The twenty-five books published last year that we label “choice” are not picked just from the categories of Bible and theology that we survey in this issue. Some of them come from such fields as church history (which is annually surveyed in our fall book issue) and practical theology (which also has a “choice” list just for itself in the fall).

We intend the list to reflect the diversity of views, branches, and concerns within the evangelical movement, broadly defined. It also reflects a diversity of types of books, from popular biographies to more scholarly reference tools. The purpose of this list is to call attention to books that are rarely bestsellers but with which the reading Christian should be familiar.

Most of these books should be in church, college, and seminary libraries. In addition, they belong in the libraries of secular colleges where religion is studied, as well as in public libraries. Readers should not hesitate to recommend these books to librarians in their communities. Here are the choices, listed alphabetically by author or editor.

Dreams, Visions and Oracles: The Layman’s Guide to Biblical Prophecy (Baker) edited by Carl Armerding and Ward Gasque. Eschatology, often sensationalized, is a perennial evangelical concern, as it was in Bible times. The essayists represent different points of view but speak calmly and show tolerance for each other’s differences.

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Volume 2: G-Pre (Zondervan) edited by Colin Brown. The middle volume of a basic reference book for Bible students.

Death Before Birth (Nelson) by Harold O. J. Brown. Opposition to abortion is not primarily a “Catholic” stance. The great majority of evangelicals also oppose it. Brown makes a very articulate and informed case for the great harm done not only to the developing human who is aborted but to society as a whole. He courteously examines the arguments favoring abortion and shows them to be seriously flawed.

Effective Biblical Counseling (Zondervan) by Lawrence Crabb, Jr. Psychology and counseling are areas in which evangelical writing has increased greatly in recent years—in quantity, in quality, and in diversity of stances. Crabb, a professional psychologist, seeks to help non-professionals to have a vital, biblically-based counseling ministry.

Eerdmans’ Handbook to the History of Christianity (Eerdmans) edited by Tim Dowley. If you only have one church history book, this should be it. The coverage is reasonably balanced and accurate. The abundance of illustrations and the attractiveness of the layout can draw readers into this book who didn’t think they liked history.

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Apocalyptic Writings (Yale) by Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was one of America’s foremost theologians. This compilation, edited by Stephen Stein, is the first publication of a commentary on Revelation on which Edwards labored for thirty-five years. The other major work is the first complete publication since the eighteenth century of a call to pray for revival in view of biblical prophecies.

Preserving the Person (InterVarsity) by C. Stephen Evans. Students of the behavioral and social sciences will especially welcome this thoughtful interaction with the trend of deemphasizing personhood. Evans suggests how scholars, especially Christians, can recover the concept of the person.

All Truth Is God’s Truth (Eerdmans) by Arthur Holmes. One of the best-known evangelical philosophers helps Christians relate faith and reason, revelation and human learning.

Declare His Glory Among the Nations (InterVarsity) edited by David Howard. Prominent evangelicals from around the world addressed a triennial gathering of students in Urbana, Illinois, at the end of 1976. Their messages reflect the key evangelical distinctive, spreading the evangel, the good news of Christ and salvation.

Splendor in the Ordinary (Tyndale) by Thomas Howard. In a culture that so stresses the spectacular, Christians need to be reminded that it is in the ordinary household and its daily routine that the God of the universe delights to be present, to be worshiped, and to instruct us concerning himself.

A Commentary of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Eerdmans) by Philip Edgcumbe Hughes. This 600-page commentary is a splendid aid to the serious study of one of the most inspiring and difficult of the epistles.

The Joyful Christian (Macmillan) by C. S. Lewis. One-hundred twenty-seven selections from fifteen of the author’s theological works are arranged thematically. Excellent for both those who have long appreciated Lewis and for those who need an introduction.

The End of the Historical-Critical Method (Concordia) by Gerhard Maier. A brief but thoughtful critique of the prevailing thrusts in academic biblical study, along with a constructive alternative.

I Believe in the Historical Jesus (Eerdmans) by I. Howard Marshall. A valuable interaction with the prestigious scholars who question the facticity and/or significance of what is reported about the life and teachings of Jesus in the Gospels.

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The Library and Resource Center in Christian Education (Moody) by Betty McMichael. A good church library is one of the best ways to strengthen any congregation. This manual is a thorough, practical guide for starting and operating a library to serve all ages.

Please Love Me (Word) by Keith Miller. Unlike Miller’s previous books, this is a biography. It tells about a prominent young socialite whose marriage fell apart and whose body was massively shattered in a car crash. But then she was remarkably converted to Christ and physically restored. Alas, the Christian community, with its all-too-common adulation of celebrities and insensitivity to their human need, nearly wrecked her life again through pressuring her to perform as a public exhibit of God’s grace.

The Book of Revelation (Eerdmans) by Robert Mounce. The high standard in other volumes of the New International Commentary series is enhanced by this latest addition to it.

Why Billy Graham? (Zondervan) by David Poling. By far the most prominent evangelical religious figure of our time has been the subject of many books, pro and con. This one is different, because the author, once fairly critical, has over the years become far more understanding and sympathetic.

God, Man, and Salvation: A Biblical Theology (Beacon Hill) by W. T. Purkiser, Richard S. Taylor, and Willard J. Taylor. Scholarly works from the Arminian-Wesleyan traditions are underrepresented in most theological libraries, so a special welcome to this 700-page work by three Nazarenes.

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: A Biblical Study (InterVarsity) by Ronald Sider. The author is one of the leading advocates of greater involvement by evangelicals in social issues. One need not come to the same answers as Sider in order to agree that he has raised significant questions.

The Community of the King (InterVarsity) by Howard Snyder. Evangelicals have frequently been accused of being unconcerned with the church. One couldn’t tell it by the books appearing on the subject. Snyder presents biblical precepts and suggests practical guidelines for embodying them in our time.

Reflections (Harper & Row) by Paul Tournier. Short excerpts from a dozen of the Swiss physician’s books are grouped under twenty-five themes.

A Severe Mercy (Harper & Row) by Sheldon Vanauken. This is the deeply moving story of two young people who fall in love, marry, and become believers, partly through contact with C. S. Lewis. Subsequently the wife falls ill and dies and the husband, who is the author, learns of God’s severe mercy.

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Archaeology in Bible Lands (Moody) by Howard Vos. This is a conveniently arranged guidebook, country-by-country, to the significant excavations of sites of biblical events. It is written for the non-specialist, but has abundant guides for further study.

Where Is God When It Hurts (Zondervan) by Philip Yancey. In a chatty, informal style, chock-full of illustrations, the editor of Campus Life discusses the profound questions of suffering and pain. Don’t look for easy answers here.

D. Bruce Lockerbie is chairman of the Fine Arts department at The Stony Brook School, Stony Brook, New York. This article is taken from his 1976 lectures on Christian Life and Thought, delivered at Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado.

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