Oct 04 2011
A Brief Reading List to Make You a Raging Nutball Like Brant

Believe it or not, people ask for this.  Some, because they're genuinely wanting something to read, and others, likely, because they want to know how one human's brain can be so fouled.  Who's to blame for this?
Well, here you go.  Just a starter list.  Blame these books, and these authors.  More to come, if you want.
A Scandalous Freedom -- Steve Brown
Steve Brown is a good, solid, Reformed, theologically-sound, upstanding, pastoring, college-teaching, doctorate-holding, mild-mannered, wise, older gentleman.... who completely ticks off all the “Good Christians” with this book.
He tries to get Christians to believe the Gospel, and, my friends, let me tell you... that ain’t easy.
In other words:  Hero.
Orthodoxy -- G.K. Chesterton
G.K. Chesterton is one of my favorite people ever.  He’s absent-minded, he’s self-deprecating, he’s happily fat, he loves life, and he disagrees with just about everybody, all the time.  And he’s also so right, so often.
Plus, he’s hilarious.  And he skewers modernity, just so. 
He shows how beauty, art, and life are found within the bounds of lasting, Biblical faith in Jesus, not in the avant-garde.  Faith in Jesus “fits the lock” for life’s troubling questions.
Pagan Christianity and From Eternity to Here -- Frank Viola
They won’t stock Pagan Christianity in many church bookstores, even though it sold mega-copies.  I can understand why.  Frank Viola (and George Barna) show that a lot of what we think of as making up Biblical “church” life actually has no basis in scripture. 
Hold on to your churchgoin' hat.
-- and then read Viola’s follow-up, From Eternity to Here, to see just how beautiful God’s vision for the church really is.   It’s an incredibly romantic book.  Read them both.  Healthy deconstruction, then reconstruction, and it’s a beautiful thing.
Prodigal God -- Timothy Keller
I wish I could buy this one for everyone who’s been in a church more than two years.  Tim Keller captures the story, and how it re-defines, for its listeners, God, sin, and forgiveness.
The mis-named “Prodigal Son” is the best story I’ve ever heard.  Read this book, and then thank God. 
Messy Christianity -- Mike Yaconelli
Mike Yaconelli died in a car accident after writing this.  I always admired him for his youth ministry, and for his leadership of “America’s slowest-growing church”. 
Funny, and easy to read, and so true.  We’re all messed-up, and stuff happens, and thank God for all of it.
The Last of the Mohicans -- James Fenimore Cooper
Just kidding.  I actually hate this book.  "The Coop" was, I’m sure, an awesome guy, but... zzzzz.
The Great Divorce -- C.S. Lewis
I could pick practically anything by Lewis.  But Heaven and Hell are big right now.
In Love Wins, a book of the moment, Rob Bell recommends this book “for further reading”, along with Keller’s Prodigal God.  On this, I agree with Bell wholeheartedly.
What’s So Amazing About Grace -- Philip Yancey
The world pines for grace.  It aches for it.  Yancey is a fair-minded, thoughtful, journalist-type who grew up in legalism.  He tells stories, and helps us all breathe the fresh air of Amazing Grace.
The Ragamuffin Gospel -- Brennan Manning
This book confirms what I thought:  If a single book is loved by both Rich Mullins and Bono, I’ll love it, too.
Here's the upshot:  Losers, misfits, and benchwarmers... welcome to the table of God.  Let's dance.

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Comments (35) -

10/4/2011 5:09:31 PM
Heidididit United States
I can't believe you don't like cheese.  You should also read the book 'Radical' by David Platt.  But, it's the color of sharp cheddar.  So, you might not.

Everything by C.S. Lewis ought to be read by every politician...or anyone who wants to keep their soul from going on backorder.  Good reads, Cheesehater.  
10/4/2011 5:25:35 PM
Brant Hansen United States
Brant Hansen
Ooh, that makes me mad, Cheesehaterhater.

I did read David Platt.  Loved the challenging stuff.  So there...

And you're right about Lewis, too.
10/4/2011 5:46:39 PM
Brenda United States
I think What's So Amazing About Grace was probably the best I've ever read in the Christian non-fiction spectrum.  Tom Davis's books are pretty good too, if you're interested in social justice issues.
10/4/2011 6:21:21 PM
Nettie Godbey United States
Nettie Godbey
WOW.... The list looks pretty amazing. I believe I'm going to read all of them. Starting with Prodigal God, Messy Christianity and The Great Divorce. I wish I could read alll of them right now. But I will. Thanks.
10/4/2011 8:28:55 PM
Alisha United States
I totally agree with CS Lewis... Love his books Smile

I also think Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti should be added to the list. Take your pick of which ever author.
10/4/2011 9:02:49 PM
Steve Peek United States
Steve Peek
You have some great choices here.  I also recommend anything by Randy Alcorn, but particularly 'Deadline' in the fiction realm, 'Heaven', and 'If God Is Good'.  

I'd also recommend some apologetics writings as many, if not most, Christians are very poor when it comes to defending the faith or even having a challenging discussion with a non believer, let alone a strong atheist.  Anything by Norman Geisler and Ravi Zacharias is good.  'I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist' by Geisler and Frank Turek is a good place to start.  Josh McDowell's 'Evidence That Demands a Verdict' is also top notch.  An apologetics primer in novel form that is good is 'Five Sacred Crossings' by Craig Hazen.  Another winner is 'What's So Great About Christianity' by Dinesh D'Souza.

I commend Brant on addressing the topic of reading and would love to see more posts along this line.
10/5/2011 4:08:28 AM
Frank Viola United States
Frank Viola
Whoooaaa!!! Two of my books made your list. Thanks so much, bro. I'm honored.

10/5/2011 7:09:34 AM
Waiting for my flight United States
Waiting for my flight
Great! Now, I have a new reading list which I have been searching for.

Ditto on C.S. Lewis.

Does this mean I will think like Brant after I have read these books?
10/5/2011 1:04:45 PM
Alfredo Sauce United States
Alfredo Sauce
FYI Orthodoxy is Free I believe on Amazon (the Kindel version)

I also accidentally bought "The Last of the Mohicans" for $2.00 on amazon before I actually read your description of it...thanks a lot Brant!
10/5/2011 3:21:08 PM
i <3 air one! United States
i <3 air one!
C.S. Lewis is awesome!!! My favorite book by him is The Last Battle. It's amazing!
10/5/2011 4:37:06 PM
Al D (The D is for drummer) United States
Al D (The D is for drummer)
The Last of the Mohicans-- great movie, US and UK versions.  
10/5/2011 4:58:52 PM
Iron Ninja United States
Iron Ninja
C.S. Lewis ANYTHING is amazing! if you're new to him check our Screwtape letters, or Mere Christianty. both great books that are easy to read and understand. and thats just to start! anything by C.S. Lewis is great
10/5/2011 5:41:30 PM
anonymous United States
John MacArthur and John Piper have great stuff. R.C. Sproul, Sam Waldron, Albert Martin, Ray Comfort, and older writers like John Gill, John Bunyan, Richard Baxter, John Owen, and certainly Jonathan Edwards.

Those authors will last you a lifetime.
10/6/2011 12:17:17 AM
Laycee Germany
I love reading "Brants Rants" Your blogs typically bring a smile to my face. Thanks for sharing your wit.
God Bless!
10/6/2011 7:42:04 AM
Debbie United States
Ragamuffin Gospel is one of my favorites too. I have to add Donald Miller's books "Blue Like Jazz", "Searching for God Knows What" and "Through Painted Deserts". They tell it like it is, I can identify with them. Thanks Brant will check out the others, Have read CS Lewis' Screwtape letters and The problem with pain.
10/6/2011 7:42:54 AM
Debbie United States
Oh forgot Gene Edward's "The Divine Romance" and "A Tale of Two Kings" Awesome books.
10/6/2011 7:51:01 AM
Frank Viola United States
Frank Viola
p.s. I forgot to mention that my entire library is discounted almost 50% right now at http://www.ptmin.org/library

thanks, bro.

keep up the great work!


Psalm 115:1
10/6/2011 3:26:04 PM
Jake United States
Fun list, two of the inklings made it, but no nod to Tolkein?  I know he wrote fiction, but it was him that really drove their little niche.  
I love Lewis, and the Screwtape Letters is one of my favorite (and scary-how-real-it-is) reads ever.  Have you ever read his Space Trilogy fiction?  Lewis is so brilliant, and his fiction for adults is beyond insightful.
Also, don't forget to love on John Eldredge and "Wild at Heart".  He and Chesterton have been huge in forming me as a man.
10/8/2011 5:36:50 PM
Erica United States
If you haven't read it: I just finished reading C.S.Lewis's Screwtape Letters. It was great. I disagree with Lewis in someways, I think that one of the major ways is that I don't believe that you can lose your faith once you are truly saved, however, I really REALLY enjoy reading his books, and this one in  particular. (Although I think his best were the Chronicles of Narnia!! Smile )
10/9/2011 5:11:21 PM
Steve United States
For those who have enjoyed 'The Screwtape Letters', I would highly recommend that you check out 'Lord Foulgrin's Letters' and 'The Ishbane Conspiracy' by Randy Alcorn.  They are on a similar theme and are extremely well done.
10/9/2011 7:19:58 PM
Erica United States
Thanks for the suggestion, Steve. After I posted I realized that several people had already said how much they enjoyed Screwtape Letters...I guess I'm not unique. Tong
11/7/2011 4:53:59 PM
Carly Jo United States
Carly Jo
I am 17, and I LOVE G.K. Chesterton. I love you, Brant, even more for living him, too. Him and C.S. Lewis. ever notice that people who have two or more first initials and then their last name are pretty awesome??!!? J.R.R. Tolkien.... I dunno 'bout J.K. Rowling though...I mean, J.K.??? ...Just kidding...? yeah. Chesterton and Lewis FTW Smile
11/17/2011 11:13:08 AM
Jim United States
Love the list! Finished reading "A Scandalous Freedom" - think we will do a Saturday morning book study with this one! This is where our church is going, more grace (freedom) based theology. It was a very timely read. Thanks again for the list, and your refreshing look at all things Jesus.
12/8/2011 2:44:05 AM
Layla Payton United States
Layla Payton
How awesome was Pagan Christianity??? I agreed with it ALL, aside from their view on Baptism (I believe Baptism is an outward symbol of what was already done in the Christan's heart, because of Salvation. I don't believe it is a part of the Salvation process.) That said, I was constantly restraining myself from standing on my chair and yelling, "FREEDOM!!!"

12/11/2011 7:32:32 AM
Rubuku United States
Love the ragamuffin gospel book!!
3/31/2012 2:18:19 PM
weirdo dude United States
weirdo dude
madeline l'engle is good to
10/17/2012 4:57:22 PM
Cheesehaterforgiver United States
Cheesehater....help!  I know there was a book you suggested a few months back.  For whatever reason, I am not seeing it here.  Of course, that probably means that you mentioned it several times in the blog and/or comments (and now you know MY superpower).  It was called something, like....Stupid Things Christians Believe...by....an....author....someone...who is....a man...or woman....with.....uhm..a first name.....and....a last name....and, who speaks words...with vowels....  You know.  Anyhow, could you please point me in the right direction?  Thank you, bro!
4/15/2013 11:45:59 AM
Nicole United States
*Messy SPIRITUALITY -- Mike Yaconelli
sooo glad this is on your list!
4/15/2013 11:58:38 AM
Mandi United States
LOVE this list Brant! I'm super excited to read some of these. Also Destined To Reign by Joseph Prince is a truly fantastic book. As is Unmerited Favor. Smile
4/15/2013 12:03:52 PM
Brendt Wayne Waters United States
Brendt Wayne Waters
My favorite thing about Chesterton is how often you'll find Rich Mullins lyrics in his books. Smile
4/15/2013 12:58:49 PM
Deandra M Carter United States
Deandra M Carter
I am in the middle of reading Pagan Christianity right now. I had started reading it a couple of months ago, but stopped because it was just so challenging (though I was certain I was ready to have my views challenged then.). However, this time around, I am devouring it. It is a pretty awesome book. Will definitely have to get A Scandalous Freedom here soon! It like an great read!
4/15/2013 1:49:28 PM
rachel b United States
rachel b
awesome. thanks. i've read the ragamuffin gospel. i'll have to check out some of the others.
4/15/2013 1:58:33 PM
Kyle United States
Check out "The Knowledge of the Holy" by A.W. Tozer and "Bravehearted Gospel" by Eric Ludy.
4/15/2013 3:32:29 PM
Heather United States
I feel a little lacking; I haven't read any of these, except "Last of the Mohicans" which was part of my college English Lit major (total yawn, I agree!). I would add Francis Chan's books, especially "Crazy Love," Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" (really, I think it's for men too, not just women - it's one of those books that jars you out of your Christian rut and gives you new eyes for looking at EVERYTHING), and Phillip Keller's "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23." Also anything by Charles Spurgeon, although sometimes he goes over my head and reminds me of everything I don't yet understand (kind of like Lewis).
4/15/2013 3:57:47 PM
Wendy United States
Great stuff Brant!  I've read some of these and a couple more I've been planning to when I got around to it.  I LOVE Steve Brown!!!  I would highly recommend "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn.  Most of us just have a vague, fuzzy idea of heaven and it isn't a picture that is very inspiring or exciting.  That book will change that and give you a whole new perspective of what our greatest hope is all about!!  
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