Reading

The Risky Upside of Missionary Biographies

By M.R. Conrad (Reposted from Rooted Thinking)

Eighteen-year-old Sarah Hall curled up in her New England home, her legs tucked beneath her voluminous 1700’s skirt.1 Neither the chill of the room nor the hardness of the wooden chair distracted her from her book. She barely noticed her younger brothers and sisters as they noisily went about their business in the common room. The hardbound volume, stiff with newness, recounted the life of the recently deceased missionary Samuel Mills.

What Missionary Biographies Did to Sarah Hall

Soon after finishing the book, Sarah wrote to a friend: “I have just completed the perusal of the life of Samuel J. Mills; and never shall I forget the emotions of my heart while following thus the footsteps of this devoted missionary. I have almost caught his spirit, and been ready to exclaim: Oh! that I, too, could suffer privations, hardships, and discouragements, and even find a watery grave, for the sake of bearing the news of salvation to the poor heathen!”2

Reading missionary biographies ignited Sarah’s passion for serving God. What she read would shape her future life and ministry. This young woman caught the spirit of Mills, launching her first into local ministry and then foreign missions.

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A “Must-Read” Booklist For Those Who Want To Study Theology (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

This post will be the last set of recommendations for those whom one might call “beginning students.” I had said that I would do Church history and biography, but first let me say something about the apologists Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis. Surveying some of the works of these men does not mean that I endorse everything about their methodology or substance, but the importance of their work speaks for itself.

Francis Schaeffer wrote small but thoughtful books about worldview. His style requires a little effort to adapt to, but his concerns are of great relevance today. The first works by him that you should seek out are those which comprise what is known as The Trilogy. Those are, The God Who Is There, Escape From Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent. They can now be purchased in a single volume. These books deal with the consequences of abandoning Truth and Reason, and the reality of God. Yes, you’ll have to put your thinking caps on.

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A “Must-Read” Booklist for Those Who Want to Study Theology (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

I said in the last post that I would continue where I left off, so let me say something about books covering other aspects of Systematic Theology first.

The doctrine of man and sin require some strong representation in these days. Since the books by Ryrie, Stott. Lightner and Boice already mentioned treat these issues well I shall not add any other books to the list with the exception of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s The Plight of Man and the Power of God, and Jeremiah Burroughs’s The Evil of Evils. Yes he’s a Puritan, but he is one of the easiest Puritans to read so there’s no excuse. Thomas Watson (another Puritan!) wrote a small book called The Mischief of Sin which I also recommend. For those who want to think through the craziness that is gender and body politics today and want to be grounded in truth I recommend Nancey Pearcey’s Love Thy Body.

What about the Church? I don’t much care for Mark Dever, but his little book on The Church is good. If a person wanted one book on the doctrine of the church I would direct them to Robert Saucy, The Church in God’s Program.

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A “Must-Read” Booklist For Those Who Want To Study Theology (Part 1)

I received this question recently:

Thank you for all the material you put out. I have benefitted quite a bit. Do you have a list of books/reading that you would recommend as “must read” for someone wanting to grow theologically? I am a part-time worship pastor and full-time elementary music teacher. Previous experience as lay/part-time church planter, youth pastor, and young adult pastor. No seminary, relatively studied, conservative theologically.

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Harry Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

"A leader who is a reader places a priority on learning. Learning takes time. For many in leadership, the crowded calendar has already squeezed out every available moment. So, a leader who is a reader is one who has made learning a priority and marked off time to read." - F&T

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