For the Family’s Sake: The Value of Home in Everyone’s Life Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (Crossway) Not at all an academic book , this nearly devotional collection is so delightful and wise it must be mentioned!
Gender & Grace: Love, Work & Parenting in a Changing World Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen (IVP) A rare book, combining rigorous scholarship, Biblical studies and practical insight. A must read for us all!
Families at the Crossroads: Beyond Traditional & Modern Options Rodney Clapp (IVP) Again, an exceptional work, serious-minded but readable, developing a theologically-inspired “third way”Â of thinking. Excellent.
Woman and the Future of the Family Elizabeth Fox-Genovese et al (Center for Public Justice) A stimulating essay with three respondents make this dialogue very, very helpful for seeking profoundly Christian insights. Responses are by Stanley Grenz, Mardi Keyes & Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen
Men and Women–Created or Constructed? The Great Gender Debate Elaine Storkey (Paternoster) This slim volume is at once brilliant in its explanation of various schools of thought and a blessing in its distinctively Christian alternative. Imported from England, it is a must for anyone studying in the field!
From Culture Wars to Common Ground: Religion and the American Family Debate Don Browning, et al (Westminster) This lead volume in an ongoing series of scholarly works which attempt to transcend the typical liberal-conservative debate has gotten rave reviews. Very helpful text on a variety of aspects of family studies written from top sociologists, theologians, counselors and scholars.
Sex for Christians Lewis Smedes (Eerdmans) A classic which relates sexuality to the Biblical themes of creation, fall and redemption. Well-written and thoughtful.
Sexual Character: Beyond Technique to Intimacy Marva Dawn (Eerdmans) A serious-minded and pastorally caring collection on a variety of aspects of sexuality, marriage, singleness and the like.
Real Choices: Listening to Women; Looking for Alternative to Abortion Frederica Mathewes-Green (Conciliar Press) Truly an extraordinary book on this controversial topic. Mathewes-Green is a respected writer (and commentator on NPR) who has given us a fresh approach which attempts to hear women’s voices, build bridges of concern and create a women-friendly pro-life consensus.
The Tender Land: A Family Love Story Kathleen Finneran (Houghton Mifflin) Not exactly a Christian book, this personal memoir of a remarkable family is the best thing I’ve ever read about a child’s memory, the relationship of siblings, coming of age, being in a family as the parents age and so on. The heart of the narrative is the suicide of the author’s younger teenage brother and her painful grief. Breathtaking.
Called to Care: A Christian Theology of Nursing Judith Shelly & Arlene Miller (IVP) No book is as accessible and Biblical, clearly trying to develop a solid Christian framework for thinking about medical caregiving. For anyone in the health fields.
Helping and Healing: Religious Commitment in Health Care Edmund Pellegrino (Georgetown University Press) Although a touch academic, this treatise is truly one of the best in print. Good for any medical worker.
Being Well Kenneth Vaux (Abingdon) A theologically-informed approach to health, a look at the redemptive possibility of disease and the search for life while affirming meaning beyond death. A basic study for all who deal with life and death issues.
Redeeming Marketplace Medicine: A Theology of Health Care Abigail Rian Evans (Pilgrim Press) A very important study of the changing world of health care systems and a prophetic, Christian call for a better way, including defining health in a theologically-informed fashion and partnering with local congregations.
The Changing Face of Health Care Edited by John Kilner, et al (Eerdmans) A masterpiece collection of semi-scholarly articles covering a Christian appraisal of managed care, resource allocation and patient-caregiver relationships. Urgent.
Confessions of a Medicine Man: An Essay in Popular Philosophy Alfred Tauber (MIT Press) Although not Christian, it is wonderful to see a caring physician and a professional philosopher reflecting on the deeper matters of his work.
History Through the Eyes of Faith Ronald Wells (HarperCollins) An excellent introductory textbook from an esteemed Christian historian. Very well done.
How Should We Then Live? Francis Schaeffer (Crossway) A very readable introduction of Western civilization, with a very keen sense of the role of faith, the causes of secularization, and the role of idea.
The Search for Christian America Mark Noll, Nathan Hatch, George Marsden (Helmers & Howard) The wisest book done on this contested topic, by the most preeminent evangelical historians of our generation.
Church History in Plain Language Bruce Shelley (Word) While a Christian philosophy of historiography is obviously just about the history of the church, historians will find this overview very useful.
History and the Christian Historian edited by Ronald Wells (Eerdmans) A stellar collection–including foundational essays and solid starting points as well as specific examples of Christians doing specific historical research. A few final chapters explore the ways in which Christian teachers of history can faithfully do their work. Excellent!
Religious Advocacy and American History edited by Bruce Kuklick & D.G. Hart (Eerdmans) A diverse collection of scholarly essays on the role religious convictions influence the historians research, writing and teach and, secondly, the ways in which religion has been seen in the history departments of American universities.
How to Read Slowly James Sire (Harold Shaw) An entry-level look at how worldviews undergird great writing and how to be discerning of the philosophies of novelists, poets, journalists and even textbook authors.
Reading With Deeper Eyes: The Love of Literature and the Life of Faith William Willimon (Upper Room) These inspirational book reviews illustrate how deep matters of faith are seen in contemporary novels. A nice example of thinking religiously about even so-called secular novels.
Persuade Us To Rejoice: The Liberating Power of Fiction Robert McAfee Brown (Westminster) A similar, somewhat more weighty book, looking at various novels and showing their redemptive qualities.
Reading Between the Lines Gene Vieth (Crossway) An insightful but basic Christian entry into the world of literature and how literature communicates.
Literature Through the Eyes of Faith Sharon Gallagher & Roger Lundin (HarperCollins) A thoughtful, basic textbook with a bit about deconstruction and literary criticism.
Dismissing God: Modern Writers’ Struggle Against Religion Bruce Lockerbie (Baker Books) A serious and caring exploration of modern writers whose work emerged out of their unbelief. Very helpful.
Invitation to the Classics: A Guide to Books You’ve Always Wanted to Read Edited by Louise Cowan & Os Guinness (Baker) An attractive encyclopedia of great writers, classic texts and significant authors–both fiction and nonfiction–with Christian insight and evaluation of their value. A wonderful book to own and treasure!
Mathematics: Is God Silent? J. Nickel (Ross House Press) A very easy read, this handsome book surveys many of the great mathematicians and illustrates how their Christian assumptions about God and God’s creation led to their systematic work in the field of numbers. If God speaks to all of life–as the Bible insists!–then God surely has something to say to math.
The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories Roy Clouser (University of Notre Dame) Although a fairly serious philosophic work, his argument that all scholarship–including math–is influenced by religious-like philosophies, is brilliant. Very important.
A Christian Perspective on the Foundations of Mathematics R.I. Brabenac et al (Wheaton College) A collection of very academic papers presented at a conference of Christian mathematicians.
The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy Nancy Pearcey & Charles Thaxton (Crossway) Although primarily a study of the history of science, there are two very good chapters on math. Really helpful!
Bibliography of Christianity and Mathematics compiled by Gene Chase & Calvin Jongsma (Dordt College Press) A dated, but still extraordinary listing of articles, essays, journal pieces and book chapters which could then be acquired through libraries. Well worth having.
Foundations of Christian Scholarship: Essays in the Van Til Perspective edited by Gary North (Ross House Press) A dated and rather eccentric collection of various articles on Christian scholarship across the curriculum, the chapter on math, by Vern Poythress, is excellent, and worth the price of this otherwise uneven book.
Zero: A Biography of a Dangerous Idea Charles Seife (Penguin) While not an overtly Christian book, this is a highly readable history of the concept of, well, zero. Nicely shows the human, philosophic and cultural background of this intriguing story. Christians can certainly learn and be inspired by the history of innovation and discovery!
Fermat’s Enigma Simon Singh (Anchor) Not at all written with any sense of faith or God, still, the story of the epic quest to solve the world’s greatest math problem is a dramatic example of mathematicians at their finest, working with passion and joy. Young Christian thinkers can sure take heart from such a well-told story of commitment to the field.
Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers Patrick Kavanaugh (Zondervan) An easy to read and very important chronicle of classical music’s Christian heritage.
Music As Medicine Deforia Lane (Zondervan) The inspiring story of the respected African American music therapist from Case Western.
The Music of Angels: A Listener’s Guide to Sacred Music from Chant to Christian Rock Patrick Kavanaugh (Loyola Press) A very helpful historical guide, including suggested recordings, to Christian music of all sorts.
Music Through the Eyes of Faith Harold Best (HarperCollins) Like the others in this series, this is the essential book for the field. Excellent!
The Sound of the Harvest: Music’s Mission in Church and Culture Nathan Corbitt (Baker Books) Get this: a cross-culturally sensitive Christian ethno-musicologist reflecting on the use of music in missions and postmodern culture.
The Sacred in Music Albert Blackwell (Westminster) A rich scholarly theological study, particularly on the power of music and how it can be sacramental.
Habits of the Mind: Intellectual Life as a Christian Calling James Sire (IVP) A wonderful call to the life of the mind, nicely written by one of our best Christian thinkers. A book to enjoy and savor.
Reason Within the Bounds of Religion Nicholas Woltersdorf (Eerdmans) A brief, important essay on the relationship of presupposition, reason and faith. Very good.
Philosophy and the Christian Faith Colin Brown (IVP) A helpful study of the key thinkers in the history of philosophy from a clear Christian viewpoint.
The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories Roy Clouser (University of Notre Dame) A serious work which is absolutely essential for Christian philosophers, or any serious scholars.
Truth is Stranger Than It Used to Be Brian Walsh & Richard Middleton (IVP) The best Biblically-informed discussion of postmodernism available. Rather scholarly, although not overly academic. Insists that the deconstruction of Enlightenment faith in progress and Reason is a helpful shift and that the understanding of the suffering of God in the Biblical meta-narrative is the only adequate response to the profound concerns of post-modern philosophy. Even if one does not fully agree with the authors’ approach, this is a book which must be read. Essential.
Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenge of Postmodernism Douglas Groothuis (IVP) Less appreciative of postmodernity than than the Walsh & Middleton book (above) it is a hefty and impressive discussion against relativism. Has garnered truly rave reviews from serious thinkers.
The Fall of Interpretation: Philosophical Foundations for a Creational Hermeneutic James K.A. Smith (IVP) Smith seriously surveys various traditions about hermeneutics and concludes that the assumption in some traditions, that subjective bias is necessarily bad and part of the human fallen condition, is unBiblical. Subjectivity in hermeneutics is a creational given to be affirmed. A brilliant, foundational work for advanced students in either philosophy or Biblical studies.
Knowing Other-Wise: Philosophy at the Threshold of Spirituality edited by James Olthius (Fordham University Press) Recent discussions in the various circles of postmodernism and feminism have insisted that ontology and epistemology without ethics is deadly, and that standard Western rationalism is reductionistic. What might a way of “knowing”Â that is more than rational and which is attentive to the “other”Â look like? How might Christians work from our deepest traditions to respond to these concerns? Strong Christians reflect in very scholarly ways about some of the key issues in contemporary philosophy, exploring the contributions made by the likes of Derrida, Rorty, Levinas. To be read with discernment by advanced students.
A Covenant to Keep: Meditations on the Biblical Theme of Justice James Skillen (Center for Public Justice) Grand Biblical reflections with thoughtful questions and a few case studies. Certainly the starting point for anyone concerned about citizenship, social justice of political action.
A Public Faith: Bringing Personal Faith to Public Issues Charles Drew (NavPress) A balanced and reasonable book, inviting Christian to reflect in nonpartisan ways about civic duties.
Thine Is The Kingdom: A Biblical Perspective on the Nature of Government and Politics Today Paul Marshal (Regent College) The definitive introductory study of a Biblical view of the state and a Christian view of politics. This is a must for anyone interested in the field.
The Soul of Politics Jim Wallis (Harcourt, Brace) Not exactly on the development of a Christian view of government, this is a plea for faith-inspired activism that rejects both the secular left and the religious right, and attempts to offers a truly third way of civic activism, public justice and social compassion.
Christians & Politics Beyond the Culture Wars: An Agenda for Engagement Edited by David Gushee (Baker Book House) A broad collection of excellent articles and studies, including Biblical basics, overviews of the role of government and pieces on specific political topics. Very, very useful.
Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War edited by Glen Stassen (Pilgrim Press) With the Biblical command to be peacemakers guiding them, a group of leading Christian scholars researched the very best ideas for encouraging international peace and justice. A rich and practical guide to thinking concretely about this aspect of Christian political work.
Political Order and the Plural Structure of Society edited by James Skillen & Rockne McCarthy (Emory University) This is very scholarly but so extraordinary that it must be mentioned. A serious collection of primary source readings from three “traditions”Â which move readers towards a profoundly religious understanding of society, pluralism and state craft. Very, very important.
With Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture William Romanowski (Brazos) The best book on the subject. The author’s easy-to-read style is crisp, his approach Biblical, his knowledge immense. Essential. (Due late Feb. 2001)
At the Crossroads Charlie Peacock (Broadman) Although mostly about the contemporary Christian music industry, this wise effort does a nice job in commending an “in the world but not of it”Â engagement with the popular arts.
All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christian and Popular Culture Ken Myers (Crossway) A very thoughtful and critical assessment of how Christians might (or might not) engage pop culture and mass media.
Pop-Culture Wars: Religion and The Role of Entertainment in American Life William D. Romanowski (IVP) A truly important work, this is a study of the history of entertainment and how the church has, unwisely, been opposed. Makes the case for seeing the popular arts in light of Christianly-conceived aesthetic norms and for doing open-minded media education, nurturing Christian engagement and discernment.
Reel Spirituality: Theology & Film in Dialogue Robert K. Johnston (Baker Book House) Although there are several more basic books on the topic, this is a serious and thoroughly Christian work on film studies. Very well done.
Understanding People: Deep Longing for Relationship Dr. Larry Crabb (Zondervan) A fine and very readable introduction to the brokenness caused by sin, particularly as it shows up in various relationships. A perfect starter for thinking Christianly about the make-up of the human person. A landmark book.
Psychology & Christianity: Four Views edited by Eric Johnson & Stanton Jones (IVP) A friendly and feisty debate between four different Christians who relate their faith and theories in somewhat different ways. Essential.
Modern Psycho-Therapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal Stanton Jones & Richard Butman (IVP) Every discipline should be so fortunate as to have a handbook as useful as this stellar, indispensable guide. Nearly every possible school of thought in the field is explained, its presuppositions evaluated from a Biblical worldview. Honest in its description, generous in its willingness to affirm insights consistent with a Christian view and helpfully critical when necessary, this book is a model of Christian research.
Resurrecting the Person: Friendship and the Care of People With Mental Health Problems John Swinton (Abingdon) A wonderful resource offering new ways to think about persons with mental illnesses and how churches and practitioners can be better equipped to work together. Serious and insightful.
Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith David Meyers (HarperCollins) As always, this series offers another excellent, introductory-level Christian textbook.
SoulSearching: Why Psychotherapy Must Promote Moral Responsibility William Doherty (Basic Books) While not overtly evangelical, this is a wonderfully done “rethink”Â of the field of psychotherapy rooted in profound moral values.
Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship Paul Vitz (Eerdmans) A ground breaking critique of a dangerous assumption in most contemporary culture and psychological approaches. Not simple to read, but very important.
Freud vs God: How Psychiatry Lost Its Soul & Christianity Lost Its Mind Dan Blazer (IVP) A fairly serious study written by a professor at Duke Medical School.
Limning the Psyche: Explorations in Christian Psychology edited by Robert Roberts & Mark Talbot (Eerdmans) A healthy collection of scholarly articles on various aspects of Christianly-conceived psychological theories and practices.