Here are the top five books and the author that has had the biggest impact on me in 2018.
- Even in our Darkness (Biography)
This is the book that had the biggest impact on me in 2018. It is Jack Deere’s personal memoir. Jack Deere was a significant leader in the Vineyard church movement, led by John Wimber. At the same time as having a very influential ministry, he had all kinds of personal struggles to deal with behind the scenes. It was personally refreshing to read such an honest account of sin, suffering and struggle, and to see how God’s grace triumphs over all.
- The Bible in Australia (History)
Winner of the Christian Book of the Year in 2018, this book by historian, Meredith Lake, takes a fascinating look at the role of the Bible in Australian culture right from its arrival on the first fleet. How interesting to learn that on the First Fleet to Australia there were “100 full Bibles, 400 New Testaments, 500 Psalters and “200 copies of the Sermon on the Mount”. There were also 200 church catechism books, 100 Prayer Books and 100 copies of…Necessity for reading the Scriptures”
- The Fountain of Public Prosperity (History)
I will be disappointed if this does not win Christian Book of the Year in 2019. If you are a history buff like me, this book is guaranteed to please. A magisterial work (nearly 700 pages) that took 20 years to write, this book traces the role of evangelical Christianity in Australian public life from 1740-1914. The chaplain on the First Fleet, Richard Johnson, was an evangelical Anglican (like me!). Luminaries such as William Wilberforce and John Newton knew Richard Johnson personally and played an active role in sending him to Australia.
- All the light we cannot see (Fiction)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2015, All the Light We Cannot See is an absolute page-turner – highly recommended! The book is set in German-occupied France during World War II. It follows the lives of two children who are caught up in the chaos, their two different paths crossing each other in a surprising way.
- This is our time (Culture)
I wrote a book review for This is Our Time, by Trevin Wax, a couple of months ago. If you are trying to understand our particular cultural moment in the West, particularly at a popular level (eg. technology, sexuality, social media), then this is the book for you.
- Iain Duguid (Commentary / Devotional)
Iain Duguid (‘Do good’) has written a number of excellent and easy-to-read commentaries. I have read three so far for my daily devotions: Numbers, Genesis 1-25 (Abraham) and Genesis 25-35 (Isaac & Jacob). Strong on application, they are great for your daily devotions because they are warm and straight to the point.