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Thursday, 28 December 2017

Top 10 Christian Books Read in 2017

It’s time for my Christian book recommendations for 2017. My Goodreads 2017 Challenge lists 150 books. I anticipate slightly surpassing this target by the 31st.

For those that missed it, you can also see my 2016 selections.

In compiling my list, I have again tried to cover a range of genres and sub-genres which is quite tricky as I read a lot more biographies, (especially by or about missionaries,) than anything else. I prefer books with a clear Gospel message and Christian purpose in writing.

The majority of the books I recommend here are clean—no bad language or sexual content and limited graphic violence. Where there is slight deviation I have commented in my review so you should know what to expect. You can read my Goodreads reviews by clicking on the title link. The books appear in the order I read them in 2017.

1. God Planted Five Seeds- A lesser known missionary biography by the wife of one of five men martyred whilst trying to reach a remote tribe in Bolivia. They were serving with New Tribes Mission. This took place thirteen years before Jim Elliot and co were also killed trying to reach the infamous Auca tribe in Ecuador.

2. Bound by Guilt- This gets my vote for Christian fiction by a lesser known author. I was gripped by the story and stayed up late to finish it! This book is the second of four books in the Thicker Than Blood series. I also read the first book, Thicker Than Blood, and plan to read books three and four in due course.

3. The Atonement Child- Controversy seems to follow popular Christian fiction writer Francine Rivers. I have been horrified by the content in several of her books, Redeeming Love and Bridge to Haven. However, I loved this realistic and sad story about a young girl who falls victim to a rapist. The story is sensitively relayed and shocking graphic details avoided.

4. Mission Possible- This missionary biography about two women serving with Wycliffe in Papua New Guinea is one of my favourite books of all time. The tragic and unnecessary death of a young boy within a short time of their arrival due to cultural practice will challenge anyone thinking about mission work.

On the missions front, I also enjoyed, When the Bamboo Sings and The Savage My Kinsman this year.

5. Agents of Babylon- A fictional narrative describing a possible end times scenario using the book of Daniel in the Bible. Each chapter gives a brief story followed by the theological explanation for the interpretation. This book helped me to understand the prophecies relating to the end times and really brought them to life. I recommend it regardless of your personal view as it will make you think. I also read, Agents of the Apocalypse, by the same author which focuses on Revelation.

6. I Am N- A contemporary account of persecution of Christians around the world, including by ISIS, from Voice of the Martyrs. I liked the combination of stories with the background, follow-up and aftermath. I have been frustrated by other popular accounts that either sensationalise with too much graphic detail, or embellish in order to sell books. The Insanity of God is one example that springs to mind.

7. Ark Fever- Most of you probably haven’t heard of this fascinating account of one man’s attempts to find Noah’s ark! It is told in a matter-of-fact, easy to read style that makes gripping reading. The conclusion is compelling; have people been searching in the wrong place?

8. There is Still Much to Do!- From the secretary of the Open Air Mission in England. This book is full of examples and conversations from the street. It is right up to date and a must read for anyone wanting to know how to get involved in evangelism. The author has also written, Why All the Suffering?, a useful resource.

9. The Parables of Jesus- MacArthur takes a fresh look at the parables explaining their relevance in the context of the Bible as a whole and seeking to apply them to our lives today. A great reminder to keep our focus on heavenly things and not to get caught up in the world.

10. Streets Paved with Gold- The history of the London City Mission. Although this book has been around for a while collecting dust, I absolutely loved it. In places, it reads like a Dickens novel as we walk with the missionaries through plagues, fires and war into the very heart of London’s poorest communities, to reach them with the love of Christ. Ending with a letter from a passer-by that should remind us that we never know who is watching!

I hope you will find some new recommendations to add to your shelves. I’ve been looking forward to reviewing my year of Christian books. Let me know your thoughts, whether you agree or disagree!