As the end of the year is fast approaching, it seems more than a few bloggers have been reflecting on the best books of 2008. I, however, am, as usual, a bit behind the times and haven't read enough books published this year; so I thought I'd be a wee bit more subjective and think about the best books I've read this year, irrespective of date of publication.
1. Michael Horton, A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of Christ-Centred Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002)
A brilliant and thought-provoking look at worship, founded in a robust Scriptural theology. Horton opposes much that has come to be labelled 'worship' in today's evangelicalism, yet he is not arguing that 'traditional' worship is better. Rather, Horton is seeking 'a better way' (just in case you've forgotten, that's the title of the book). Horton ably dismisses the notion that worship is something sentimental and subjective, or that corporate worship is when we make room for God in our lives. Rather, worship is about God taking us into His drama of redemption. Worship is objective; based on what
Christ has done, not on how we feel. Thus the means of grace, law & gospel preaching and the sacraments, are central to Christian worship.
Of course, I don't always agree with Horton (particularly on paedobaptism), yet I must highly recommend his book. Even if you don't agree with him, you will certainly find this book thought-provoking. If on the Lord's Day morning you do things in the meeting simply because that's how it's done, or how it always has been done, read Horton, and doing so will compel you to think Biblically and theologically about the elements of Sunday worship.
2. David F. Wells, The Courage to be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008)
This is certainly the best book I've read that was actually published in 2008. I have to admit choosing between my numbers 1 and 2 was very difficult, and Horton might have only won because I read his book more recently. Anyway, if you are a pastor or theology student you really should read this book.
For the rest of the list, you'll have to tune in next time. (Yes, I don't have the dramatic flair to be a TV host - I've spoilt all the dramatic tension by beginning with the winner! Oh well...)