Posted by: duncandrews | May 29, 2009

I’ve been memed! Good Books…

Ed MeMe Sleeve

No idea who they are - just the first thing to come up when I searched for 'meme'. On Flickr by Foe!

Matt has memed me – thanks Matt, my first meme! I’m still not exactly sure what meme means, so don’t ask…

Anyway, here are the rules:

i. List a helpful book you’ve read in this category;
ii. Describe why you found it helpful; and
iii. Tag five more friends and spread the meme love.

Ok. So here we go…

1. Theology

I’m reading Colin Gunton’s Theology through the Theologians … slowly. I’ve found it very stimulating, particularly thinking about the differences between a systematic theology (that sees connections, abstracts principles, etc)  and a systemic theology (which is concerned with creating a theologically tight system).

2. Biblical Theology

Well, like Matt and Byron and Steve this one had to make the list. N.T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God is not about Biblical Theology, but it has been more influential on me in this area than any other book. Through it I had my eyes opened just a little bit more to see something of the wonderful story of God’s covenant love for his world. Through it I learned to read the gospels a little bit better. Through it I grew to love Jesus more. I’ll echo Steve’s “Read it! Read it! Read it!”

3. God

John Macleod Campbell’s The Nature of the Atonement. I was told to be wary of reading this, and that’s probably a good warning. But given that, reading this was a wonderful experience. Through it I started to really believe, to really feel that God was my heavenly Father who loved me deeply. I began to see what he did for me in Christ not as a cold abstract commercial exchange, but as a Father’s incredible love for his children, bringing them back into his family at immeasurable cost.

4. Jesus

P. T. Forsyth’s Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind. I love Forsyth, and this book is gold.  This could probably go under ‘God’ but that spot’s taken, and it has to go somewhere! Forsyth taught me to see the cross as an achievement, where God did not merely open the potential for redemption but achieved it in the person of Jesus. What else? Where Campbell showed me that God was my Father, truly and wonderfully, Forsyth taught me that He is my Holy Father.

5. Old Testament

I’ve found I come back again and again to Old Testament Survey by LaSor et al. It’s a great resource, full of depth, but providing accessible and faithful overviews of each OT book.

6. New Testament

Well, I’m going to go with John Stott’s commentary on Ephesians. Stott’s exegetical skill combined with his pastoral sensitivity have really touched me. I’m in awe of the guy, and have loved reading this one.

7. Morals

Ok, time for a bit of left-field action. I’m going with George MacDonald’s At the Back of the North Wind. It’s a kids fantasy novel written by perhaps my favourite author. He’s up there at least. The reason it’s in this category is the intense and simple goodness of its main character, a boy named Diamond. This deeply impacted me, and for a long time afterwards I found myself asking the question ‘What would little Diamond do?’! It helped me come up with my ‘just do it’ moral principle… but I’ll get to that another time.

8. (Church) History

I haven’t read much, but found From Cambridge to the World a great read. I can’t remember who wrote it – and it’s on the bookshelf in my sleeping daughter’s room, so it will remain a mystery…  It’s the fascinating story of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (CICCU). This group has had such a huge impact for the gospel around the whole world, and it was inspiring to read.

9. Biography

I’ll give John Stott another plug and say … John Stott‘s biography by Timothy Dudley-Smith. Can’t remember if that’s actually the name, but it’s in the sleeper’s room too… I felt moved to hear of Stott’s struggles and successes, inspired by his faithfulness and dedication, humbled by his humility.

10. Evangelism

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J. I. Packer was one of the first theology books I ever read. So I don’t remember much of it. Except that it was good. I think it highlighted for me the dangers of an unthinking  Christianity that says with our lips that we should do evangelism, but doesn’t really care about it. The danger of unformed doctrines of God’s sovereignty is that we in effect give up on evangelism – we don’t have a burning passion for lost souls to be saved. Packer helped me to reconcile the two.

11. Prayer

Last one – The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. a Kempis is old school, like totally 15th Century Old School. Apparently it’s been translated into more languages than any other book except the bible. I found much of it frustrating, but far more of it deeply moving and humbling, and it drove me to prayer.

I think most of my theo-blogging friends have been tagged already, so I’m not sure who to pass this on to! I don’t think Justin‘s been tagged, or Michael. Otherwise, if you want to give it a crack, consider yourself tagged.



  1. Nice list. And great picture. I like your morals entry – looking forward to your future post on this.

    Oliver Barclay and some other guy wrote From Cambridge to the World, but I’m too comfortable to walk across the room right now and find out.

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