For readers searching for something deep, theologically, Jackson Presbyterian Examiner highly recommends the following books.To purchase any of the items listed below, JPE would refer Jacksonians to Family Christian Store in Flowood (344 Ridge Way), just north of Jackson. To contact Family Christian Stores, call (601) 919-1974.
1. The Next Christendom by Phillip Jenkins
An indispensable book for anyone wanting to understand better the current trends within Christianity today, Phillip Jenkins research shows that the Faith is making a global shift from the North and the West to what is being called the Global South. Jenkins chronicles the astounding explosion of Christianity in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, arguing that, contrary to popular misconception, Christianity is not on the decline; it may be losing influence in the West, but it gaining influence elsewhere at an even quicker pace. Jenkins envisions a day, possibly later in the 21st century, when the majority of professing Christians worldwide will be non-white. Jenkins also chronicles the astonishing universal 20th century spread of Pentecostalism, arguing that this modern day phenomena may be looked back as having been no less important than the Reformation itself.
2. Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul
In down to earth, accessible language, R.C. Sproul attempts to explain the sometimes complicated doctrine of predestination. Arguing from a Reformed perspective, Sproul convincingly shows why the Calvinist view of election is, all things considered, the most Biblically faithful on the market. At times he overstates his case, but all in all, a very well-written defense of a highly disputed doctrine.
3. Concerning Christian Liberty by Martin Luther
In this, his most articulate defense of justification by faith alone, Luther explains how God’s grace sets us free to serve God and our neighbor, not out of self-interest, but purely out of gratitude. A Christian is free, subject to no one, yet a Christian is also a servant, indebted to love everyone. Concerning Christian Liberty is a liberating theological tract that is a must read for anyone wanting to delve deeper into the heart of the Reformation.
4. The Creeds of Christendom, Vol. 1 by Phillip Schaff
In this, the first of three volumes, Schaff explores the nature and purpose of creeds in general and then delves into the most notable confessions of church history produced by Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Though a convinced Reformed Protestant, Schaff is astonishingly ecumenical towards Christians of different traditions. His treatment of the 1st Vatican Council is especially illuminating, as is his commentary on the Lutheran Confessions. As an appendix, Schaff includes a “consensus” chart, highlighting the doctrines held in common by Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant alike–indispensable to anyone wanting a better understanding of “mere” Christianity.
5. An Unbroken Circle by Pasius Altschul
This unique book explores the relationship between ancient, African Christianity and modern-day African American Christianity, arguing that faith’s African roots run deep and that Christianity is no sense a “white man’s” religion. Chronicling the early church leaders of Africa, as well as the heroic stories of early American slave martyrs, An Unbroken Circle is a must read for those interested either in church history or black history.