I’m not quite sure how many books I read this year, but it is probably in the neighborhood of 80-100. I recently combed through the list, looking for the books I read in 2008 that were also published in 2008. And as I did that, I built a list of my favorites. Now do note that these are my favorite books. This is different than attempting to say in some objective manner that these are the best books published in 2008. No. Instead, this is simply a list of the books that, for one reason or another, I most enjoyed.
So here they are. The top 8 of ’08. In each case I’ve linked to my review of the title. With the exception of the final title, they are in no particular order.
Don’t Stop Believing by Michael Wittmer looks at rigid conservatism and loose postmodernism, attempting to find a third way that cuts through the middle, holding fast to sound Christian theology while also emphasizing love and action.
Crazy Love by Francis Chan, though targeted primarily at a younger audience, is a powerful challenge to those “who are bored with what American Christianity offers. It is for those who don’t want to plateau, who would rather die before their convictions do.” It is a call to emphasize obedience far higher than comfort.
The Reason for God by Tim Keller is Keller’s long-awaited major release–one of two this year. It is written specifically to challenge postmodern skeptics. It carefully and patiently answers the objections of their skeptical friends and does so with grace and in a way consistent with the Bible.
Christless Christianity by Michael Horton shows that much of what passes for Christianity today is really anything but; it is Christianity without Christ. This book is a call for the church to return to its biblical foundations and to remain true to those convictions. It is a clarion call and one that Christians would do well to heed.
Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns deals with a tough subject and one which we all have opportunity to practice. He eschews the easy, pat answers and looks to the Bible to provide God’s wisdom on how and when we are to forgive. Relying on his experience as a pastor and on his deep knowledge of Scripture, he provides what is a logical, well-illustrated book on the subject.
Love or Die by Alexander Strauch focuses on Revelation 2:2-6, verses where Christ praises the church at Ephesus for their love and discernment but exhorts them to be marked by love. Strauch turns these verses on the reader, encouraging Christians to view love as a distinguishing mark of the Christian. Had Carson not written his book (below) this would have been my top pick.
And here is my favorite book of the year:
Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D.A. Carson is D.A. Carson’s tribute to his father, a pastor who labored for many years in relative obscurity. Tom Carson was an ordinary pastor, a man who struggled with depression and who saw his ministry bear visible little fruit, but he was a man who remained faithful and who served the Lord with all his heart. This is a must-read book for anyone in ministry.
Finally, I want to make special mention of the ESV Study Bible. The more I use it, the more I come to love it.
Related: here are my Top 7 Books of 2007.