I once read a survey which listed top books recommended by evangelical leaders. It was fascinating to discover which books had influenced the minds of great pastors and leaders. Theological titles comprised most of the list, while some were biographical or fictional.

Have you ever considered what books have impacted you?

I browsed the bookshelves (using Delicious Library) and recalled some titles here. I haven’t included older works or fiction.

Teaching To Change Lives (Howard Hendricks): when I was a teen, this simple book helped me understand some basic teaching principles. Hendricks’ conversational style is also engaging and easy to read. If you are a beginning teacher or looking to refresh your teaching, there is helpful advice here.

Mere Christianity and Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis): Mere Christianity is Lewis’ classic apologetic work, originally written as a series of English radio broadcasts during World War II. As a former atheist and sympathetic toward Roman Catholicism, Lewis often demonstrated faulty views, such as his understanding of Christ’s atonement, justification, and his claim that God is able to save “those who have not explicitly accepted him in this life.” These unorthodox views are also reflected in his children’s series The Chronicles of Narnia. Despite his errors, Lewis also possessed a great ability to lucidly explain and describe truth in ways which speak powerfully both to children and adults, Christians and non-Christians.

Changed Into His Image (Jim Berg): one of the best discipleship tools you can use, for your own personal growth or for helping others. With practical language and analogies, Berg clearly lays out the biblical way for making progress as a Christian. Buy this book for yourself.

Decision Making and the Will of God (Gary Friessen): how can I know God’s will for my life decisions? Well-meaning Christians have struggled with this question by looking to their circumstances or “inner peace” or “the Lord’s voice” in order to follow God’s blueprint for their lives. Gary Friessen wrote this detailed, extensive work to critique problems with this approach, and he proposed a more accurate alternative which combines God’s moral will (revealed in the Bible), God’s sovereign will, and wisdom. (read a great review here) The book is long but it’s worth wrestling through the main concepts.

The Deliberate Church (Mark Dever): before Rouse Hill Bible Church was planted, I found that this book described the kind of church we want to see established: a church that lives on the Gospel. The Deliberate Church is a handbook for churches, focusing on the biblical approach to church growth rather than using marketing, programs or business strategies. Recommended for church leaders.

Australian Christian Life from 1788: An Introduction (Iain Murray): as the snooty food critic says in Ratatouille, “You know what I’m craving? A little perspective.” Church history gives a sense of perspective, showing God’s work in past generations and confirming His faithfulness to His church. These stories of past Christians remind us that God has already been at work here, across Australia! Convicting and inspirational.

Read any good books lately (theological or not)? Share it with us…


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About Ben Kwok

Ben is part of a church plant team establishing the Rouse Hill Church. He holds a Master of Divinity degree. Ben and his wife Diahanna live in Sydney, Australia with their four young children.


  1. RoSeZ 17 March, 2010 at 11:17 am

    As a child, Chronicles of Narnia was my first inspiration to read. Prior to that, I hated reading. After that series I became easily definable as a bookworm. I even read encyclopedias (not that those were particularly impacting on my life, though)! =P

    Other books that impacted my life. Hmmm, Discover your Destiny by Cary Schmidt was good. What Love Is This by Dave Hunt was certainly an interesting read. Most of the stuff by Jim Berg is awesome, especially Changed Into His Image. Simply God by James Cantelon was a good look at theology. Anything by Gene Edwards is an absolute must! He is one of the best Christian writers I’ve ever read!! =D

  2. Alen 17 March, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I have a few good books in my time :) I am actually in the process of reading and rereading some of them listed here:

    Changed into His image – Jim Berg, I read it when I first became a Christian so 4 years on and rereading it again is an interesting experience. It has been very insightful and has given new insight into myself. I am on the last chapter now.

    The Discipline of Grace – Jerry Bridges, I could have the title wrong but this is a fantastic book and I’d recommend it to everyone. Understanding how the gospel plays out in a Christians day to day is vital.

    Created for His glory – Jim Berg, I don’t remember if I read it or not but it is next in my list of books to read after the one above. It’s a ‘sequal’ in my understanding to his first book.

    Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, I have read a good portion of it but haven’t finished it yet. A very good book and a lot easier to understand than say Calvin’s Institutes.

    And a few others I cannot think of at the moment!

  3. robert 17 March, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    thanks Ben,

    Leland Reyken’s (father of Phillip Ryken) wrote a great book called Effective Bible Teaching that I found profoundly helpful too.

    enjoyed the Deliberate Church by Dever as you have recommended.

    I am enjoying your weekly contributions to infocus.

  4. Ben Kwok 17 March, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    – Chronicles of Narnia was a childhood favourite too! I remember my sister reading it to me.
    – Alen: you might enjoy Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology. And it’s easier to read than Grudem. :)

  5. Alen 17 March, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    I might get around to it eventually, my ‘promise’ to myself is to finish the books I’ve already purchased before getting any others. I am hoping to get them all done by mid next year, looking at the rate I am going :)

    This of course excludes my Logos books :D

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