Diversity is perhaps the key word to describe the survey results.

If it is true that we are what we eat, it is equally true that we are what we read. With this in mind, CHRISTIANITY TODAY informally surveyed about 40 evangelical leaders to find out what books, other than the Bible, they considered most helpful or influential in their personal lives or ministries. Each was asked to list five such books and to give a brief statement describing why these were considered important. We thought a “top ten” would surface, but that was not the case. What did emerge was a very complex picture that shows how varied are the interests today of evangelicals at the leadership level.

Diversity is perhaps the key word to describe the survey results. Few books received more than one or two votes, so a list of the most influential books could not be compiled. It was possible to sort out the choices into four basic areas, from which large numbers of books were chosen: doctrinal theology, practical theology, general spirituality, and social issues.

Doctrinal theology. This was by far the largest category, with some 40 percent of the books chosen from it, including such topics as apologetics, Christology, systematics, God, language, holiness, kingdom of God. Scripture, and general surveys of doctrine. James M. Boice, pastor of Philadelphia’s Tenth Presbyterian Church, made this comment about The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, by B. B. Warfield: “This classic exposition of the Bible’s witness to its inspiration, authority, and inerrancy has been foundational to the way I have approached Scripture in my own daily work.” The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, by C. F. W. Walther, elicited this statement from J. A. O. Preus, president ...

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