Ten Favorite Reads of 2011

Thinking through my favorite books read in 2011, I decided to reserve a special category for great books written by good friends:  Bonhoeffer and Business Ethics by Dr. Walton Padelford, and The Gospel and the Mind, by Dr. Brad Green, and the local church application chapter of The Lord’s Supper by Dr. Ray Van Neste. It felt funny trying to rank these books alongside those written by strangers, because in addition to benefitting from their content, I rejoiced in the culmination of the hard work of beloved brothers as I read. So, I have kept them separate, and highly recommend each one. Now, to the list:

10.  Evangelical Spirituality, James Gordon

A good survey of evangelicals from the eighteenth century on, and how they pursued the Christian life.

9. Age of Opportunity, Paul David Tripp

I have never raised a teenager, but I bet this book will be a great help whenever I do.

8. Keep in Step with the Spirit, J.I. Packer

J.I. Packer clearly, graciously, faithfully lays out the biblical teaching of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This should be required reading on Christian living.

7. Angels in the Architecture: A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth, Douglas Jones and Douglas Wilson

A thought-provoking collection of essays about various aspects of the medieval Christian worldview and what we can learn from it. I’d like to read it again.

6. Carry On, Jeeves! P.G. Wodehouse

Humorous stories about a supremely-competent butler named Jeeves who spends his life saving his inept employer from one scrape after another.

5. Tempted & Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ, Russell Moore

A thoughtful, well-written meditation on the Temptations of Christ and what they mean for us, written by the Dean of my seminary. Dr. Moore has helped me tremendously in my own study, application, and communication of the Bible over the past several years.

4. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan (audio)

Suspense-filled page-turner about an ordinary man swept up into a plot to begin a world war. Buchan was a British statesmen in addition to talented writer; would like to read (or listen to) more of his stories in 2012.

3. That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis

A few folks who know a lot more about these kinds of things than me consider this one of the greatest novels in the English language. It drew me in and didn’t let me go for some weeks after I finished it, though I’m quite sure I only picked up about half of all Lewis was communicating in it. Among other things, there are some powerful insights into the drive for human approval (and how weak and irrational such behavior really is).

2. The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis

Makes my heart ache for my real Home just thinking about it.

1. George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the 18th Century Awakening, Arnold Dallimore

I had heard for years about how good this biography is, and it did not disappoint. This is a big, two-volume work, and I only read the first volume in December, but have already excitedly begun the second. Whitefield is a giant of church history, considered one of the most remarkable preachers of the Gospel since the apostles. Aside from the wonderful content of this book, I enjoyed knowing that the author was the pastor of a small Baptist church in Canada, who just kept plugging away at researching and writing for thirty years until the job was complete. The end result is a masterpiece.


About Eric Smith

Sinner saved by the grace of Jesus, husband of Candace, father of Coleman and Crockett, West Tennessean, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church, student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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3 Responses to Ten Favorite Reads of 2011

  1. Scott Van Neste says:

    I have been hoping you would put out this kind of list! (I need you smart people to tell me what I need to be reading.) The Whitefield bio was great! It is well worth the time investment. Tempted and Tried was good also. Dr. Moore has a way of crafting stories and words. I need to check out the Buchan book. I am not familiar with him but it sounds interesting.

  2. Eric Smith says:

    Hey Scott! So good to hear from you. I hope y’all had a great Christmas.

    I listened to the Buchan book on “Librivox.org” a website your brother told me about, where volunteers read aloud books in the public domain. The quality of some books on this site is better than others, but the guy who read 39 Steps was great! I listened to it as I did other little tasks, and enjoyed it a lot. If I’m not mistaken, Buchan was a faithful Presbyterian, influential statesman, and prolific writer of biogrpahies, stories, and maybe other works too. Would like to learn more about him.

  3. Scott Van Neste says:

    Looks like Amazon has a free kindle version of this one (39 Steps) and maybe some others.

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