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Wednesday, October 06, 2010 

A Life Shaped by Books

Last week at SBC Voices, Dave Miller asked the question, "What are the books that have formed your views on ministry or have helped you to be more effective in what you do?" The Title of the post was "Books that Shaped My Life and Ministry." Taking those two together, I essentially posted on the books that have shaped me as a person and therefore as a minister. As I said in the comments, "There are a lot of books I could include in my top 5, but as far as shaping my life and ministry, there are very few." Here are some that came to mind in no specific order:

1) God Came Near by Max Lucado - this book is what actually got me into reading Christian books on my own, without being forced to because of some teacher. Though today it wouldn't be considered one of my favorite books, it certainly started me down the path of reading Christian Living books.

2) Desiring God by John Piper - Piper opened by eyes to how theology truth could profoundly affect me both emotionally and spiritually. His concept of "Christian Hedonism" showed me how I could pursue happiness by pursuing God.

3) A combination of The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur, The Race Set Before Us by Tom Schriener and Ardel Canaday, and Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan - Starting with MacArthur's book, during my time just after seminary, I started to understand what salvation was actually supposed to look like and how our behaviors should affect how we perceive our perseverance and assurance.

4) Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem - This book, combined with the 2 theology courses I took under Dr. Stan Norman at NOBTS led me to inerrancy and a deep love for theology. It also drew me away from Dispensationalism. I think it is probably the best basic, Baptist Systematic ever written.

5) Power in the Pulpit by Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix - This book, combined with the "Proclaiming the Bible" class I took with Dr. Shaddix at NOBTS is essentially how I was taught to preach. I refer to it often and the method is deeply inscribed in my preparation each week, though I am not nearly as organized in presentation as Shaddix or Vines advocate.

There are so many more I could list that have had big influences on me like, The Pursuit of God by Tozer, Knowing God by Packer, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by Piper/Grudem, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Cymbala and Brothers, We are Not Professionals by Piper. Recently, I can say that
Father, Son, & Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, & Relevance by Bruce Ware has been extremely impactful to my ministry.

What books have shaped your life and ministry?

I agree with you about Grudem's Systematic Theology. Wonderful book.

The book that helped me the most in seeing that the Complementarian position is indeed the one that most closely represents both Scripture and Christian teachings from the time of the early Church was one containing homilies of St. John Chrysostom called On Marriage and Family Life. In those homilies, he talks a lot like the CBMW - ontological equality with God ordained complementary roles.

For me, he was clearer than John Piper or Wayne Grudem. The homilies helped me understand the Piper and Grudem arguments better.

I think that Grudem and Piper were a bit difficult when I first tried to read them, since I had Egalitarians telling me that the CBMW was inventing new interpretations. Reading Chrysostom showed me otherwise.

I had a lot of Egalitarian interpretations stuck in my head.

Agustin's Confessions was a life changing book.

Spurgeon's little book All of Grace touched my heart.

God bless you,
Mrs. Webfoot

Mrs. Webfoot,

Sorry it took so long to post your comment. I'm not used to this moderation thing. I was just trying to avoid the crazies after my challenge to Burleson. You should have read some of the comments made about me over at his site. You would have thought I was some sort of horrendous criminal.

As for your comment, I will have to check out the Chrysostem stuff. I have read some of his writings in relation to complementarianism, but apparently, not nearly enough. Thanks.

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Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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