Books I Read in 2018

Here is a complete annotated list of the books I read in 2018:

1. Great Thinkers: Thomas Aquinas by K. Scott Oliphint

A fantastic look at one of the greatest theologians in the history of the church. Oliphint does an excellent job of offering both critique and highlighting valuable contributions.

2. Deadpool, Vol. 1: Dead Presidents by Brian Posehn

The comedic tone of this book was well executed. The “merc with the mouth” issues joke after joke, on page after page. The very premise of this story is so absurd (U.S. Presidents rise from the dead to take over the world), that you can’t help but laugh. This is the version of the character that fans have come to love, and I can appreciate why.

3. Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining by Shelly Rambo

The author has a good understanding of trauma, but a very flawed understanding of God. Through the use of process theology she constructs a view of the Trinity that I found very disagreeable and unsupported by Scripture. The God she presents cannot help us with traumatic problems.

4. Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of Self by Daphne Simeon and Jeffery Abugel

While not written from a Biblical perspective this book was useful for gaining insight on the specific nature and symptoms of depersonalization. It was also surprisingly humble on proposed treatment and on neurological causation. I found it a useful tool when read through the lens of a Biblical perspective.

5. Ms. Marvel, vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson

A good addition to the unfolding story of Kamala Khan, though not quite as engaging as previous volumes. The exploration of increasing fame, the fickleness of public support was a great angle, if a common enough one in comics.

6. A Small Book About A Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace by Edward T. Welch

Welch does an excellent job of giving readers an accessible, practical, and insightful look at anger.

7. Trauma and Grace by Serene Jones

While I would disagree with Jones on many issues of both theology and counseling, I found a lot of common ground here that provided some interesting theological framework for thinking about the impact of trauma.

8. PTSD: Healing for Bad Memories by Tim Lane

This short little book on the disorder was actually packed with insight on the issues. Highly recommended as an introduction to navigating PTSD.

9. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Tim Keller

A beautiful blend of theological, experiential, and methodological matters related to the practice of prayer.

10. The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a World of Violence by Miroslav Volf

A unique exploration of the ethics of memory that leaves readers both unsettled and encouraged. I’ve never ready any book quite like Volf’s.

11. The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation by Michael Reeves

A short and accessible history of the Reformation, but one that avoids the simplistic explanations of causation.

12. The Reformation: Basic Interpretations ed. by Lewis Spitz

A very insightful and fascinating look at the various approaches to explaining the causes of the Reformation (theological, economic, political, etc.). Highly academic, and dry in its prose, but valuable in its own right.

13. Becoming and Belonging: Creating a Thriving Family Culture by Mark and Lisa Scandrette

One of my new, favorite, books for families! I have already used it in counseling and found it very practical. While I might have wanted a bit more rich theology, I am grateful for the strengths of this book.

14. When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch

THE book on navigating fear of man. I suspect I read it once a year in helping to counsel others.

15. Eating Disorders: Hope and for Hungering Souls by Mark Shaw, Rachel Bailey, and Bethany Spence

A good introduction to the issues, but more is needed to flesh out a full approach to navigating the disorder.

16. The Reformation: A History by Diarmaid MacCulloch

This is probably the most comprehensive popular treatment of the subject at hand. MacCulloch understands his subject well and writes with impressive insight on a wide range of contextual matters surrounding the Reformation. It is, however, a super dry read.

17. Love to Eat, Hate Eat by Elyse Fitzpatrick

A wonderful treatment of eating disorders that balances theological truth with practical help.

18. The Cambridge Companion to Reformation Theology ed. by David Bagchi and David Steinmetz

I did not finish the entirety of this book, but the collection of essays provide such great insight on a wide array of issues related to the Reformation.

19. A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester

About far more about eating, this book is both a theology of eating and a missional methodology, giving it a unique place on any Christian’s bookshelf.

20. Hope, Help, and Healing for Eating Disorders by Gregory Jantz

While this book has some helpful elements in it, giving readers some useful tools, it tends to overemphasize parental responsibility as the cause of ED and underemphasize the person of Christ as a resource for help.

21. Developing a Healthy Relationship to Food by Brad Hambrick

Brad always writes with amazing insight and practical help and this workbook on eating disorders is no exception. His ability to diagnose a problem thoroughly and help readers work through those problems is impeccable.

22. 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Garb

This is the best book on eating disorders I have read. I note that the book is not written from a Christian perspective and so readers will need to be discerning about the content and methodology described. Nonetheless, it offers some of the most practical tools for help in counseling. I highly recommend that counselors consult this work for developing corresponding Christian methodologies.

23. The Eating Disorder Sourcebook by Carolin Costin

A multi-disciplinary exploration of the nature of an eating disorder (nutritional, psychological, biochemical, etc.).

24. Redeemed from the Pit: Biblical Repentance and Restoration from the Bondage of Eating Disorders by Marie Notcheva

Far too simplistic in its explanation of both cause and treatment for eating disorders.

25. The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield

This was easily the best book I read this year! With grit, conviction, and beauty Rosaria writes about the practice of ordinary hospitality. She invites readers into her home to see how she does it, and in that regard the book is less prescriptive and more descriptive. I found the book both inspiring and challenging in all the right ways. This is an amazing book that, if read and implemented, has the potential to change the culture of the church – and by default the culture of our communities.

26. The Morals of the Story by David and Marybeth Baggett

A fantastic example of what good philosophical writing can look like! This book offers a humble apologetic approach to defending the existence of God on the basis of moral reasoning.

27. Guardians of the Galaxy: New Guard, vol. 4: Grounded by Brian Michael Bendis

This is easily the worst contribution to Bendis’ run on the Guardians. Four separate solo stories basically robs the Guardians of what makes them most interesting – their internal dynamics as a team.

28. Biblical Counseling Basics: Roots, Beliefs, and Future by Jeremy Lelek

A fantastic biblical counseling book. Part history, part apology, the book explore the foundational aspects of soul care and giving a great invitation to the practice.

29. The Dawn of the Reformation: Essays in Late Medieval and Early Reformation Thought by Heiko Oberman

An incredibly insightful, academic work on the context of the Reformation. I found so much in this volume that helped to expand my understanding.

30. John Wycliffe and the Beginnings of English Non-conformity by K.B. McFarlane

If a bit dry, this book gives a great introduction to the life and times of one of the key forerunners of the Reformation.

31. Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating by Richard and Sharon Phillips

This book’s ability to balance what the Bible does and doesn’t say about dating makes it a worthy read on the subject.

32. Mental Health and the Church: A Ministry Handbook for Including Children and Adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, and Other Common Mental Health Conditions by Stephen Grcevich, MD

More than just a ministry handbook for the inclusion of those with mental illnesses, this book is a call to compassionate ministry.

33. She’s Got the Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle by Deepak Reju

An incredibly insightful examination of the various types of men that women settle for, and why they shouldn’t. This is a different kind of dating book, but one that all single women should read.

34. Luther: Man Between God and the Devil by Heiko Oberman

This is an essential read for those who truly want to understand the real man Luther.

35. Disruptive Witness: Speaking the Truth in a Distracted Age by Alan Noble

It’s hard to know exactly how to categorize this book. Is it a volume on Christina living? Is it a cultural commentary and work of social criticism? Is it a book on ecclesiology? Is it a book on evangelism and apologetics? Is it philosophy book or an aesthetics text? It’s hard to say. The topics covered in their respective chapters range from things like Facebook and social media consumption, to saying grace at meals. Readers will have a hard time limiting this book’s relevance and range of application. It is a book for everyone.

36. The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary by Jonathan Pennington

This book dramatically reshaped the way I read and interpret the Sermon on the Mount! It’s that theologically influential of a work.

37. Disciplines of the Holy Spirit: How to Connect to the Spirit’s Power and Presence by Siang-Yang Tan and Douglas H. Gregg

This is not a bad book, but it’s an underdeveloped book.

38. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses: With Introduction, Commentary, and Study Guide by Timothy Wengert

A very insightful introduction to the historical context, the literary style, and theological/rhetorical content of one of the most significant documents of the Reformation.

39. Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I was, and Who God Has Always Been by Jackie Hill Perry

A beautiful autobiography that explores one girls conversion story, both out of a homosexual lifestyle and into a faithful walk with Christ. This is a beautifully written story of a good God.

40. Raising Kids in the Way of Grace: 5 Practical Marks of Grace-Focused Parenting by Bob Kellemen

Raising Kids in the Way of Grace is a wonderful and simple tool for parents. It avoids silly formulas, and proposes principles rooted in Scripture. Bob Kellemen has written yet another wonderful tool for the church and I highly recommend this encouraging read to any struggling parent.

41. Grace-Based Recovery: A Safe Place to Heal and Grow by Jonathan Daugherty

While this book has a good vision of recovery, it lacks the depth to provide a real path out of the bondage of addiction.

42. Diehard Sins: How to Fight Wisely Against Daily Destructive Habits by Rush Witt

A great exploration of the reality of sin, with a particular bent towards those common sinful habits that subtly become engrained into our lives.

43. Why Should the Devil Have all The Good Music?: Larry Norman and the Perils of Christina Rock by Gregory Alan Thornbury

One of my favorite books on the year, this biography of the father of Christian rock is as fascinating as it is convicting. More than just a look at Larry Norman’s compelling story, it is an expose on the perils of the Christian celebrity culture – which all the church has helped to create.

44. Depression, Anxiety, and the Christian Life: Practical Wisdom from Richard Baxter by Michael Lundy, J.I. Packer, and Richard Baxter

While Baxter is more descriptive than prescriptive, I was amazed at how accurate this Puritan pastor’s description of anxiety and depression was. If his prescribed treatments aren’t always that practical or robust, they are nonetheless good starting places.

45. Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection by Jared Mellinger

A really excellent exploration of obsessive thoughts and introspection from a Christina perspective.

46. Can Christianity Cure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?: A Psychiatrist Explores the Role of Faith in Treatment by Ian Osborn, MD

This fascinating look at OCD and the role that Christian faith can play in treating the disorder. He gives readers case studies (Martin Luther, John Bunyan, and Therese of Lisieux), scientific research, and practical help in application to demonstrate the relationship between faith and cure of OCD.

47. Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home by Russell Moore

Moore does a masterful job of bringing the gospel to bear on the home, and showing its relevance for a host of family issues: parenting, marriage, divorce, sex, etc. Each chapter is its own reflection but the overall book provides a great resource for families.

48. God and Soul Care: The Therapeutic Resources of the Christian Faith by Eric Johnson

This is one of the best theologies of counseling I have ever read. Johnson provides some of the most insightful uses of doctrine for counseling help that I have ever read. A must-read for those wanting to develop their theology of counseling more thoroughly.

49. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by Brad Hambrick

Another incredibly helpful and insightful workbook from a masterful counselor. Brad guides readers through the conceptual, theological, and psychological issues related to trauma. He gives tools for processing suffering, reframing that sorrow, moving forward in life.

Comments

  1. Impressive amount and quality of reading. I need to do better at reading. I have slacked off since leaving the ministry 4 years ago.

    Roberto

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  1. […] year was certainly no different. You can see my complete annotated list of books I read last year here. But, here are my picks for best books of […]

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