Top Books on the Christian Mind
In my last posting I listed my top ten bibliography that I passed out for faculty at a Christian college where I had the privilege of bringing some challenge and encouragement last week. It named my favorite books about worldviews and worldview formation.
Here is another handout I used in my talk, a listing of books that, like the ones on worldview, should be of interest to any readers of BookNotes and friends of Hearts & Minds. If you don't care about this stuff, you might be on the wrong blog spot. To care about books, and how serious-minded Christian books can help us move towards redemptive social engagement, we must first overcome the obstacles of a shallow Christian mind, the lack of intellectual habits within the church, and ramp up our conversations about the nature of Christian learning and wholistic discipleship. Think of Romans 12:1-2...
Let us know if you have found any of these helpful, or have a distaste for any. Because I snuck in just a few more than ten titles, I couldn't call this a top ten list, so I named it only SOME GREAT BOOKS ON THE NATURE OF CHRISTIAN SCHOLARSHIP. I wish every church library and Christian leader's bookshelf included a few of these.
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind Mark Noll (Eerdmans) $20 Surely one of the most important books of our time, this named the crisis of evangelical anti-intellectualism, traced its colorful history and charted an agenda for a renewal of the life of the mind. Called “brilliant” by Publisher’s Weekly and a “landmark” by J.I. Packer.
Fit Bodies, Fat Minds: Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to Do About It Os Guinness (Baker) $9.99 This is a punchy and powerful set of two extended essays, similar to the more thorough Noll text, but considerably more accessible. The first examines 8 reasons (in 8 short chapters) why American evangelicals failed to think well throughout their development. The second half examines 8 reasons why it remains difficult to recapture a “Christian mind” in our contemporary era. Brilliant cultural criticism, fascinating social history, sober assessment, and a thrilling call for thoughtful, culturally-engaged and innovative thinking.
The Vocation of the Christian Scholar: How the Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind (revised) Richard Hughes (Eerdmans) $15 Although the thoughtful and winsome Dr. Hughes has not answered many of the tough questions about worldviewish and perspectival learning, his elegant call to be human and good in the classroom is deeply, deeply moving.
The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship George M. Marsden (Oxford University Press) $16.95 After a New York Times reviewer called Marsden’s call to Christian scholarship “outrageous” his publisher invited him to do this essay on just what this project is about. Lucid, persuasive and solid.
Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning and Living Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. (Eerdmans) $15 So eloquent and caring, this beautiful book was initially done for incoming students at Calvin College, and is now considered a classic in the literature about the meaning of a uniquely Christian college education.
Finding God At Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians edited by Kelly Monroe Kullberg (IVP/Veritas) $15 A remarkable bargain, this anthology is a collection of various thinkers who have shared their stories and insights with the evangelical student group at Harvard. From Robert Coles to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from Nicholas Wolterstorff to Owen Gingerich, this is a stellar collection of top-rate scholars. A fabulous resource. Her thoughtful Veritas Forum website is a real treasure trove.
The Integration of Faith and Learning: A Worldview Approach Robert A. Harris (Cascade) $30 A handbook of ideas about relating faith and learning in worldviewish ways. This could be used with students in a variety of settings and, although basic, offers good insights, and engenders a love for truth and a critical mind.
Discipleship of the Mind: Learning to Love God in the Way We Think and Habits of the Mind: The Intellectual Life as a Christian Calling (IVP) $15/$16 Two wonderful, thoughtful and provocative books, a bit meaty for most under-grads, and yet rich enough for the most learned professors. Thank goodness for Mr. Sire’s long life of writing about his own intellectual curiosity, and his insights theological, philosophical, and imminently practical. Bravo!
A Mind for God James Emery White (IVP) $12 A smallish, pocket-sized hardcover, this handsome little volume is an extended essay on which the life of the mind matters, why it is important to read deeply and widely, and how the Christian call to serve our neighbors and impact our world is dependent upon serious learning, in Godly perspective.
A good reminder why what we do matters, the grand impact we hope our teaching will have.
Loving God With All Your Mind: Thinking as a Christian in a Postmodern World Gene Edward Veith, Jr. (Crossway) $19.99 A wonderful guide for beginners, this explores higher education by doing a helpful Bible study of the situation of Daniel and his friends in “Babylon U.” Fun, creative, and a good call to think faithfully and wisely in our “new dark ages.”
The Life of the Mind: A Christian Perspective Clifford Williams (Baker/CCCU) $10.99 Brief, nicely written, with endorsements from the likes of Mark Noll, Art Holmes, Robert Andringa, David Dockery and Harold Heie, this philosophy prof here offers under-grads an argument for Christian thinking and honoring God in our scholarship. Those who are called upon to aid students in their academic discipleship would do well to know these qualities.
The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness: A Guide for Students Donald Opitz & Derek Melleby (Brazos) $13.99 I have raved about this on line, and nearly everywhere I go. Delightfully enjoyable, passionately Christ-exalting, socially relevant and clearly informed by the best literature, this is the best introduction to being a Christian student that has yet been done. A wonderful invitation to the world of worldviews and thinking and learning. They have an awesome website, growing better each week. I will even get to chime in there on occasion, as will anyone with stories or resources or ideas for this terrific, outrageous movement of nurturing the life of the mind among undergrads. Check it out, here at www.academicfaithfulness.com.