I. Packer (Tyndale) $14.99 Our friends at CSLI are always on the look-out for how to teach basic theology with depth and warmth and brevity.  It doesn’t get more clear and solid than this by one of the most important Reformed thinkers of the last 50 years. 

Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love Jerry Bridges (NavPress) $14.99  Few books in recent years have explored the meaning of grace of justification and sanctification, for salvation and living, than this clear-headed, no-nonsense study.  This is stuff every Christian should know.  

DVD The Bible and the Christian Life: Six Sessions on the Authority, Interpretation,
 And Use of Scripture
John Stott (Zondervan) $19.99  You may recall that we’ve promoted this here before, and I’ve told of using it in an adult ed class at my own church.  Six excellent, dense, clear, thoughtful and inspiring lectures by the incomparable British evangelical. (If you are using this in an Sunday school setting, each of the six talks are divided into portions to stop the DVD and discuss the content.  Each lecture is just under an hour, so could be used in 6 weeks but can most fruitfully be used over 10 or 12 weeks.

DVD Luther Directed by Eric Til (MGM) $14.98 Staring Joseph Fiennes, this is entertaining, powerful stuff.  Kudos to those in Hollywood who brought this well made drama to the silver screen.

C. S. Lewis Institute FELLOWS READING LIST (fall, winter, spring, 2011-2012)

DVD Gospel of John (The Visual Bible) $14.99  The entire gospel, verbatim (in the Good News translation) dramatically acted with Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond from Lost) playing Jesus.  Directly by Philip Saville, it is tremendously done.

DVD Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace (Gateway Films) $19.95  Staring Ulrich Tukur, this is still one of the best films on the famous martyr and his role in the German resistance.

DVD The Hiding Place (Worldwide Pictures) $19.95 Julie Harris was nominated for an Academy Award for this powerful adaptation of Corrie Ten Boom’s classic memoir about their time under Hitler.  Digitally restored and remastered in a wide screen edition.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream  David Platt (Waterbrook) $14.99  Have we reduced the gospel to fit our own cultural preferences of individualism and upward mobility? Hear this simple exhortation to reject the values of materialism and ease; hear the call to give our lives in radical ways to the work of the Kingdom.

My Heart Christ’s Home Robert Boyd Munger (IVP) $1.50  This little booklet has changed lives, telling the parable of one who invites Christ into his home.  It has two great strengths: Jesus cleans up various rooms in the house (the bedroom, the library, etc) and He waits quietly for the resident to invite him to meet in daily quiet time.  Lovely, interesting, useful.

The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics  C.S. Lewis (HarperOne) $29.99  This handsome, hefty paperback includes five great Lewis books in their entirety, making is a fine value.  Included are Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed, and The Abolition of Man.  Wit, wisdom, style, grace, scholarship, charm and truth.  There are other great Lewis books, of course (The Weight of Glory comes to mind, The Four Loves is popular and his Letters to Malcolm on prayer is sweet) but this one is a solid start for any good library.

The Good Who Loves You Peter Kreeft (Ignatius Press) $14.95  Kreeft, nearly a contemporary Lewis himself, teaches philosophy at the Jesuit Boston College, is beloved for his own wit and charm and clear-headed logic.  This is a deeply rewarding, rich text.  C.S. Lewis’ friend, author Sheldon Vanauken (author of A Severe Mercy) says of it “I know of no writer today who can deal with (the subject of God’s love) more justly and lovingly than Peter Kreeft has done.”

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount  Martyn Lloyd-Jones  (Eerdmans) $30.00  Well, anyone who follows Jesus must grapple with his major teaching, and the sermon is perhaps his most didactic session.  There are other books on this, of course, but Lloyd-Jones is truly one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century, who held forth in London for a generation. This big volume is a treasure chest, laden with sound insight and important commentary.

DVD  Malokai: The Story of Father Damien (Era Films) $19.99  What an inspiring drama, portraying the legendary Catholic missionary who moved to a leper colony in Hawaii in 1872 and his self-sacrificial ministry.  Produced in the Netherlands in 1999 it stars the likes of Peter O’Toole, Kris Kristofferson, Sam Neill and David Wenham.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
  Timothy Keller (Riverhead) $16.00  Well, what thoughtful class on Lewis-esque faith in the modern world would be complete without a book by the author The New York Times suggested could be our contemporary Lewis, the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan?  This is a fine, well-written, accessible book about skepticism and the validity of Christian faith in our age.  Highly recommended. (And then read all his other books!)

Humility: The Journey Towards Holiness  Andrew Murray (Bethany) $7.99  A much-needed Christian virtue and one about which very little is written these days.  Brief, poignant, very Biblical, written in the older style of the famous  late 19th century South African evangelist.  

DVD Through the Shadowlands  (Vision Video)  $19.99  Staring Joss Ackland and Clarie Bloom, this is the older British movie, aired on the BBC, not the more popular one with Anthony Hopkins.  Lewis fans all commend it.

The Holy Spirit  Billy Graham (Nelson) $14.99  There are more sophisticated scholarly works on the Spirit, some more practical about the Spirit’s gifts or fruits, but few are as clear and helpful and full of great information and inspiration.  Graham was more of a great reader than most realize and this is a fine example of his lasting writing ministry.  Very nicely done.

Can I Trust the Bible: Defending the Bible’s Reliability Darrell L. Bock (RZIM) $4.95  Of course there are hundreds of books of various sorts and styles, but this slim booklet has great information preparing you to give a reasonable case for the trustworthiness of Scripture.  A very handy tool to have and to share with those who are perplexed.

Is the New Testament Reliable? (second edition) Paul Barnett (IVP) $16.00  With all the nonsense in the media about the gnostic gospels and the lack of historicity of the New Testament (not to mention the resurrection accounts) and any number of best-selling books about the errors of the earliest manuscripts, etcetera, etcetera, this is very interesting and a helpful case for authenticity and trustworthiness of the New Testament.  Very well done.

Meditating on the Word  Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Cowley) $17.95  In this remarkable volume you can read a letter Bonhoeffer wrote about the Bible, learn of his practical guidance about how to meditate on Scripture, and reflect on a handful of solid sermons on various Psalms.  Not to be missed. Compiled and edited by Episcopal priest,  David McI. Gracie.

DVD Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?  (Ignatius Press) $19.95  This is a fascinating and educational documentary featuring an array of conservative Catholic, mainline Protestant and evangelical scholars, from Fr. Mitch Pacwas, Johnnette Benkovic, Craig Blomberg, Craig Evans, Timothy Gray, Gary Habermas, Edward Sri, Roy Schoeman, Fr. Ronald Tacelli, Ben Witherington.  All have PhDs and each offer insight in this critical examination of the facts about the resurrection of Jesus.  Wow.

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling Your Life’s Central Purpose Os Guinness (Nelson) $17.99  Thoughtful evangelicals in the DC area who are striving to live out their faith and convictions in the marketplace, the academy, the think-tanks and corridors of power surely must have a strong understanding of the Biblical notion of vocation (as should we all.)  You may know I have viewed Os as a bit of a mentor and hero and often say this is one of my favorite books.  Kudos to CSLI for holding up this vision and reading this wonderfully rich and beautifully written work.

DVD  Amazing Grace (Bristol Bay/20th Century Fox) $19.99  Directed by Michael Apted.   Much has been written about this exceptionally popular drama about the profoundly Christian work of William Wilberforce, his sense of calling, and his effort to integrate his faith and his own political vocation.  The story of the long British campaign to abolish slavery has never been more wonderfully told.  A perfect movie to use in Washington, of course, but a vital one for us all.  Highly recommend to own and to loan.

CD “Understanding Postmodernism”  Mark Stibbes  (Father’s House Trust) $10.95  We have paid a copyright fee and have been given permission to duplicate this audio lecture by the creative British evangelist and are happy to make it available to friends of the CSLI.  There is so much more to learn about this topic, but this is an articulate starting point.

The Postmodern World: Discerning the Times and the Spirit of Our Age  Millard J. Erickson (Crossway) $14.99  Lewis fans will know that Lewis had great concern about the nature of truth, and also exposed the ways in which faith in scientistic rationalism reduced our insights, disregarding the role of the imagination, a human way of knowing that he valued deeply.  Was Lewis, then, an early postmodernist?  Hmmm. That isn’t the theme of this book—which attempts to give a fair and lucid explanation of the role of postmodern theories in popular culture, at the university.  One cannot avoid this question, and Erickson is a fine guide to the discussions, offering some wise, qualified appreciation and much critique of deconstruction.

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