Tag Archives: The Christian Life

Books Every Guy Should Read (Pt. 3)

This part of this list focuses on Theology/Christian History/Apologetics. It’s not exhaustive by any means, but these were a few of the titles I came up with off the top of my head…

Thoughts for Young Men by J.C. Ryle
A scripture-saturated exhortation specifically aimed at young men from the timeless pen of J.C. Ryle. A must-read.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
A thoughtful, eloquently-written defense of the Christian faith. If you haven’t read it, you must.

The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
I’m about half-way through this one now, and all I can say is, Wow. Go read it for yourself. As James Boice said, “It may be a bit early to call [it] one of the classic theological works of our time. But if it does not have that status yet, it is well on its way to achieving it.”

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe
No explanation needed whatsoever.

Holiness by J.C. Ryle
A superb handling of subjects many evangelicals today wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole, including the power and depth of indwelling sin, the necessity of holy living, counting the cost of following Christ… and that’s just for starters.

Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
This is one I have yet to read myself, but I’ve heard so much about it that I have little doubt it should be on this list.

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
Despite purporting to be about public education, this Lewis book is primarily a razor-edged attack on relativism that simultaneously presents a superb argument for the necessity of recognizing objective values.

Tactics by Gregory Koukl
Essentially a game book for discussing your Christian convictions, specifically with non-believers. Koukl – who holds MA degrees in both apologetics and philosophy – introduces various techniques that will help you share your faith with others more confidently, graciously, and effectively.

All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes by Kenneth Meyers
Fantastic stuff. A thoroughly worthwhile read on how Christians should relate to pop culture.

The Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson
One of the clearest, most concise overviews of the fundamentals of the Christian faith I’ve ever read. It’s short, but filled to the brim with rich, scriptural doctrine that you can really sink your teeth into.

Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand
One of those books that, once read, is impossible to forget. And there’s no hyperbole in that statement, either.

Have any recommendations of your own? Any book you think should be featured in future installments of this list? If so, be my guest and share ‘em down in the comments section.

Book Review: The Christian Life

Sinclair B. Ferguson’s The Christian Life is likely the clearest, most concise overview of the fundamentals of the Christian faith you will ever read. It’s short, but filled to the brim with rich, scriptural doctrine that you can really sink your teeth into. And though it is considered an “introduction”, this book isn’t just for newbies; it’s something any and every Christian, regardless of age, will benefit from.

In the course of 200 pages, Dr. Ferguson manages to cover quite a bit of ground. Among other things, he touches upon the fallen nature of man, conviction of sin, election, justification, and perseverance of the saints. His approach is not only doctrinal, but practical as well. After all, theological head-knowledge is quite useless unless it is applied to our everyday lives. Likewise, you cannot live for Christ effectively if you are not first firmly rooted in the Gospel.

In Chapter 1 (Knowing is for Living”), Ferguson writes,

Most of us, by nature, are not students but more ‘practical’ types, ‘doers’ rather than ‘thinkers’. Yet both Scripture and the history of the church indicate to us that it is, generally speaking, ‘thinkers’ who make the best ‘doers’! Cast your mind over the life-stories of the men and women who have had the most practical influences on the church, or perhaps on your own life. You will discover that very few among them who were not students of Christian truth, however unsophisticatedly they went about their studies. From the greatest theologians, martyrs and intellectually gifted preachers, to those of lowliest gifts but spiritual power, all, perhaps without exception, have been students of the doctrines of the Bible, and therein lies one of the secrets of their usefulness. However paradoxical it seems to our natural minds, it is one of the facts of spiritual reality that practical christian living is based on understanding and knowledge.

One of the things I most appreciated about Ferguson’s writing is his infectious enthusiasm; his zeal for Christ is evident on literally every page. The reader cannot help but get excited at the Gospel truths presented in the book, even if he’s heard them a hundred times before. His tone throughout is wise, gentle, and warmly pastoral, more like that of a grandfather than of an academic. And the book is all the more readable for it.

I give The Christian Life my full-hearted recommendation. It’s not a “How To” manual nor a systematic theology, but rather crystal-clear exposition of the essentials of Christian doctrine. To quote J.I. Packer, “Christian beginners will get the benefit and the Lord’s older sheep, grown tough and stringy maybe, will find themselves edified and perhaps tenderized, too.”

No Less Miraculous

“… if we are Christians it can only be because God has wonderfully intervened to give us new life. Every Christian ought to think long and hard about this, because we have an inevitable and at times very worldly tendency to regard some ‘conversions’ as being more wonderful and amazing than others. ‘Miraculous’, we say when a famous celebrity is ‘born again’, and of course we are right. But the miracle involved in the new birth of John or Jane Smith; whose name never appears in either Christian or secular press, is no less miraculous, no less wonderful and no less cause of joy in heaven. It involves the same exercise of divine power and the same abundance of God’s love. What we need to do, therefore, if we would enter into the joys of our new birth is not to cast a glance over our shoulder, enviously regarding the spiritual biography of another, but to search the Scriptures to see the rich measure of grace that God pours into every new child of God!”

~ Sinclair Ferguson, The Christian Life (Ch. 6, pg. 56)