the weblog of Alan Knox

Good Books about the Church or Biblical Theology?

Posted by on Dec 10, 2009 in books | 14 comments

So, in case you didn’t know, Christmas is coming up soon. And, I usually get money or gift cards that I can use to buy books. Since my family asks for book lists as gift ideas before Christmas, I often spend alot of time looking for other books to buy after Christmas.

So, I’m going to be lazy and ask you to help me. What are some good books that you’ve read about the church or about biblical theology? (And, if you have time, tell us why you liked the books.)


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  1. 12-10-2009

    Recently I read “Total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community” by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis. I found it to be an interesting and informed look at the church with excellent personal examples of how these authors applied Biblical principles. It was provocative, robust, and delightfully succinct.

  2. 12-10-2009


    I just recently finished Chosen and Unchosen and reviewed it: Might appeal to you, but it is OT. I found it excellent.

    Currently it’s Trueblood, Company of the Committed on church. Excellent critique that was written almost 50 years ago, but sounds like today. I’m currenlty excerpting it on my blog. Too bad it is out of print : (

    And, this one was just released by Hendrickson, Bird Faith of Jesus Christ. Your Greek will come in handy as you read this one! Here’s a link to the description:


  3. 12-10-2009

    Still trying to finish my summer reading:

    Houses that Change the World – Wolfgang Simson

    Challenges the need for the reformation of the church’s existence. It is time to bring the church to the people not the people to the church. One of fifteen thesis: Out of the hands of bureaucratic clergy and on towards the priesthood of all believers.

    Post Charismatic – Rob McAlpine

    For my charismatic friends. For those who find themselves picking themselves off the floor after years of disappointment, disillusionment and even spiritual abuse.

    Total Church – Tim Chester, Steve Timmis

    I can’t add anything to what Mark said above. A great read, with practical applications of ekklesia life.

    Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church, From Eternity to Here – Frank Viola(w/ G. Barna, Pagan Christianity)

    I find all of these books challenging, uplifting, controversial, et al. Haven’t finished From Eternity to Here. Read them with an open mind and if you get offended, do yourself a favor and find out why.

  4. 12-10-2009

    Biblical Theology:

    Goldsworthy Triology
    The New Dictionary of Biblical Theology
    Proclaiming Christ from all the Scriptures (more of a homily but still has the BT focus)
    The Word Became Flesh (same as above)
    Road to Emmaus (simple but still helpful)


    Paul’s Idea of Community
    A Theology of Church Leadership
    A Theology of Personal Ministry: Spiritual Giftedness in the Local Church
    Christ in Yall (practical but is still very challenging from that perspective)
    9 Marks of a Healthy Church (good to wrestle through though I disagree with it)
    A Church Building Every 1/2 mile

    That is what I can think of now.

  5. 12-10-2009

    Fight Club

  6. 12-10-2009

    Everyone (except Lew),

    Thanks for the suggestions. Any others?


  7. 12-10-2009

    I have been reading “The Anabaptist View of the Church” from the dissent and non-conformity series. It has been very good so far.

  8. 12-11-2009

    Contours of Christian of Theology: The Church by Edmund Clowney is excellent.

  9. 12-11-2009

    Arthur and James,

    Thanks for the suggestions.


  10. 12-11-2009

    A good one that came out two years ago was “Un-Inventing The Church: Toward A Modest Ecclesiology” by P. Andrew Sandlin. He deals with the meaning of church and looks at high church vs. low church ideas. It was published on Lulu and I don’t know if it’s still available.

  11. 12-11-2009

    Have you ever read “The Secret of the Strength” Subtitle What Would the Anabaptist Tell This Generation by Peter Hoover. It’s a very interesting book on what the Anabaptists believed in the first 50 years of their existence when they were growing fast before church structure developed. The book talks about their emphasis on sola Christus over sola scriptura. Also looks into their errors as well.

  12. 12-12-2009

    Rod and Steve,

    Thanks for more suggestions.


  13. 12-14-2009

    Does a fish know it is in the water?

    Many use this expression to describe how we can be too close to something, submersed in it, and so we do not see it clearly. Culture is like this. I knew a girl who grew up in the jungles of Venezuela, and she was keenly aware of things in our culture that we feel, but can’t describe. Like eating a piece of pie. If you eat it without pointing the tip of it towards you, and begin by eating it from “the back” no one can say you have done something wrong, but it will make others feel unaccountably uncomfortable with you when you do it this way.

    In so many ways we have created an unnatural “christian-american” culture that is more than a little awkward and off-putting to those very ones around us we want to reach with the gospel. We pre-dispose them to avoid us and to dismiss the things we say and to minimize the things we do (they are just weird, not sacrificially loving, not kind because of the great grace they have received, etc.)

    I’ve been doing a lot of work around the idea of supracultural principles and functions that every church in every culture in every age is called to fulfill within their particular context. This doesn’t mean we are not sometimes required to be purposely counter-cultural, but it does mean that we need to be accessible to a culture and understand how to incarnate Christ here, now in ways that can be received and understood clearly.

    What’s Up, America? by Diane Asitimbay is subtitled, “a foreigner’s guide to understanding Americans.” It is to acquaint foreigners on why we do what we do and how to fit in and not be offended at our differences from theirs. Just the chapter on friends was worth the price. I never quite realized how we manage and categorize friendships, and why it is difficult to make deep and pervasive friendships in our culture. Other chapters talk about 22 specific areas where we are likely to be fish who don’t realize we are in the water.

    So much of this book is an eye opener from a cultural relevance perspective for the church. I think it is very helpful for those seeking to be the biblical and faithful church in this time and place. (Assuming, first, that our contextualization is informed by biblical functions and principles that we are working to fulfill.)

  14. 12-15-2009


    I like the idea of getting an outsider’s opinion. Thanks for the suggestion.