In 2017, I set a goal to read 30 books in one year. Holy Saint Mary! I expected to fail miserably. I ended up reading 49 (so proud of me)! And a big reason why was because I dedicated time looking for books that interested me. So, I wanted to share with you books that are coming in 2018 that have peaked my interest. This year, I plan to focus on reading more nonfiction, biographies, and theology.
So, here are my top 5 most anticipated in Christian non-fiction.
The biblical writer, Paul, is one of the most detailed figures in the New Testament. We know more about him than probably all of the other New Testament authors combined minus Peter, maybe. But detailed enough to write a whole biography? “Challenge accepted,” says N.T. Wright (the N.T. stands for Night Train).
N.T. Wright, who wrote a not-so-simple book called Simply Christian and who probably knows more about the person of Paul than anyone else on the face of the earth, is coming out with yet another awkwardly thick, controversial, and probably worthwhile read on the life of Saul of Tarsus. I am looking forward to the extra-biblical source material he pulls from to round out the details and pad that near-500 page book coming out at the end of February.
2. Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind by Michael Massing
Erasmus who? Exactly. Fatal Discord explores the historical rivalry between two heavyweight spiritual leaders, Erasmus of Rotterdam and friar Martin Luther of Wittenberg, in early 16th century Europe.
“In Fatal Discord, Michael Massing seeks to restore Erasmus to his proper place in the Western tradition. The conflict between him and Luther, he argues, forms a fault line in Western thinking—the moment when two enduring schools of thought, Christian humanism and evangelical Christianity, took shape.”
I am excited for this story. Today, Christian humanism and evangelical Christianity are still at odds in the west.
The center of Christianity is shifting to the east because now Christianity is spreading faster in places like China and India than anywhere in else.
I know very little about how Chinese Christianity has taken root in the mainland. But I have heard of the history of violence and persecution against Christians, particularly during Mao’s reign.
This is a martyrdom story about a woman named Lin Zhao, a Christian, a journalist and, the only openly defiant Chinese citizen against communism in that time period.
Recently, many of her writings have survived, which is incredible considering she wrote often on her clothes with her own blood!
4. Introducing Medieval Biblical Interpretation: The Senses of Scripture in Premodern Exegesis
Exegesis is my jam. So are the Middle Ages. When you combine the two, you get on my top 5 most anticipated Christian nonfiction book list.
I think one of the most important ways to study and sharpen our reading of Scripture is by referencing back and learning from our past. How did people view the Bible back then? How did they interpret the text? And how did Scripture influence the historical events of those days? Maybe we can learn from their successes and failures so that we do not make the same mistakes today.
Let’s get medieval in 2018.
Still Evangelical explores a very contemporary issue within the evangelical body of believers and churches: what do we do with the label “evangelical” moving forward?
Today, evangelicalism is under duress. It is a label that polarizes politically, socially, and theologically. And now, many evangelical leaders are abandoning the label but not necessarily redefining their beliefs, citing the massive baggage and misunderstanding that comes with identifying now with evangelicalism.
I am fascinated with where all of this is taking us as a culture and as the church.
Many of the contributors in this collaborative book are well known scholars and thought leaders in the evangelical sphere. I am hopeful for their wisdom and candor.
So, there’s my top 5 in Christian non-fiction. I’d love to hear yours!