Recommended reading

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Recommended books














J I Packer – Knowing God

Henri Nouwen – Return of the Prodigal Son

Dietrich Bonhoffer – The Cost of Discipleship

John Dickson – Investigating Jesus

Ashley Barker – Make Poverty Personal

Marva Dawn – To Walk and Not Faint

Marva Dawn – Being Well When We’re Ill

Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne – Red Letter Christianity

Dallas Willard – Renovation of the Heart

G K Chesterton – The Everlasting Man

Tim Chester – A Meal With Jesus

Timothy Lane – How People Change

Tim Kellor – Prayer

Will Renshaw – Marvellous Melbourne and Spiritual Power


Discovering faith

reason for godTim Keller – The Reason for God

As the pastor of an inner-city church in New York City, Timothy Keller has compiled a list of the most frequently voiced ‘doubts’ sceptics bring to his church, as well as the most important reasons for faith. In The Reason For God, he addresses each doubt and explains each reason. Keller uses literature, philosophy, real-life conversations, and reasoning to explain how faith in a Christian God is a soundly rational belief, held by thoughtful people of intellectual integrity with a deep compassion for those who truly want to know the truth.

mere christianityC.S Lewis – Mere Christianity

In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, one of the most important Christian writers of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War Two from his three previous books The Case for ChristianityChristian Behavior, and Beyond PersonalityMere Christianity provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.

augustine confessionsAugustine – Confessions

Augustine tells of his wrestlings to master his sexual drive, his rare ascent from a humble Algerian farm to the edge of the corridors of high power at the imperial court of Milan, and his renunciation of secular ambition and marriage as he recovered the faith that his mother had taught him. It was in a Milan garden that Augustine finally achieved the act of will to Christian conversion, which he compared to a lazy man in bed finally deciding it is time to get up and face the day.

simply christianTom Wright – Simply Christian

Simply Christian is essential reading for anyone who wants to consider the real fundamentals of Christianity or is intrigued by its claims about the place of justice, beauty and love in our daily lives. Written in a lively and accessible style, though rooted in solid scholarship, this book describes the exciting relevance of the Bible and the Christian story for the contemporary world.


 Questions about suffering

how long
D.A. Carson – How Long O Lord?

This clear and accessible treatment of key biblical themes related to human suffering and evil is written by one of the most respected evangelical biblical scholars alive today. Carson brings together a close, careful exposition of key biblical passages with helpful pastoral applications.


problem of painC.S. Lewis – The Problem of Pain

For centuries people have been tormented by one question above all – ‘If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow his creatures to suffer pain?’ And what of the suffering of animals, who neither deserve pain nor can be improved by it? The greatest Christian thinker of our time sets out to disentangle this knotty issue. With his signature wealth of compassion and insight, C.S. Lewis offers answers to these crucial questions and shares his hope and wisdom to help heal a world hungry for a true understanding of human nature.

Postmodernism, secularism, faith and doubt

atonement for a sinlessAlan Mann – Atonement for a ‘Sinless’ Society

“Sin doesn’t really exist as a serious idea in modern life,” wrote the journalist Bryan Appleyard. He is not alone in his views. Sin has become just as tainted, polluted and defiled in the postmodern mind as the world itself indicates. Atonement for a ‘Sinless’ Society is about an encounter between two stories: the story of the postmodern, post-industrialized, post-Christian ‘sinless’ self and the story of Atonement played out in the Passion Narrative. Alan Mann charts a way through the apparent impasse between a story that supposedly relies on sin and guilt to become meaningful and one that fails to recognize the plight of humanity as portrayed in this way. He shows that the biblical narrative needs to be reread in the light of this emerging story so that it can speak meaningfully and sufficiently to an increasingly ‘sinless’ society.

the road
Mark Sayers – The Road

This book examines the influence of Jack Kerouac on Western Culture and the Church from a Christian perspective.

We live in a culture of the road-restless for adventure, glorifying experience, seeing life as a journey. Dissatisfied with where we are, we are constantly on the move to redefine our sense of home.

Why do we see the world like this? How did we come to believe that our best chance of finding home is to be constantly moving?

Jack Kerouac was one of America’s original proponents of the culture of the road, documenting his famous road trip across America in his classic work, On the Road. The standards he set forth in that book have influenced Western culture and church so much that we still read his book, echo his philosophies, and make movies in the vein of his iconic road trip.

Australian cultural commentator Mark Sayers examines how Kerouac’s influence has shaped Western traditions, our cultural identity, and the church. By analyzing our culture of the road and its influence on us, he leads us to understanding what it means to have a true sense of home.

For another review read Peter Carolane’s speech at the launch of this book. [LINK]

the gospel in a pluralistLeslie Newbigin – The Gospel in a Pluralist Society

How does the gospel relate to a pluralist society? What is the Christian message in a society marked by religious pluralism, ethnic diversity, and cultural relativism? Should Christians encountering today’s pluralist society concentrate on evangelism or on dialogue? How does the prevailing climate of opinion affect, perhaps infect, Christians’ faith?

These kinds of questions are addressed in this noteworthy book by Lesslie Newbigin. A highly respected Christian leader and ecumenical figure, Newbigin provides a brilliant analysis of contemporary (secular, humanist, pluralist) culture and suggests how Christians can more confidently affirm their faith in such a context.

While drawing from scholars such as Michael Polanyi, Alasdair MacIntyre, Hendrikus Berkhof, Walter Wink, and Robert Wuthnow, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society is suited not only to an academic readership. This heartfelt work by a missionary pastor and preacher also offers to Christian leaders and laypeople some thoughtful, helpful, and provocative reflections.


Reading the Bible

how to read the bibleGordon Fee – How to Read the Bible for all Its Worth

Understanding the Bible isn’t for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. The Bible is accessible. It’s meant to be read and comprehended by everyone from armchair readers to seminary students. A few essential insights into the Bible can clear up a lot of misconceptions and help you grasp the meaning of Scripture and its application to your 21st-century life.


the DNA of the BibleMike Breen – The DNA of the Bible

For many, Scripture falls into the same category as Shakespeare: valued and enjoyed, but seldom understood. Scripture is not, however, out of reach. The ability to identify the main themes of any passage is a skill you can learn, even as you seek to apply its truth to your own life. Covenant and Kingdom: The DNA of the Bible provides guidance for the path it will take to develop, to the fullest, your own individual relationship with God.

What happens when you die?

surprised by hopeN.T. Wright – Surprised by Hope

In Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church, top-selling author and Anglican bishop, N.T. Wright tackles the biblical question of what happens after we die and shows how most Christians get it wrong. We do not “go to” heaven; we are resurrected and heaven comes down to earth–a difference that makes all of the difference to how we live on earth. Following N.T. Wright’s resonant exploration of a life of faith in Simply Christian, the award-winning author whom Newsweek calls “the world’s leading New Testament scholar” takes on one of life’s most controversial topics, a matter of life, death, spirituality, and survival for everyone living in the world today.