Saturday, November 13, 2004

Five books that changed my thinking

Like the title says here’s 5 books that significantly changed by thinking – mostly earlier in my Christian life. I haven’t included the Bible, because its always changing my thinking, as it should for every Christian.

Of course, if any of you decide to read these, you’ll probably make the same mistake I make. When I hear someone raving about a book, I then read it with ridiculously high expectations, and then wonder why I’m disappointed! These books came at just the right moment for me in my walk with God – its my prayer that they may do the same for you:

The Cross He Bore – Frederick Leahy
Changed my view of my Saviour’s suffering

Until I read this book I don’t think I had begun to grasp what Christ had gone through on the cross, and in the events leading up to it, for our sake. It is a book to be read slowly and thoughtfully – a chapter at a time.

“Gethsemane is not a field of study for our intellect. It is a sanctuary of our faith. Lord, forgive us for the times we have read about Gethsemane with dry eyes.”

Often as you read it you will find yourself pausing to say, “Thank you, Lord”.

Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life – Don Whitney
Changed my view of walking with God daily

I started reading this book at a time when I had just come out of hospital. I was trying to get my Christian life back on track – hospital had been a wake up call.

Whitney sets out the biblical basis, with practical application, some of the different disciplines for living the Christian life – Bible intake, prayer, serving, evangelism, as well as some less obvious ones – silence and solitude, and fasting. Often these areas are things that we are already doing, but this provides a good refresher course as to why and how.

His gentle insistence is that if we want ‘freedom’ to grow in godliness and to express Christ-likeness in every area of our lives, and to enjoy knowing God, we need disciplined effort in these areas.

Transforming Grace – Jerry Bridges
Changed my view of Grace

This book helped me see that, despite the discipline that I had been challenged to by Don Whitney, I was still totally dependent on God for living the Christian life. It showed me the dangers of legalism – how a desire to live a life pleasing to God can become corrupted and can become a tyranny of rules and regulations and judgmentalism. It showed me the freedom that the Gospel brings. The subtitle sums it up – “Living Confidently in God’s unfailing love”.

The Holiness of God – RC Sproul
Changed my view of God

This book was a real eye-opener for me. It gave me a fresh appreciation of who my God is. It is a study of the majestic holiness of God, and how we should come carefully into his presence

Chosen By God – RC Sproul
Changed my view of salvation

Well ‘changed’ is perhaps too strong a word. Sproul clarified and explained for me what I found I had always been taught about salvation – namely that it is something God does. He elects, he redeems, he draws, he preserves. Here is a simple and clear explanation of the Reformed faith.

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