Top Books of 2016

Preparing to enter into the new year includes taking stock of the preceding months—what went well, what did not. The same goes for our reading selections. When we looked back over the previous year’s publications, we found a few that were especially good and wanted to pass them along to you. A couple of our recommendations actually came out during the latter half of 2015, but we thought they were worthy of mentioning here.

In addition, several contributors to the Helwys Society Forum were published this year. Matthew Steven Bracey and W. Jackson Watts edited The Promise of Arminian Theology: Essays in Honor of F. Leroy Forlines (Nashville: Randall House Academic, 2016). They also authored chapters for the honorary work, along with Jesse Owens, Chris Talbot, and Phillip T. Morgan. Bracey also authored two chapters in Sexuality, Gender, and the Church: A Christian Response in the New Cultural Landscape (Nashville: Welch College Press, 2016). We think that both of these works merit consideration from our readers.

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Christopher Ash, Zeal without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice (UK: The Good Book Company, 2016), 123 pages.

Christopher Ash’s excellent little book is about a very serious topic: ministry burnout. Rooted in Scripture and years of personal experience and observation, Ash offers the reader practical insight into how burnout happens, and how to avoid it while offering our lives in sacrificial service to God. Ash, a British pastor and author, provides an antidote against the type of pride and ignorance that often leads to burnout by sharing some key truths about human nature and keeping our work in spiritual perspective. This is a great book that should gain wide readership.

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Zack Eswine, The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), 271 pages.

Eswine’s award-winning book was unlike 99% of ministry-related books one will find on the shelves. It was difficult to read, though it rewards the careful reader who wrestles with the spiritual insights within. Though challenging, it provokes us to embrace the strange work of pastoral ministry as an extension of our own daily walk with the Savior.

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Benjamin T. Quinn and Walter R. Strickland II, Every Waking Hour: An Introduction to Work and Vocation for Christians (Bellingham: Lexham, 2016), 115 pages.

We spend the better portion of our days and even our lives working, but few consider how they can honor God through their vocations. Many Christians see work as a distraction or necessary evil just to earn income.

In Every Waking Hour, Benjamin Quinn and Walter Strickland help the reader see the theological connection between what we do on Sunday morning in the pew and what we do on Monday morning at our jobs. Discipleship is not reserved for Sundays; it is lived out in the normal rhythms of life that include school, work, and communities. Naturally, a Christian is involved in his or her work on a daily basis. This bridge allows for those in the church to integrate faith and work. This book is great for anyone seeking to make Gospel applications to their everyday work.

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Stephen J. Wellum, God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ (Wheaton: Crossway, 2016), 496 pages.

Christmastime reminds us of the Incarnation in all of its beauty and complexity. Stephen J. Wellum’s wonderful new work God the Son Incarnate helps us work through these complexities from Biblical, historical, and philosophical perspectives, and leads us to worship the Triune God. The depth and breadth of the work is a significant part of what makes it remarkable. Wellum does not merely assume the plausibility of the Incarnation or the Church’s teaching on the doctrine. Instead, he attempts to demonstrate the plausibility of the Incarnation from Biblical, historical, and philosophical perspectives. The result is that the reader not only grows in his or her understanding of the Bible and Church history on the subject, but also gains the necessary confidence to explain, defend, and glory in the Incarnation.

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Honorable Mentions:

Russell Moore, Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel (Nashville: B&H, 2015), 224 pages.

Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel (Wheaton: Crossway, 2016), 128 pages.

Author: The Helwys Society

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