Observations Reviews

Books of The Year

What with one thing and another, I’ve not read as many books as usual this year and I’ve reviewed even fewer. But for the record; here is a list of book reviews that have appeared on Kouyanet in 2012.

I told you I haven’t written many reviews this year.

Other books which I have read, which I should have reviewed include Simply Jesus – Who He Was, What He Did, Why it Matters and How God Became King – Getting to the heart of the Gospels by Tom Wright. These two explore broadly similar themes about the identity and work of Christ and both deserve a wide readership.

There are a heap of other books, too numerous to mention, which I should have reviewed at the time and which will now go un-remarked.

The first is a bit of a cheat. I haven’t actually finished Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church? yet. But I’m two thirds of the way through and I am convinced that it is one of the most important books I’ve read in a while. The title more or less tells you what the theme of the book is. Though obviously focussed on the situation in the US, this book has a great deal to say to the Church in the UK too. Anyone involved in leading overseas mission from the UK should read this.

The second book that I would highlight is one that I’ve quoted from a number of times, Mark Noll’s Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. This is, perhaps, the best overview of Church history that I have come across. By focussing on twelve pivotal events in the past two millenia, Noll manages to catch the main social and religious currents that have shaped the Church. Like most books of it’s type, it is distressingly Eurocentri; one day someone will write a history of the Church which gives greater emphasis to the historic churches in Asia.

I find it hard to choose a best book I’ve read this year; but if pushed, I would name The Good God: Enjoying Father, Son and Spirit by Mike Reeves. This is an excellent little book which gives a superb introduction to what it means that God is Trinity. It is a very short book, but engaging and deeply through provoking. I can’t think of a reason why any Christian would not read this book, but don’t just take my word for it…

Recent years have seen a number of books designed for a lay readership that sweep the doctrine of the Trinity off the dusty shelves of irrelevance, helping us see that God’s trinity radically shapes every part of Christian faith and life. Here is one of the most lively, readable and stimulating to appear”. –Jeremy Begbie, Thomas A. Langford Research Professor at Duke Divinity School, Duke University

A final honourable mention for the year goes to The Holy Trinity: Understanding God’s Life by Stephen Holmes. This is a longer and weightier book on the Trinity, which is aimed squarely at Theology Students. However, if you have read and enjoyed The Good God, you might profit from having your mind stretched a little further.

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