Saturday I made yet another trip to that Mecca of Southern California, Archives Theological Bookstore. There is nothing in the world quite like hunting through shelf after shelf of bargain books, looking for that one diamond in the rough. Here’s the haul from Saturday:
1. Chosen By God (R.C. Sproul) This was the first theological (and I’m using that term loosely) book I ever read. Sophomore year in high school I picked this up and it solidified a my understanding of predestination and freewill. Sproul’s discussion about men always doing what they desire to do–for evil or for good–helped me understand how God is not responsible for man’s sin. This remains one of the best books I’ve ever read. ($5)
2. The Seven Saying of the Saviour on the Cross (A.W. Pink) I know very little about this book other than that one of my professors spoke very higly of it, the price was $3, and it is short.
3. Spiritual Leadership (J. Oswald Sanders) From what I understand, this is the book on spiritual leadership. The number of citations I’ve seen from books on pastoral ministry and calling made it worth picking up. (And it was only $2)
4. Pierced by the Word (John Piper) Piper is my favorite person I’ve never met. Desiring God, Future Grace, and Don’t Waste Your Life have each radically impacted my life. I’m usually not into devotional/meditational books, but picked this one up because Piper wrote it and it will make a good gift book sometime. ($5)
5. The Forgotten Spurgeon (Ian Murray) I was hoping to pick up a biography to read on the plane ride home. I’ve heard a lot about this book, and it’s published by Banner of Truth so it has to be good. Spurgeon was probably the best preacher in modern history and Ian Murray is a highly respected biography writer. Sounds like a good combination. ($5)
6. When People Are BIG And God is Small (Ed Welsch) My friend I went with said this book was worth $5. I’m not very widely read in biblical counseling and this book addresses something I see as a large issue in my life and the lives of those around me. Fear of man is debilitating and ultimately stems from having an minimalistic view of God. I’m way excited to read it.
7. The Necessity of Prayer (E.M. Bounds) The number of times I’ve heard this book referenced convinced me to add it to my stack. I know almost nothing about Bounds and know that prayer is a necessity and joy that I all too often brush aside. If I had to hazard a guess, I think this book is going to change my life and thinking the most out of all the books on this list. Incidentally, I saw the complete works of E.M. Bounds on prayer as I was walking toward the register for only a dollar more, but ultimately decided against it because a)it was significantly (i.e. 500 pages) longer and b) that would reduce the likelihood of me actually reading it given my current backlog of books to read. For some reason 600-page books are harder to dig into than 150-page books. ($7)
8 & 9. Charismatic Chaos (John MacArthur), The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit (C. Peter Wagner) These books go together. I was required to read a “Four Views” book on miraculous gifts for theology class, and both men were cited extensively. This is a widely debated topic (at least outside of Master’s circles), and being well researched means reading both views firsthand. ($3, $5)
Funniest Book Title: Prized Cows Make Gourmet Burgers
Book I Wanted to Buy But Didn’t: John Paton’s Autobiography
Book with the most “bargain book” copies: Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (Jim Cymbala)
Author with the most “bargain book” titles: Paul Tillich
Popular author with NO “bargain book” titles: N.T. Wright
Popular author with large sign directing people to his books: N.T. Wright
You can learn a lot not just from books but from bookstores as well…