Best Books of 2017

Here are my favorite books from 2017:

1. Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications by Michael Emlet

Christians have tended towards one of two extremes as it relates to psychiatric diagnoses and medications. Some, on the one hand, tend toward a full embrace; believing that diagnoses and medications perfectly describe and treat all our common problems. Others, tend towards the extreme of complete distrust, believing that diagnoses and medications are always wrong and even sinful. Michael Emlet desires to help readers, and especially counselors, navigate these issues with more balance. As such, he has provided counselors with one of the most helpful resources for one of the most complex issues.

2. Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary ed. by Matthew Barrett

Matthew Barrett has pulled together an ace-team of historians and theologians to address the specifics of Reformation theology. In this work he provides one of the most comprehensive and systematic treatments of the development of theology during the period.

3. God Is: A Devotional Guide to the Attributes of God by Mark Jones

A good devotional is hard to find. At least it is for me. Often devotionals appear to me trite, simplistic, and lacking in helpful application. They are theological shallow and exegetically flawed. Mark Jones, however, offers something different in his latest devotional project. In God Is he offers a theologically rich devotional exploration of the attributes of God. This work brings academic theology down to the level of daily living.

4. How does Sanctification Work? by David Powlison

You won’t regret picking up this volume. The book is short, sitting at just barely over 100 pages. The content, however, is not simplistic. Written in a highly accessible and engaging way, as is common to Powlison’s work, the chapters are full of rich and nuanced theological truth and counseling help. This is an important volume on an important subject and I cannot recommend it highly enough. How Does Sanctification Work? encourages readers to see the variety of ways that God’s Word sanctifies and it invites us, then, to take full advantage of this rich diversity.

5. Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering by Kelly Kapic

Works on suffering are more than common in the Christian community, but works aimed to cultivate our lamentation and groaning are not common. Kapic does a tremendous job in this book pointing out that the academic, philosophical, and abstract questions of human suffering are not the appropriate issues to wrestle with in the midst of personal pain. Instead he focuses on the personal struggle and the ways we can grow through them. A much-needed contribution to the Christian conversation.


Honorable Mentions:

Counseling Under the Cross: How Martin Luther Applied the Gospel to Daily Life by Bob Kellemen

In light of this year’s 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, many have reflected on the significance of Martin Luther. The fiery monk turned reformer, is well-known for his protest of the Roman Catholic Church, his establishment of Lutheranism, and his contribution to protestant orthodoxy. In Counseling Under the Cross, respected counselor Bob Kellemen, demonstrates that Luther was also a keen pastoral counselor. As this volume points out, Luther is actually a wonderful model of gospel-centered counseling.

Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray

Burnout is such a common phenomenon that David Murray has taken his many hours of counseling experience and applied them to developing a program of analysis and resolution. In Reset he gives useful tools for assessing the type, intensity, and frequency of struggle and, then provides readers with a means of navigating such struggles by emphasizing dependence on the sovereign gracious God. A wonderful tool and one I will be using in both my life and my counseling sessions with others.

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