A JESUS BLOG COLLECTIVE

My Favorite Books of 2015

Books

As we’re getting closer to the end of year, I thought I would share my favorite books of 2015. (Note: not all of these books came out in 2015).

1. Unspoken Sermons, George MacDonald

I’ve read a lot of George MacDonald this year, but this collection of sermons was by far my favorite. His sermons connect theology and discipleship in a way that I found really helpful. CS Lewis’ comments on MacDonald’s sermons sum up my thoughts pretty well:

“I know hardly any other writer who seems to be closer…to the Spirit of Christ Himself. Hence his Christ-like union of tenderness and severity. Nowhere else outside the New Testament have I found terror and comfort so intertwined.”

2. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

I finally got around to reading Wallace’s epic novel this year. I think his exploration of entertainment, pleasure, addiction, consumerism, and freedom are really relevant in our modern era. I’d definitely recommend it.

3. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky

I had started reading The Brothers Karamazov a couple years ago, but had never finished it, so I decided to read the whole thing this year. The book is full of really intense theological and philosophical issues. It’s one of my favorites.

4. Reading Backwards, Richard Hays

Richard Hays is one of my favorite biblical scholars. This small book is packed with fascinating insights into the ways the gospel writers interpreted the Old Testament in light of Christ.

5. The Civil War as a Theological Crisis, Mark Noll

Mark Noll’s book explores the theological debates, which contributed, to the Civil War. Although Christians in the North and South viewed the Bible as authoritative, they were unable to reach consensus over the issue of slavery and this was a significant factor which led to the war.

6. The Bible Made Impossible, Christian Smith

Over the last couple of years I’ve been thinking a lot about how to interpret and think about the Bible. Smith’s book does a really good job of pointing out some of the internal contradictions within a certain biblicist understanding of Scripture and it points a way forward to a more Christocentric reading of the Bible.

7. Death on a Friday Afternoon, Richard John Neuhaus

This is an excellent meditation on the last seven words Jesus spoke from the cross.

8. Salvation in my Pocket, Ben Myers

This is a great collection of Ben Myers’ blog posts from Faith and Theology.

9. The Slavery of Death, Richard Beck

In this book Beck looks at the ways in which the fear of death keeps us enslaved to sin and how Christ’s death and resurrection frees us from the power of death and the devil. Beck blogs at Experimental Theology.

10. God Matters, Herbert McCabe

Herbert McCabe had an amazing ability to talk about really complex theological and philosophical issues in language that’s both clear and humorous. This is a great collection of some of his essays and articles.

  • Brian

    I’m intrigued by the Civil War as a Theological Crisis. That historical event is the poster child for my confusion. How people reading the same book could come to radically different positions that cost lives. In light of this, I’m sure The Bible made Impossible is a helpful read. Super interested in The Bros Karamazov too. Maybe I could just watch the movie? 😉

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051435/

    • Steven Jillson

      Yeah, you can borrow any of the books if you want! I didn’t know there was a Brothers K movie…I’ll have to check that out.