I love to read and so I consume books pretty regularly. I read a number of older publications this year dealing with my study topic for the year (Leviticus) and I read a number of books in preparation for our counseling seminars (same-sex attraction, domestic abuse, and depression). But I have also had the privilege of working with a number of publishers this year to help promote new works. So, I will catalog my comprehensive reading list later, this post will detail my favorite new publications from 2015.
1. A History of Western Philosophy and Theology by John Frame
I am still working on completing this massive and comprehensive work, but I am already in love with it. There is no other history of philosophy work like it, one that is uniquely attuned to the Christian worldview and which provides such a useful grid for evaluating the contributions of philosophers over the centuries. This will be a significant and important work for many years to come!
2. Same-Sex Attraction and the Church by Ed Shaw
Shaw’s book is the best work I’ve read on this subject. He not only provides a framework for thinking about how we can respond to and encourage SSA brothers and sisters in our church, but he also gives us lots of practical counsel. He utilizes his own personal experiences as illustrations, and challenges some of the deeply ingrained practices of the church that must be addressed to serve our brothers and sisters better. I LOVED this book.
3. Side by Side by Ed Welch
Welch gives such a simple, yet not simplistic, guide to counseling in the local church. He helps us to see both how to counsel and encourages us to believe that we can counsel. This is a great tool from a highly respected and seasoned Biblical Counselor. It will be a resource I use for many years to come in training counselors in our own church.
4. Spiritual Friendship by Wesley Hill
This is easily one of the best books of the year! Hill writes about a subject that is near and dear to my heart, but which has been so neglected in the contemporary church. His approach to discussing both same-sex attraction and friendship in general is fresh, even surprising, yet it is incredibly compelling. The picture he paints of friendship is one I desire, one I crave, and one I want to see the church embrace. I highly recommend this unique and captivating work.
5. Worldly Saints by Michael Wittmer
Wittmer answers, quite convincingly, the question: is it possible to follow Jesus and still love my life. In ways that are thoroughly Biblically and encouraging, Dr. Wittmer gives us a guide to thinking about the things of this world that we enjoy. We can both serve Jesus and love our hobbies. The two are not incompatible. I surely believed this already, but reading Worldly Saints was such a fresh encouragement to me on this subject. Wittmer gives us a lot of Biblical reasons to enjoy the gifts of God’s creation and helps to ease our false sense of guilt about such joy.