Much of the year was spent rereading old books, packing and getting rid of stuff – even books, because we downsized and moved. We gave away 189 books. I read 42 books this year and 52 in 2016. I read only 22 new books in 2017. Of the new books the four books below are among the best. The best book is first. In January I will post three reviews of the best books REREAD in 2017.
SEEKING ALLAH, FINDING JESUS: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity
By Nabeel Quresh
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is a brilliant, profound book that will inform and teach all of us many things. It surprised me how carefully children in Muslim families are taught the history and doctrines of their faith on a daily basis. Nabeel Quersh grew up in the
, a rare Muslim at that time. His family was devout,
loving and close. He excelled in school and was a devout and obedient child. United States
Quersh tells the story of his life from childhood to college and beyond. He was sheltered – not allowed to go to overnights or parties in high school and commuted in college until his senior year. His best friend through high school and college was a strong Christian. Their friendship is beautiful, real and fun and their discussions lead to Quersh thoroughly studying his faith and the Christian faith and digging into the historical proofs of each one. He shares his painful struggles about how hurt and ashamed his family will be if he becomes a Christian. His approach to each faith can inform us all.
The book includes additional information from experts that is helpful. I was spell bound while reading his story and highly recommend this book for all Christians and all seekers.
Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical
By Timothy Keller
Making Sense of God is an excellent exploration and comparison of the beliefs of the secular culture versus faith in God. Timothy Keller invites skeptics to read and follow his logic. Keller has thoroughly researched the in and outs of philosophy, history and religion as it applies to faith and he carefully explains the reasons we can make sense of God. He suggests that we can’t live without meaning, satisfaction, freedom, identity, hope and justice.
Part One of the book is titled Why Does Anyone Need Religion? Many skeptics believe religion will eventually go away. Keller cites many facts to show the opposite is true; religion is growing. Skeptics also believe religion is based on faith and secularism is based on evidence. Keller shows that both faith and secularism are based on faith as well as evidence.
Part Two, Religion is More than You Think It Is, covers eight meaty chapters. In Chapter Six, The Problem of Self, I particularly liked his comparison of an Anglo-Saxon warrior in
in AD 800 who examines his heart and sees two strong
inner impulses or feelings. One is aggression which fits his culture so he says
“That’s me.” The other impulse he sees in himself is same sex attraction. He
suppresses that and says “That’s not me.” Keller compares this to a man today
walking around Britain who has
the same two inward impulses. Sensing an impulse to aggression he says, “This
is not me.” Sensing same sex desire he says “That’s me.” Keller shows that
identity is not just an expression of inward desires and feelings. We use a set
of beliefs and values to sort through and decide what we will incorporate into
our identity. “Identity is determined not
by our feelings and desires but rather by our beliefs about our varied,
contradictory, changing feelings and desires.” Pg127 New
In Part Three, Christianity Makes Sense, Keller shows that Christianity offers “A meaning that suffering cannot remove, a satisfaction not based on circumstances, a freedom that does not hurt but rather enhances love, an identity that does not crush you or exclude others, a moral compass that does not turn you into an oppressor, and a hope that can face anything, even death.” Pg 216 This section includes information on the historical evidence about Jesus, his life, death and resurrection. The qualities of Jesus and his claims are detailed beautifully. The Epilogue offers an illustration that vividly demonstrates how God makes sense. This is an outstanding book.
The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity
By Mark Clark
Through ten amazing chapters Mark Clark explains and explores the questions many people have about God. I have read a number of apologetic books and yet this book covered many aspects of belief and unbelief I had not read about before.
Clark came up with new and clear ways to explain and convince doubters that
God is real and powerful and Christ is the son of God. The chapter on Evil and
Suffering is outstanding. The problem of Hell is another brilliant chapter. He
even tackles the apparent Hypocrisy of believers and the Problem of
Exclusivity. And he ends with the Problem of Jesus.
The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important That Happens in Between
By Gregory Koukl
The Story of Reality is an amazing book giving clear and profound answers to questions about our life on planet earth. Why are we here? Why is there evil? Koukl says “Christianity is a picture of reality.” Every worldview has four parts: creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. He compares worldviews to puzzles and says that all the pieces have to fit together. Also, pieces from a different puzzle can’t be mixed in. They were made for a different picture. When the pieces are fitted together we can see the picture. He tells the story of the Bible through five words: God, Man, Jesus, Cross, Resurrection. His clear reasoning should help unbelievers and believers better understand the story and come to faith in Christ or deepen their faith. This is a very helpful book.