PERSPECTIVE: Good reading!
One of the blessings of an extensive travel agenda is the opportunity to read. This has been a busy summer of travel. I have been to East Asia twice and other domestic locations for missions and meetings. During these days, I have read some fascinating and challenging books. I would like to share a few of the books with you and challenge you to read them.
One of my favorite writers of the past is A. W. Tozer. Tozer was a great man of God who walked daily with the Master. The depth of his walk with God is revealed on every page of his wonderful books. I have been re-reading his books and find my faith deepened by his magnificent understanding of the majesty and glory of God. His book The Knowledge of the Holy speaks of the attributes of God. To read his thoughts are to be thrust into the remarkable insight into the person of God. You will stand amazed and be captured by the wonder of the awesome God Who has loved us in Christ.
Another of his books is titled Man—the Dwelling Place of God. Tozer makes plain the lostness of man and the transforming power of Christ. He presses for the powerful transformation of the converted sinful man and the evidence to prove the conversion. For Tozer, everything changes when Christ enters our lives through repentance and faith.
Francis Chan, a popular writer to the younger generation who seeks to follow God with a whole heart, has written a new book called Erasing Hell. He sets in clear terms the reality of hell. There are those who seek to erase hell from the Bible and Christian doctrine. Rob Bell, another who is read and listened to by the young adults of the faith, has written a book that seeks to erase hell and contends that in the end, love wins and all are saved. Francis Chan does a masterful job, humbly and with a broken heart, presenting the truth—hell is real and cannot be dismissed.
During my time at Edmond, First, I have been preaching a series on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. What a joy! I rarely have the opportunity to preach a series in my role as Executive Director-Treasurer. In sermon preparation, I was compelled to read again an old classic by R. A. Torrey called The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. I do not always arrive at the same position as Torrey, but I am blessed by this great man and his writings on the Holy Spirit. I believe you will be, too.
A fun and challenging book to read is Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. It is an intriguing tale of a black man in a mission center in Fort Worth, Texas, and the love shown him by a wonderful Christian lady. This lady’s husband, who tells the story, is honest about his own failures and the powerful witness of his loving wife who forgave his sin against her and dared to pour her love out on someone no one thought worthy.
Perhaps the book that captured my heart the most is a book called Faith Under Fire by Andrew White. White serves as the pastor of St. George Anglican Church in Bagdad, Iraq. He speaks freely of the incredible challenges he and members of his church face as they seek to follow Christ in a hostile world. He speaks of death, torture, kidnapping and brutality inflicted on his parishioners as they seek to serve Christ and stand for him. It is a gripping and compelling exposé of what it means to live by faith in the midst of war. I found myself in tears and forced to my knees as I compared my feeble faith and service in contrast to these brave soldiers of the Cross. White’s commitment and service as the shepherd of this flock will stir your heart. He walks you deep into the truth of Scripture and does not let you just read a verse and walk away. He gives you real life examples of how the truth is lived.
I have read other good books, but I hope these will get you started. If you take time to read them, your faith will be both challenged and increased. Good reading!
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.