Southwestern professors offer book recommendations for Christmas Break

Southwestern Seminary professors recommended reading for students as they take a break from classes during the Christmas season.

Assuming that students consistently read Scripture, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology Mark Leeds says that the winter break from classes can give students a great opportunity to read books that they do not have time to read during the semester.

“We can make ourselves better students and professors by reading widely,” said Leeds, who in a recent issue of the Southwestern Journal of Theology promoted the virtue of reading a wide array of literature alongside Scripture. “Maybe there is a biography of a giant of the faith you’ve been wanting to learn more about or a work of fiction that you’ve heard is making waves in pop culture or even something well outside your discipline—art, world history, politics. We of course read all such books through the lens of Scripture and with an eye toward personal sanctification, but once we approach reading in that way we can marvel at the world and the people God created and imagine new and better ways to serve Him.”

To help students read broadly during the break, seminary professors recommended the following books:

Courtney Anderson, To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson

“I think that between terms folk may like some lighter reading than what’s normally done during semesters. Yet they may wish to still have something inspiring or moving to read that is historically significant. This book is by far the best missionary biography I’ve ever read. It’s been in print since about the year 1950, so that attests to its staying power. So students will acquire a keen and challenging insight into Adoniram Judson’s life and ministry.” – Keith Eitel, dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions

Tim Elmore, Generation iY

“This is a great book for grasping what is happening in this generation of youth and what, biblically, can be done about it.” – Johnny Derouen, associate professor of student ministry

Arthur Herman, To Rule the Waves

“We all should read widely. This book is a history of the British navy and its creation of the British Empire, of which America was a part. The book is filled with great teaching and preaching illustrations.” – Waylan Owens, dean of the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries

J. Gresham Machen, Christianity & Liberalism

“Machen demonstrates that while liberalism uses the same language as orthodox Christianity, it fills those terms with a different meaning. Machen’s book is a great antidote to the acids of liberalism.” – Malcolm Yarnell, professor of systematic theology

J.C. Ryle, Holiness: It’s Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots

“Not only is the doctrine of sanctification misunderstood by so many in the church today, it is desperately needed during these urgent days, providing the only remedy for believers’ prayers for heaven-sent restoration. … Ryle carefully removes the ‘log jams’ of indwelling sin which stymie our holding forth the Gospel to sinners. One will have a richer appreciation for the doctrine of union with Christ after reading this gold mine of Gospel truth during the winter break.” – Berry Driver, dean of libraries

J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership

“It is simply the best book on the subject and should be read by every person in Christian ministry. This is one of those books that should be read about every third year or so for the rest of your life.” – David Allen, dean of the School of Theology

Mark Shaw, Global Awakening: How 20th-Century Revivals Triggered a Christian Revolution

“Shaw articulates the provoking thesis that the First and Second Great Awakenings did not end in the 1700s and 1800s. Rather, they have created a ripple effect by prompting successive revival movements that have been documented globally throughout the 20th century.” – Matt Queen, assistant professor of evangelism

James S. Spiegel, The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief

“Spiegel’s central thesis is that a turn to atheism is far more than being persuaded by the evidence for God’s nonexistence. In fact, he argues that for many atheists, including the so-called New Atheists, evidence plays a minor role. Instead, atheists like this are led to their atheism as a result of moral rebellion. They don’t want God to exist and simply do not engage the evidence and arguments on offer by leading Christian apologists.” – Travis Dickinson, assistant professor of philosophy and Christian apologetics

Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students

I would recommend … particularly chapter 2 [in volume I] on discerning and confirming one’s call. It is imperative that each of our students solidify their call, or there is a lifetime of distress ahead of them.” – Tommy Kiker, assistant professor of pastoral ministry

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (Audio Book)

“If you have a trip (during the holidays) that is four hours one way, instead of listening to the radio or watching DVDs all the way, you can listen to something new or maybe even share a childhood favorite with your family. One great choice this year would be to listen to The Hobbit before seeing the movie.” – Mark Leeds, assistant professor of systematic theology