Ten books...

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When I was just beginning in the pastorate, I kept my eye on Christian Century's monthly lists of the "Top Ten" books for this or that famous prof or pastor. The lists were all the more interesting because all those asked were liberal (unbelieving) Christians. I don't remember any book agreed upon by most of them other than Augustine's Confessions. So I bought and read it, and ever since have been completely mystified why any unbelieving Christian would bother reading it, let alone saying it was one of the most influential books he's ever read? If you have an idea, please help me: I've wondered about this for thirty years, now.

With David Wegener as the instigator, here's a list of ten books that have been influential in my life. I've not labored over it, so I'm not saying these have been the ten most influential books in my life. (Augustine's Confessions is missing and that's one clue this list is somewhat haphazard.) But very influential, yes; you can't go wrong reading any of them. So now, close your computer and...


1. The Word of God Written (Old and New Testaments)
2. G. K. Chesterton, anything and everything, maybe starting with The Thing
3. John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress (I'm still not finished)
4. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
5. Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind
6. Soren Kierkegaard, Attack Upon Christendom
7. Joe Bayly, Out of My Mind
8. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
9. Iain Murray, Biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones
10. John Calvin, Institutes, letters, tracts, sermons, and commentaries
11. Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

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