You might not be able to tell based on my blog, but I didn’t go to a Reformed seminary; Haggard School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University is rooted is the Wesleyan-Holiness background (I kind of slowly went Reformed by way of reaction.) I went there on a partial scholarship through the godly people over at the Evangelical Friends Southwest Center and took classes in Friends Church theology and history. While I’m grateful for my time there, my excellent professors, and deeply pastoral education, you can understand when I say that giving me a Reformed, or even Reformedish, perspective on theology or ministry wasn’t a high priority. Which makes sense.
Given that, I’ve kind of had to give myself a Reformed education on the fly, mostly piecing things together via footnotes in books I’ve liked, amazon.com recommendations, and so forth. Knowing how difficult that can be, I put together a quick list of books in various ministry areas, of the sort I would have appreciated, for those unable to get to seminary yet, or what to supplement their own seminary ed with more Reformed(ish) voices. Think of it like a Reformedish starter kit.
A few caveats: This is by no means an exhaustive list. The theology and biblical studies section could be expanded by quite a bit. Also, I think people outside the Reformed tradition would be blessed by these, and there are many excellent books written outside of the Reformed tradition that have blessed me in these areas. Finally, this is not an endorsement of every single point of exegesis or position taken in each book. I just think they’re pretty good. If any of you have others to recommend in these various areas, go ahead and recommend them in the comments.
The Christian Faith:A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way by Michael Horton
Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church by J. Todd Billings
Update: A friend of mine pointed out a glaring absence. It’s absolutely necessary to cruise through a couple of the catechisms and confessions like the Heidelberg Catechism or the Westminster Confession. I’d highly commend Kevin DeYoung’s accessible commentary on Heidelberg The Good News We Almost Forgot.
Biblical Studies & Hermeneutics:
Introduction to Biblical Interpretation by William W. Klein, Craig L. Blomberg, & Robbert. I Hubbard Jr.
Ministry Philosophy and Practice:
Dynamics of Spiritual Life by Richard Lovelace
Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon by Bryan Chapell
Preaching Christ in a Post-Modern World (Lectures) by Dr. Timothy Keller and Dr. Edmund Clowney
Evangelism & Apologetics:
Lectures on Apologetics and Evangelism by Jerram Barrs
The Reason For God by Tim Keller
A Shot of Faith to the Head by Mitch Stokes
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand by Paul David Tripp
Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Paul David Tripp
The Pastor by Eugene Peterson
Reformation History and Historical Doctrine
The Christian Tradition 4: Reformation of Church and Dogma by Jaroslav Pelikan
The Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch
10 Myths About Calvinism by Kenneth Stewart
Soli Deo Gloria