Okay, so Pastor Able challenged all of us here at Think Theology to compile a “must-have” book list — books that serve as resources in our writing (and preaching, for those among us who are pastors), and in some way have shaped, encouraged, challenged, and sharpened our understanding of the faith.

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I am neither a pastor nor someone who preaches on a regular basis — although I really enjoy it when I get the opportunity — so my list is more skewed towards “books I’d love every pastor/leader — young or old, veteran or newbie — to invest in”.

  1. The Presence of the Future by G. E. Ladd. This is THE best resource for a thorough understanding of the Kingdom of God as “already and not yet” (inaugurated eschatology).
  2. A Theology of the New Testament by G. E. Ladd. You will be reading a classic that demonstrates why Biblical Theology is such an important field.
  3. A History of Christian Thought by Justo Gonzalez. The formerly three-volume set has been condensed into a single volume, and is invaluable for tracing how theology has grown and developed over the centuries.
  4. Christianity in Culture: A Study in Dynamic Biblical Theologizing in Cross-Cultural Perspective by Charles Kraft. When we seek to faithfully contextualize the gospel into our post-modern culture, our best resource — and approach — should be that of missiologists. (Kraft’s Anthropology for Christian Witness is another good resource.)
  5. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. A classic that not only has stood the test of time, but speaks to the issues of our century in almost prophetic fashion.
  6. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Brilliant insights into the topic of spiritual warfare without all the gobbledy-gook.
  7. Signs, Wonders & the Kingdom of God by Don Williams. One of the best “hidden gems” on Kingdom theology to address what the late John Wimber called “power evangelism”.
  8. How to Read the Bible for All its Worth by Gordon Fee. The best single source for preachers, teachers, bloggers and authors on reading the Bible in context, with attention to genre, audience, and all the things that make for solid, biblical communication.
  9. Paul, the Spirit, & the People of God by Gordon Fee. An excellent, and invigorating exploration of the role of the Holy Spirit in the already/not yet of the Kingdom. I couldn’t recommend this one more highly.
  10. Listening to the Spirit in the Text by Gordon Fee. If you’ve ever thought that the term “charismatic scholar” was an oxymoron, you need to read this book. An excellent and invigorating resource on being Spirit-led and Biblically-literate.
  11. The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. A brilliant book on the attributes of God, which — like Mere Christianity — actually deserves and lives up to the descriptor: timeless.
  12. The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (formerly titled “Christian Counter-Culture”) by John R.R. Stott. Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount have often been referred to as “the ethics of the Kingdom of God”. Stott does a masterful job of unpacking and applying the Sermon to today’s culture.
  13. Much as I typically loathe blatant self-promotion, if you’re in any way involved with, leading in, recovering from, or interested in pursuing a more “Spirit-filled”  life and ministry (sorry, I know that term sounds obnoxious to some), then please read Post-Charismatic 2.0: Rekindle the Smoldering Wick, by yours truly. Think Theology’s own Kenny Burchard wrote a great review of it here.