Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

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How To Be Like Tim (In 10 Easy Steps)

Before we go any further I’d like to point out that the title of this article is meant entirely in jest. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to be like me, nor do I encourage anyone to walk down that road. The title just seemed so much more interesting than “10 Really Swell Books I Liked A Heap” or something of that nature. You understand, I’m sure.

Anyways, what I wanted to do was list some of the books that have been most foundational in the development of my faith. And I didn’t include the Bible as it was just far too obvious. This began as a personal exercise, but after going through all the work of scouring my dusty bookshelves and my even-more-dusty mind, I thought I’d share the results with you.

So here you have them, in no particular order.

Whatever Happened To The Gospel of Grace? (James Boice)

A book I read early in the time that I really began to seek out the differences between mainline evangelicalism and the Reformed faith. This book helped reinforce the importance of recovering our identity in light of the solas of the Reformation.

My Review

Ashamed of the Gospel (John MacArthur)

My favorite of all MacArthur’s books and the one that impacted me most. Ashamed of the Gospel showed me the danger of being complacent in my faith and encouraged me to stand strong for the Gospel, especially within the church. This is an absolute must-read that touched me deeply and is one of the few books I have read multiple times.

My Review

Decisions, Decisions (Dave Swavely)

I found this book at a time when I was struggling with fallout from Blackaby’s Experiencing God. I was looking for biblical insight on how God speaks and what role experience plays in discerning his will. This book was a biblical defense of the traditional Protestant understanding and shaped my understanding of how God speaks.

My Review

Putting Amazing Back Into Grace (Michael Horton)

Is there was any doubt in my mind about the biblical foundation of the Doctrines of Grace (ie Calvinism) they were erased by this book. I recommend this book to more people than any other as no other book has done as much to form my knowledge of and love for the principles of the Reformed faith.

My Review

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (J.I. Packer)

Still the most accessible work on the relationship of human responsibility and Divine sovereignty in evangelism, this book answered more questions than I can number. Packer explains the apparent contradiction and provides constant insight and encouragement. This shaped my view of evangelism in a Calvinistic context.

My Review

The Murder of Jesus (John MacArthur)

I read this book around the time The Passion of the Christ was released as I sought to more fully understand Jesus’ crucifixion. If everyone who watched the movie had read this book, the church would be much, much stronger. This book helped me grow in my understanding of what Jesus death accomplished.

My Review

Total Truth (Nancy Pearcey)

Total Truth is an exposure of the bifurcated worldview that has been adopted by far too many who profess to be Christians. This book caused me to examine the importance of worldview and to look deeply into my own heart to see where I had succumbed to this split between facts and values. It has caused me to live a life more consistently pleasing to God.

My Review

With Reverence & Awe (D.G. Hart and John R. Muether)

Despite being ultra-Conservative (more so than myself), Hart and Muether gave me much to think about in regards to biblical, Spirit-filled worship. They helped me realize that what is free is not most pleasing to God, but what is free within the boundaries of his will. They taught me much about worship consistent with my Reformed faith.

My Review

Selling Out The Church (Philip Kenneson and James Street)

While it seems silly to include a book I read less than two months ago, this book has often been on my mind since then. The authors helped clarify in my mind the difference between marketing and a marketing orientation within the church. They helped me understand the dangers of adopting a marketing mindset. This book is a solid refutation of the church marketing that we see in the Evangelical church.

My Review

L’Abri (Edith Schaeffer)

It may seem odd to include this book since I have never read it. But my parents, as well as many of their friends and influences, were profoundly shaped by the Schaeffers. My parents spent more than a year at various of the L’Abri locations. I could not count the number of times I heard my parents (and my mother especially) refer to Edith and Francis Schaeffer. So this book stands as a tribute to the greatest influence on those who most influenced me.

If you would like to post a similar list on your blog and want to borrow my code, send an email and I’ll let you have the code. I’d love to see which books have most influenced you.