Student Reading for the Summer

Student Reading for the Summer

I am doing some guided reading for a couple of students at Cornerstone this summer.  This is the list and accompanying rationale:

Martyn Lloyd Jones, Preaching and Preachers.    A book that is both inspirational and flawed.   Any volume which uses the term 'abomination' has to be worth reading in an era where being 'hurt,' 'offended' and humourless are virtually compulsory evangelical assets and have the power of Kantian imperatives to crush all opposition and send even the bold and the brave running for evangelically correct cover.  Seriously, to preach well, one must be excited about preaching.  This book can help with that -- even if I think the whole 'unction' business is just so much misty-eyed Welsh mysticism.   Cue complaints from all the Welsh people who are hurt and offended by that one.

Peter Adam, Speaking God's Words.  I am still convinced that one of the major weaknesses in modern preaching is our failure to have a theology of preaching.  That is why so many sermons can end up as either lectures or conversations or stand-up routines.  Peter Adam does a brilliant job of rooting the act of preaching in the doctrine of God.  Knowing what we are doing will inevitably shape how we do it.

Andrew Purves, Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition.  A superb book which examines pastoral practice through the lens of significant practitioners of the past.  No chapters on male grooming, few if any references to 'culture', and no linguistic abominations ending in '-ional' anywhere.  Indeed, very helpful all round.

Guy Prentiss Waters, How Jesus Runs the Church.  A first class explication and defence of Presbyterian polity.   If one cannot have God as Father without also having the church as mother, then ecclesiology is important.  Guy Waters' book is a great introduction to the principles, processes and technical vocabulary of Presbyterian church government.

J Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism.  Sets out the issues at stake between revealed, supernatural Christianity and everything else in a concise, clear and unequivocal fashion.

Andrew Hoffecker, Charles Hodge.  A beautifully written biography of a delightful Presbyterian leader and hero.   This has become my favourite Christian biography of all time.  I wish I had written it; no -- I wish I was even remotely capable of writing it.  As I am not, reading it is the next best thing.

Various, The Valley of Vision.  Leading in public prayer is a dying art, partly due to the blurring of the public and the private, partly due to a fear of performance (though performances can use crass language as well as the beautiful), partly due to a loss of an exalted view of God and a reverence in worship, partly due to not understanding what public prayer is meant to be. I have a suspicion that skinny jeans on Sunday do not help either. Reading well-crafted prayers in preparation for leading in prayer is one answer to this.   I might also suggest the Book of Common Prayer, Samuel Miller's volume on leading in public prayer, and Matthew Henry's A Method of Prayer as well.