Monday, November 05, 2007

100 books to read

This post is also located in nicer format here

Indiana Wesleyan University Religion Department

Recommended Reading List , Fall 2007

Procedure in compiling this list. In the fall of 2006 Religion Professors were asked by student Jason Farrell to recommend books all graduates should have read or should read in their early years of ministry. Professors could list any number of books they desired to list. A combined list of books was produced that year. In the fall of 2007 William Shelor took up the list again. With assistance from Michael Berens and Keith Drury as advisor Will took that combined list to 17 of the 19 religion professors at the time (the group included Steve Lennox, Dean of the chapel and Bud Bence, VPAA). The 17 professors were given the entire list of books and asked to assign 30 points to various books on the list showing their preferences for reading these books (maximum 3 points per book). The results were collected and the values were compiled to produce this list.

Title Author Number of Points

5-Star Books
Foster, Richard Celebration of Discipline 29
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich The Cost of Discipleship 25.5
Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity 19.5
Brother Lawrence Practicing the Presence of God 15.5
Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Return of the Prodigal Son 15
Outler, Albert C. John Wesley's Sermons 14
Tozer, A. W. The Pursuit of God 14
Augustine of Hippio The Confessions 11.5
Barth, Karl Dogmatics in Outline 11
Chambers, Oswald My Utmost for His Highest 11
Niebuhr, H. Richard Christ and Culture 11

4-Star Books
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Life Together 9.5
Collins, Kenneth A Real Christian- The Life of John Wesley 9.5
Phillips, J. B. Your God is Too Small 9.5
Kempis, Thomas a The Imitation of Christ 9
Dayton, Donald Discovering an Evangelical Heratige 7.5
Drury, Keith There is no I in Church 7.5
Smith, Hannah Whitall The Christian Secret of a Happy Life 7.5
Bounds, E. M. Power through Prayer 7
Nouwen, Henri J.M. The Road to Daybreak 7
Wesley, John The Journal of John Wesley 7
Chesterton, G. K. Orthodoxy 6.5
Law, William A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life 6.5
Lewis, C. S. The Screwtape Letters 6.5

3-Star Books
Bunyan, John The Pilgrim's Progress 6
Luther, Martin The Bondage of the Will 6
Packer, J.I. Knowing God 6
Calvin, John Institutes of the Christian Religion 5.5
Gonzales, Justo L. The History of the Church 5.5
Kierkegaard, Soren Fear and Trembling 5.5
Lewis, C. S. Miracles 5.5
Peterson, Eugene A Long Obedience in the Same Direction 5.5
Willard, Dallas The Spirit of the Disciplines 5.5
Athanasius Treatise on the Incarnation 5
Edwards, Gene A Tale of Three Kings: A Study in Brokenness 5
Taylor, Richard The Disciplined Life 5
Trueblood, D. Elton Company of the Committed 5
Willard, Dallas The Divine Conspiracy 5
Bruegermann, Walter Theology of the Old Testament 4.5
Hauerwas, Stanley Resident Aliens 4.5
King, Martin Luther Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail 4.5
Lewis, C. S. The Great Divorce 4.5
Lewis, C. S. A Grief Observed 4.5
Lewis, C. S. The Problem of Pain 4.5
Pascal, Blaise Pensees 4.5
Sheldon, Charles M. In His Steps 4.5

2-Star Books
Baillie, John A Diary of Private Prayer 4
Finney, Charles G Lectures on Revival 4
John of the Cross Dark Night of the Soul 4
Tozer, A. W. A Treasury of A. W. Tozer 4
Wesley, Charles A song for the Poor: Hymns by Charles Wesley 4
Lewis, C. S. The Chronicles of Narnia 3.5
Stott, John Christian Basics: Invitation to Discipleship 3.5
Anonymous The Way of a Pilgrim 3
Bruce, A. B. The Training of the Twelve 3
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor The Brother Karamazov 3
Ignatius of Loyola The Spiritual Exercises 3
MacDonald, George The Gifts of the Child Christ 3
Marshall, Catherine Something More 3
Nee, Watchman The Normal Christian Life 3
Spurgeon, Charles Morning by Morning 3
Peterson, Eugene Eat This Book 3
Tozer, A. W. Knowledge of the Holy 3
The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church 3
1 star books
Drury, Keith With Unveiled Faces 2.5
Kierkegaard, Soren Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing 2.5
Paton, Alan Cry the Beloved Country 2.5
Taylor, Jeremy Holy Living and Holy Dying 2.5
Bettenson, Henry Documents of the Christian Church 2
Gonzales, Justo L. Essential Theological Terms 2
MacDonald, George Discovering the Character of God 2
MacDonald, Gordon Ordering your Private World 2
Milton, John Paradise Lost/Paradise Regained 2
Murray, Andrew With Christ in the School of Prayer 2
Andrews, Lancelot Private Devotions 2
Augustine The Enchiridion 2
Emil Brunnen The Mediator 2
Hugo, Victor Les Miserables 2
John of Damascus On the Orthodox Faith 2
Nanzianzas, Gregory 5 Theological Orations 2
Hauerwas, Stanley Theology Without Foundations 1.5
Jones, E. Stanley The Christ of Every Road 1.5
Buttrick, George Prayer 1
Chesterton, G. K. Poetry 1
Chrysostom, John On the Priesthood 1
Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy 1
Day, Dorothy The Long Loneliness 1
Edwards, Jonathan A Treatise on Religious Affections 1
Edwards, Jonathan The End for which God Created the Earth 1
Luther, Martin Freedom of a Christian 1
Merton, Thomas The Sign of Jonas 1
Murray, Andrew Abide in Christ 1
Schaeffer, Francis True Spirituality 1
Schleiermacher, Friedrich Speeches on Religion to its Cultured Despisers 1
Staff, Frank Polarities of Human Existance in Biblical Perspective 1
Bainton, Roland There I stand 1
Chesterton, G. K. Francis of Assisi 1
Cyprian On the Unity of the Church 1
Dayton, Donald Theological Roots of Pentecostalism 1
Platcher, William Callings 1

Ideas for future iterations of this list. A future student might consider using these results to have each professor re-rate the books on the list. For instance, two professors have already remarked, “Celebration of Discipline is a good book, but of all the books a student might read perhaps should not be at the very top of the list.” A future re-rating by professors may improve this sort of valuing.

FOR COMMENTING..... what book would YOU add?


Eric Roemer said...

I disagree with those two professors, and think that Celebration of the Disciplines should most definately be at the top of the list.

I would add the book "Moral Man and Immoral Society" by Reinhold Niebuhr. If a student could first find a copy then wade through it, they would be much better for it.

::athada:: said...

For American Pastors:
"The Freedom of Simplicity" (Foster)

Though obviously not quite as broad and popular as his "Celebration of Discipline". Still a beauty.

Michael R. Cline said...

Helmut Thelicke--A Little Exercise for Young Theologians.

Nicholas Lash-- Theology on the Way to Emmaus

Steve Deneff-- More Than Forgiveness

John Mark said...

I'm surprised that Wesley's Plain Account was not mentioned, as no less than Dallas Willard said it is the best explanation of entire sanctification ever done.
I would also recommend any of the brief but powerful books by Dr. Kinlaw, and John Oswalts Called to be Holy.

Ben Robinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Robinson said...

I knowing I'm giving away my own bias in saying so, but if you recommend Niebuhr you have to recommend Yoder and Hauerwas. I'm actually a little astonished that only Hauerwas is mentioned and it's in the 1-star list. As far as I'm concerned these authors are mandatory reads for any person entering the ministry.

Another book that somewhat stands alone is Richard Hays' "Moral Vision of the New Testament." (Honestly, I'm not just trying to promote Duke :) ).

Another suggestion: I skimmed this list quickly but I recall mainly seeing books written by white, western males. Christine Pohl at Asbury has a wonderful book called "Making Room". I would recommend this book to any Christian.

I also think adding books by black theologians is a must. Howard Thurman has a small book called "Jesus and the Disinherited" that contains much of the sensibilities of black theology. Similarly, as soon as J. Kameron Carter's books are made available I would recommend any thing he writes wholeheartedly. Look for "Race: A Theological Account" to be published this coming May.

Oh, and I'm very glad to see Bonhoeffer's "Life Together" on this list, but I would mark this as a must read for all theological students. Reading Bonhoeffer while placing him in the context of Nazi Germany makes this book specifically incredibly poignant. In many ways I think this books lays the foundation for what people like Yoder and Hauerwas have done recently.

cityfrog said...

I was really surprised that Moltmann didn't appear.

Especially formative for me was Christine Pohl's "Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition" so I'd throw that in the ring.

Josh said...

27/100. I'm failing here.

I'd add much of what NT Wright has to offer.

Keith Drury said...

Perhaps I should have also asked what books would you DROP?

The way this list developed was simply asking each professor casually which books he or she would suggest then from that list the larger list of maybe 200 books were slimmed down by spreading points. When I saw the final list I realized right away there were critical books missing while some less critical ones made the list. If we stay with "100 books to read" we'll have to kick one off for every one we add... which I suspect we'll do if some student gets motivated to take this to the next level...

What strikes me is how piety-oriented our reading list is, (which is what one would expect from a Wesleyan school.) I bet next time we do the list we'll drop maybe 25 of these at least... and add 25 others... thanks for suggesting what those added books should be--keep 'em coming.

Glen Robinson said...

I would add Spurgeon's "Lectures to My Students". I wish I would have read this in college.