I’ve read some excellent books this year and made notes about quite a few of them on this blog. Just for reference, here are some of the best (listed chronologically, by the date on which I reviewed them):
- Salvation to the Ends of the Earth
- Beyond Empire
- Joining in with the Spirit
- Did the First Christians Worship Jesus
- Remaking a Broken World
- Getting the Reformation Wrong
- The God Who is Triune
- How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind
- Landmark Essays in Mission and World Christianity
The careful reader of this blog may well note that there are two books missing from this list; two books I thoroughly enjoyed and which I consider to be extremely important.
The first is Kingdom Without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity by Miriam Adeney. This is undoubtedly the best book available today on the subject of the world church. You can get more facts and figures from The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity and Lamin Sanneh’s Whose Religion is Christianity?: The Gospel Beyond the West gives you a more challenging theological read. But no one captures the growth and dynamism of the world church better than Adeney does here. This is a book chock full of challenging and heart warming stories from around the world, which will leave you stunned as you read it.
If you feel disappointed that you weren’t able to attend the Lausanne meetings in Cape Town, don’t worry about it. Buy this book and read it; it will give you as good an insight into the reality of what God is doing around the world as attending a congress. Not only that, you will be able to sleep in your own bed and save a lot of travelling time. Seriously, if you haven’t read this book, then you should! You can see my original comments here.
My other choice is the wonderful Mission of Gods People The (Biblical Theology for Life) by Chris Wright. On the surface, this is a book about how Christians should play a role in God’s mission. However, if mission is the purpose of the Church, then a book about personal involvement must be a book about discipleship and obedience – and this is exactly what Chris Wright has provided us with. It is a tough, gritty book about what it means to live as a Christian in the world today. If I were running a discipleship group, or a church small group, I would seriously consider making this the text for a year’s study. It is quite simply the best discipleship book I have read in many years. Once again, if you haven’t read it, you should. (My original review is here.)
These two books are life changing and extremely important. I wish more British church leaders and opinion formers would read stuff like this and get a grasp of what God is doing around the world, rather than being continually inward looking and increasingly irrelevant.