On My Shelf helps you learn about many writers with a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives as readers.
asked Thaddeus Williams – Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Biola University and author of Confronting Injustice Without Compromising the Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice–About what’s on his bedside table, favorite fiction, favorite videos, and more.
What is on your table now?
It was a recent daily commute to the Abraham Kuiper Devotional honey from the rock. It is a gem, especially for those who crave theologically rich devotional content. Kuyper reminds me daily how small I am and how big God is.
I’ve also been working through Tom Holland’s folder Dominionwhich shows how the Christian vision of power as service and sacrifice has reshaped our world over the centuries.
Then there are the books on my desk that I rotate through the class, which currently includes William Wilberforce books. true ChristianityMatthew Barrett Nothing is greaterJ.K. Chesterton In defense of sanityNatasha Crane sincerely differentGeorge Yancy No more faithand Thomas Sewell Intellectuals and race.
What are your favorite fantasy books?
I am a big fan of the CS Lewis space trilogy which is not appreciated much, especially the ending That awful power, which I have re-read more than any other work of fiction, I always find a treasure trove of new theological and cultural insights. My favorite novels list also includes Louis’ List great divorceespecially the chapter “Red Lizard”, silver chairin particular the “Queen of the Earth” chapter, and Dostoevsky’s chapter The Brothers Karamazov, especially the chapter “The Grand Inquisitor”, which I think might be the best extra-biblical chapter in the history of literature. Beyond that, given the truth of common grace, I find much truth in David Foster Wallace For infinite humor So is Jack Kerouac On the road (Especially his wonderful line, “Those who never yawn or say something familiar, but burn, burn, burn, like brilliant yellow Roman candles that blast like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue light go off and everyone goes ‘Aoooo!’). Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes Stories are always fun.
Which resumes or resumes have influenced you the most and why?
confessions by Augustine and The life and narrative of Frederick Douglass It tops my list of resumes. Regarding biographies, John Piper wrote, The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphal Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin And the God’s Invisible Smile: The Fruit of Calamity in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cooper, and David Brainerd, Very useful. I come back over and over to anything Charles Spurgeon has written about his personal experience with anxiety and depression, especially his “minister fainting spells.”
What are some of the books you read regularly and why?
My regularly reread writings include CS Lewis That awful powerJ Packer knowing GodAbraham Kuiper Lectures on CalvinismAlexander Solzhenitsyn World Split ApartHR Rookmaaker Modern art and the death of culture (which has a wonderful reply, Modern art and cultural life Written by William Derness and Jonathan Anderson).
What books have profoundly shaped how you serve and lead others for the gospel?
Ever since I first read Francis Schaeffer’s book God who is there On a trip across the Pacific to Nepal in 1998, I was never the same. Schaeffer’s desire to think deeply about literature, art, philosophy, politics, science, film, and anything and everything else under the sun, under the lordship of Christ, has had an indelible mark on how the truth of the gospel is communicated. Schaeffer’s disciple, Jeram Parris, wrote Learn to preach from Jesuswhich also had a huge impact, such as the classic JI Packer Evangelism and the sovereignty of God.
The Discipleship Book I Have Made More Than Any Other – The Book I’ve Seen God Uses More Than Any Other In My Students’ Lives To Break Up Pornography Addiction And Other Compelling Sins – Is The John Owen Classic insulting sin.
What book do you wish every pastor would read?
knowing God by JI Packer and when you’re done, knowing God again and again. Throw in Hermann Pavnik God’s wondrous deeds and Stephen Charnock God’s presence and attributes for good measure. The more often we remind ourselves of the size and splendor of God we serve, the less we take ourselves seriously. And not taking ourselves seriously is a key sign of good pastors.
If your congregation wants to think biblically through the social justice controversies of our time, which is likely, I recommend Carl Trueman’s The rise and triumph of the modern self and George Yancy Beyond the Elemental Gridlock. My publisher would be happy if you nod to him Confronting Injustice Without Compromising the Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice.
What do you learn about life and following Jesus?
I have learned that a sign of venerable life, and appreciating God more and more as He deserves, has beautiful side effects. This means that we don’t have to take ourselves too seriously!
Appreciate God’s reputation first, and it will become a lot easier to afford a cheap online shot to a stranger or even a verbal knife in the back than someone we trust. Paying attention to his glory and fame, his cosmic prosthetic platform, our own platforms and popularity, they are starting to look cute and small as they really are. I’m learning that we are designed to run in awe. We think, relate, act, and thrive best when we are amazed by something or someone really great, and it is good that God is more interesting and inspiring than we are. For every thought or concern we have about ourselves, we may think of a hundred thoughts about God, His glory, and His goodness. Holy Spirit, make it so in our hearts and minds.