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Redeemer Church

Redeemer Church
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Misconception of Christianity

Perhaps the most frequent misconception I hear when talking to people about my faith is that Christianity is a club for the "good people". I hear it when someone says "Well, I could never be a Christian because there are certain vices I just can't give up". (Incidentally, I don't expect serious change to happen until after someone has committed their life to Jesus. Only He brings lasting life change.) And I hear it in more judgmental tones when someone within Christianity has made very poor, and very public, choices.

The central problem with this misconception is that it puts the defining characteristic of Christianity on our ability to live up to a perceived moral standard. The error here is, I hope, quite obvious. The point of Christianity is dealing with precisely that problem, none of us can live up to the moral standards expected of us. And this is exactly what I point out. My presentation often goes something like this:

"A lot of people think that Christianity is a club for the 'good people', when the opposite is in fact true. Christianity at its core is a group of people who recognize they can never be good enough to meet God's standards of morality. They are relying Jesus to pay for their sins, and they do their best to follow Jesus' teachings out of love for Him. So Christianity really isn't a club for the 'good people', but rather the 'not-good-enough people who know it'."

Notice what I intend to do with this clarification. First, I am attempting to remove that excuse in a person's mind that they can't be a Christian until they've got their life in shape. Second, I am trying to "defang" the red herring accusations centered around Christians who aren't living like they should. As Christians, we know that salvation is by grace through faith alone. But to the average person, Christianity is just like every other religion measuring followers by a moral code. We should take every opportunity to build a category for grace and faith in their minds.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Book List

I am not sharing this list to brag, far from it. I will readily admit that I haven't read the majority of these books half as well as they deserve. I have not taken the time or given the thought.

Rather, I share this list to give you a context for my thinking. I share to promote these books to others. And I welcome recommendations as you see holes in my reading. Ultimately, I hope this list pushes the reader and the author to better reading, as iron sharpens iron. (I will continue to add titles as I read them, so check back if you are interested!)

Note: Beginning with the list in 2009, books will be listed in descending order of my favorites. Top (1st) to bottom. A higher rating may not always be for the reasons you assume, so if your curiosity is piqued, feel free to e-mail me. The hyperlinks will take you to other posts that have been directly inspired by my reading.


  • Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl - N.D. Wilson
  • When Helping Hurts - Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
  • Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller
  • The Reason For God - Timothy Keller
  • Hidden Worldviews - Steve Wilkens and Mark L. Sanford
  • Total Church - Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
  • Hollywood Worldviews - Tim Godawa
  • Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be) - Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
  • Tactics - Greg Koukl
  • Finally Alive - John Piper
  • The God Who Smokes - Timothy J. Stoner (Yes, his name is ironic)
  • The Kingdom of Couches - Will Walker
  • Did the Resurrection Happen? - Gary Habermas and Antony Flew
  • Love Your God With All Your Mind - J.P. Moreland
  • God Is Great, God Is Good - William Lane Craig & Chad Meister, eds.
  • The Pursuit of Holiness - Jerry Bridges
  • True For You but Not For Me - Paul Copan
  • Sticky Church - Larry Osborne
  • The God Conversation - J.P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff
  • Trusting God - Jerry Bridges
  • The Case For Faith - Lee Strobel
  • The Devil's Delusion - David Berlinski
  • Being the Body - Charles Colson and Ellen Vaughn
  • Vintage Jesus - Mark Driscoll
  • Satan and His Kingdom - Dennis McCallum
  • Why I Am A Christian - Geisler and Hoffman (editors)
  • Love Is An Orientation - Andrew Marin
  • The Jesus I Never Knew - Philip Yancey
  • The Prodigal God - Timothy Keller
  • Unfashionable - Tullian Tchividjian
  • Rumors - Philip Yancey
  • The Ragamuffin Gospel - Brennan Manning
  • Worldliness - C.J. Mahaney (editor)
  • The Mortification of Sin - John Owen
  • Faith, Film, and Philosophy - Geivett and Spiegel, eds.
  • The Truth of the Cross - R.C. Sproul
  • Escape From Reason - Francis S. Schaeffer
  • Respectable Sins - Jerry Bridges
  • The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozier
  • Inside-Out Worship - Matt Redman
  • The End of Reason - Ravi Zacharias
  • The Irresistible Revolution - Shane Claiborne
  • We Become What We Worship - G.K. Beale
  • The Hole In Our Gospel - Richard Stearns
  • Searching For God Knows What - Donald Miller
  • Time For Truth - Os Guinness
  • Jesus Among Other Gods - Ravi Zacharias
  • This We Believe - Ravi Zacharias, et al.
  • Sola Scriptura - Don Kistler ed.
  • Symphonic Theology - Vern S. Poythress
  • The Lost Virtue of Happiness - J.P. Moreland and Klaus Issler
  • Souvenirs of Solitude - Brennan Manning
  • Through Painted Deserts - Donald Miller
  • To Know You More - Andy Park
  • Divine Nobodies - Jim Palmer
  • The Coffeehouse Gospel - Matthew Paul Turner
  • Velvet Elvis - Rob Bell
  • The Rabbit and the Elephant - Tony and Felicity Dale and George Barna
  • The Gospel According to Lost - Chris Seay
  • Between Two Worlds - Mike Timmis


  • Spectacular Sins (and Their Global Purpose In the Glory of Christ) - John Piper
  • Can Man Live Without God - Ravi Zacharias
  • Death By Love - Mark Driscoll
  • Orthodoxy - G.K. Chesterton
  • Becoming a Contagious Christian - Bill Hybels
  • Knowing God - J.I. Packer
  • The Language of God - Francis S. Collins
  • What's so Great About the Doctrines of Grace? - Richard D. Phillips
  • Roaring Lambs - Bob Briner
  • The Five Dilemmas of Calvinism - Craig R. Brown
  • Chosen By God - RC Sproul
  • Future Grace - John Piper
  • The God Who Is There - Francis A. Schaeffer
  • The Rest of God - Mark Buchanan
  • Prayer - Philip Yancey
  • Embracing the Mysterious God - James Emery White
  • The Big Idea - Dave Ferguson
  • A Mind For God - James Emery White
  • Basic Christianity - John RW Stott


  • What's So Great About Christianity - Dinesh D'Souza
  • The God Questions - Hal Seed and Dan Grider
  • In But Not Of - James Emery White
  • The Holiness of God - RC Sproul
  • The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
  • The Pleasures of God - John Piper
  • The Holy Wild - Mark Buchanan
  • Serious Times - James Emery White
  • 90 Minutes In Heaven - Don Piper
  • Don't Waste Your Life - John Piper
  • Experiencing God - Henry T. Blackaby
  • Praise Habits - David Crowder


  • The Consequences of Ideas - RC Sproul
  • The Sovereignty of God - A.W. Pink
  • How Movies Helped Save My Soul - Gareth Higgins
  • What Ever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? - James Montgomery Boice
  • The Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren
  • Defeating Darwinism - Philip E. Johnson
  • The Bible Jesus Read - Philip Yancey
  • The Practice of the Presence of God - Brother Lawrence
  • Loving God - Chuck Colson
  • Things Unseen - Mark Buchanan
  • Reaching for the Invisible God - Philip Yancey

2005-Conception (College and before)

  • Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
  • What's So Amazing About Grace? - Philip Yancey
  • Your God Is Too Safe - Mark Buchanan
  • Wild At Heart - John Eldredge
  • Disappointment With God - Philip Yancey
  • Desiring God - John Piper
  • Sacred Romance - John Eldredge
  • The Gospel According to the Apostles - John MacArthur
  • The Joyful Christian - C.S. Lewis
  • The Vanishing Conscience - John MacArthur
  • The God Who Loves - John MacArthur
  • Every Man's Battle - Steve Arterburn and Fred Stoeker
  • Passion and Purity - Elizabeth Elliott
  • Losing Our Virtue - David F. Wells
  • A Matrix of Meanings - Detweiler and Taylor
  • The Anti-Christ - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Shaping a Christian Worldview - Dockery and Thornbury
  • Christian Ethics - Dr. Jim Eckman
  • The Four Loves - C.S. Lewis
  • The Great Divorce - C.S. Lewis
  • Philosophy of Religion - C. Stephen Evans
  • Worldview - David K. Naugle