Of the making of books there is no end. So we are rightly told in Ecclesiastes 12:12. Thus any top ten list of books soon becomes outdated, and a new one is required. Thus I offer another list of recent books which the thinking Christian reader should consider adding to his or her shelves. It supplements the first such list I produced in June of 2006.
Perhaps most of these books would fall under the categories of ethics, apologetics or current events. Thus they are books believers can use as they engage in the culture wars, and as they seek to stand up for the Christian faith in an increasingly anti-Christian environment.
As such, this list is somewhat narrow in focus. Perhaps some other day I will offer a list of top ten theology books, or top ten devotional books, and so on.
In alphabetical order then, here are ten recent volumes that all thinking Christians should be reading:
Beauregard, Mario and Denyse O’Leary, The Spiritual Brain. HarperOne, 2007.
This is a very important book. For several decades now the field of neuroscience has been seeking to tell us that there are no such things as the mind, the soul, consciousness or the spirit. All these nonmaterial things can fully be explained in material terms, as the products of the brain. Heavily steeped in materialism, this field, along with evolutionary psychology, is in many ways a frontal attack on all belief systems which acknowledge the nonmaterial world. In this crucial book a leading neuroscientist demonstrates the emptiness of materialism, and argues that the scientific evidence points instead to a soul and a spiritual realm, every bit as real as the physical realm.
Blankenhorn, David, The Future of Marriage. Encounter Books, 2007.
Blankenhorn has been involved in the war over the family for several decades now. His 1996 volume, Fatherless America was outstanding, and so is this. Marriage as an institution is under severe attack, especially from the homosexual activists who want to take it over and redefine it out of existence. This book offers a strong case for the heterosexual nature of marriage, and is a much-needed critique of the push for same-sex marriage.
Coulter, Ann, Godless. Crown Forum, 2006.
Coulter is the pit-bull terrier of conservatism. Her hilarious and acid-tongued critique of liberalism and leftism is always great fun to read. But beneath the tsunami of laughs is a serious critique of the paucity of the secular left and the damage it inflicts. She covers all the leading issues of the day, and demonstrates why we need something better than the clichés of the left to deal with serious social and political issues.
McGrath, Alister, The Dawkins Delusion. SPCK, 2007.
This is a critique of the anti-theist polemic by Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion. With advanced degrees in both science and theology, McGrath is more than capable of offering a critique of Dawkin’s jeremiad against religion. The bitter diatribe against faith is aptly countered by this well-reasoned and nicely-argued volume.
Royal, Robert, The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West. Encounter Books, 2006.
This is another important volume. Royal argues that religion in general, and Christianity in particular, is responsible for the spectacular achievements of Western culture. Contrary to the claims of the secular humanists, the Judeo-Christian faith especially has been an overwhelming source of good and progress in the world. A world without God would be a very impoverished and empty world indeed.
Spencer, Robert, Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t. Regnery, 2007.
Spencer has penned a number of important volumes on the war we are in with militant Islam. In his newest volume, he compares and contrasts Islam with Christianity, demonstrating the very great differences between the two. This is a much-needed response to much of the interfaith movement which seeks to argue for a moral and theological equivalence between the two world religions.
Staub, Dick, The Culturally Savvy Christian. Jossey-Bass, 2007.
Staub argues that the vacuous and soulless popular culture which is transforming the West, even the whole world, is also transforming the church. Culture-lite is now producing Christianity-lite. Evangelical Christianity, in its attempt to be relevant and cutting-edge, often is simply mimicking the emptiness and superficiality of the surrounding pop culture. Staub argues for a reinvigorated Christianity, one that is a world leader in the arts, the intellect, and the cultural arena.
Steyn, Mark, America Alone. Regnery, 2006.
Mark Steyn must share equal billing with Ann Coulter as our two best and wittiest conservative commentators today. Both are immensely humorous in their writings, yet dead-serious in pinpointing and analysing the many threats faced by a free, faith-based and family-friendly West. Steyn especially recognises the dangers posed by Islamist jihad, and the capitulation of much of the West to this threat. Excellent and enjoyable reading.
Sweetman, Brendan, Why Politics Needs Religion. IVP, 2006.
Secular humanism is every bit as much a worldview and a religion as is Christianity, contends Sweetman. In a pluralistic democracy, Christianity has just as much right to engage the public arena as does any other worldview. Indeed, the separation of politics and religion is as impossible as it is unadvisable. The case for Christian political involvement is very nicely made here.
Wiker, Benjamin and Jonathan Witt, A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature. IVP, 2006.
As the subtitle indicates, the more we learn about the world around us, the more we see the hand of God. There is great beauty, design, meaning and purpose found in the natural world, all of which point inescapably to the hand of a wise creator, interested in beauty, truth and meaning. A very good apologetic in the face of a rising militant secularism and materialism.
Many more important and significant titles could have been included here. You might want to offer suggestions of your own. I will just have to keep putting such lists out on a regular basis, to keep readers up with the flow of important and influential titles coming out.
For those wanting to know more about these books, most have been treated to full-length reviews on this website. Any and all of these volumes would be great inclusions in your library if you are serious about being a world Christian and a world-changer. Until my next top-ten list, happy reading.