Slightly Expanded And Significantly More Organized Conference Book Table List

Here’s the full list plus a couple of relevant additions, linked to sites where they […]

Mockingbird / 4.7.09

Here’s the full list plus a couple of relevant additions, linked to sites where they can be purchased. Although everything comes highly recommended, this is by no means meant to be a definitive list (stay tuned…). For the sake of newcomers we have divided the non-fiction into three itunes-inspired categories: Basics, Next Steps and Deep Cuts. In other words, the books are organized according to accessibility rather than importance.

1. Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book.
3. Manning, Brennan. The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News For the Bedraggled, Beat-up and Burnt Out
3. Martyn, Dorothy. Beyond Deserving: Children, Parents And Responsibility Revisited.
4. Norris, Sean. Judgment And Love. [out-of-print, 2nd edition coming soon!]
5. Paulson, Steven. Luther For Armchair Theologians.
6. Vieth, Gene. The Spirituality Of The Cross: The Way Of The First Evangelicals.
7. Walker, Paul. Sermons From The Cathedral Church Of The Advent.
8. Zahl, Paul. 2000 Years Of Amazing Grace: The Story And Meaning Of The Christian Faith.
9. Zahl, Paul. Who Will Deliver Us? The Present Power Of The Death Of Christ.

Next Steps
1. Allison, C Fitzsimmons. Fear Love And Worship.
2. Allison, C Fitzsimmons. Guilt Anger And God.
3. Barnes, Robert. The Reformation Essays Of Dr. Robert Barnes.
4. Capon, Robert Farrar. Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage And Vindication In The Parables Of Jesus
5. Elert, Werner. Law And Gospel.
6. Forde, Gerhard. On Being A Theologian Of The Cross.
7. Greene-McCreight, Kathryn. Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response To Mental Illness.
8. Lewis, C.S. A Grief Observed.
9. Long, Anne. Listening.
10. Luther, Martin. Commentary On Galatians.
11. Luther, Martin. The Bondage Of The Will.
12. Norris, Sean. Two Words Devotional [teaser].
13. Pless, John. Handling The Word Of Truth: Law And Gospel In The Church Today.
14. Rosenbladt, Rod. Christ Alone (Today’s Issues).
15. Zahl, Paul. Grace In Practice: A Theology Of Everyday Life.

Deep Cuts
1. Bayer, Oswald. Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation.
2. Forde, Gerhard. A More Radical Gospel: Essays on Eschatology, Authority, Atonement and Ecumenism.
3. Forde, Gerhard. The Preached God: Proclamation in Word And Sacrament.
4. Holcomb, Justin. Christian Theologies Of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction.
5. Holl, Karl. The Distinctive Elements in Christianity.
6. Holl, Karl. The Reconstruction Of Morality.
7. Mattes, Mark. The Role Of Justification In Contemporary Theology.
8. Null, Ashley. Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine Of Repentence: Renewing The Power To Love.

1. Eliot, T.S. The Cocktail Party.
2. Eliot, T.S. The Family Reunion.
3. Giertz, Bo. The Hammer Of God.
4. Kerouac, Jack. Big Sur.
5. Lewis, C.S. The Great Divorce.
6. O’Connor, Flannery. The Complete Stories.
7. Tolstoy, Leo. The Great Short Works.
8. Wilder, Thornton. The Collected Short Plays.

1. Brown, Dusty. Dusty Brown.
2. High Street Hymns – High Street Hymns.
3. JAZ. I Played Sports.
4. Mejias, Alex – Alex Mejias.

So… what were we missing? We’re especially eager to find more “basics”. And did we get the labels right? We’re all ears…

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18 responses to “Slightly Expanded And Significantly More Organized Conference Book Table List”

  1. John Stamper says:

    This is awesome. Jeff Hual and I were just talking last week about the need for something like this. You guys need to go on the psychic channel. (Sorry, way too pagan a reference.)

    Jeff and I especially agree about the need for entry level stuff.

    Quick question: any reason you classified THE GREAT DIVORCE as non-fiction? Most people classify it as fiction — though I can see how it in a way inhabits the border between F and nonF. This book was hugely important in my early Christian life so putting it in where you have it makes sense to me. Ummmm, now that I think about it I still am in my early Christian life…

    For fiction, I’d suggest the C.S. Lewis novel “Till We Have Faces”, which is an adaptation of both the book of Job and the greek myth of Cupid and Psyche. It’s also a story where CSL places a woman front and center as his main character and showers down a huge amount of love on her. He wrote it toward the end of his life and considered it the best thing he ever wrote.

    For Deep Cuts I’d consider adding a book by Fitz, which I think is just amazing, and right up Mbird’s alley: “The Rise of Moralism.” The very beginning, the two middle chapters on Jeremy Taylor, and the last two chapters are especially mind-blowing. Amazing insights.

    We also might want at some point to begin assembling a list of free stuff on the internet (e.g. copyright has expired) where people can just click and read immediately without paying anything.

    A freely available short story I’d suggest for that group (and very appropriate for dealing with the long shadow of Good Friday in our lives) is “Adventure” from the collection “Winesburg, Ohio” by Sherwood Anderson. It has possibly the most poignant closing sentence of any work of fiction in the English language:

    Thanks again for a great list….

  2. Jacob says:

    For next steps I would recommend: Christian Spirituality Five Views of Sanctification. All you need to read is Forde’s essay and his responses to the other views. It really explains the distiction between Law and Gospel and provides you with answers when someone asks you, “Yeah, but what about…”

    Jesus Means Freedom by Ernst Kaseman is Hot! Hot! Hot!

    PZ’s First Christin is one of the best Protestant responses to everyone’s fascination with N.T. Wright and the New Perspective.

  3. Mockingbird says:

    John- good catch with The Great Divorce. I completely blanked! And thanks for the other recommendations, can’t wait to read them.

  4. Matt McCormick says:

    A few more to add…

    Karl Holl
    What did Luther understand by religion?
    -This is by far his best work. Surpasses reconstruction of Morality and the distinctive elements.

    Gerhard O. Forde
    Justification by Faith: A Matter of Death and Life
    Where God Meets Man
    Theology Is for Proclamation

    Hans J. Iwand
    The Righteousness of Faith According to Luther. CLASSIC!

    Martin Luther
    Commentary On Romans-Mueller version
    Galatians- Crossway Books version/Readable
    Luther’s Small Catechism- (The CPH version)
    Luther and Erasmus (CCEL)- The best translation of the Bondage of the Will/Readable and Scholarly

    Oswald Bayer
    Living By Faith

    Gustaf Wingren
    The Living Word

    George Wolfgang Forell
    Faith Active In Love
    -Best work on ethics.

    James Nestingen
    -Martin Luther: His Life and Teachings

    Matthew Smith
    All I Owe
    Even When My Heart Is Breaking
    He is a Gospel focused Songwriter. One of the best/Recommended by White Horse Inn.

    To Live With Christ by Bo Giertz
    By Faith Alone- Martin Luther

    WHAM 🙂

  5. Jeff Hual says:

    DZ, thanks for the list…it’s just what I need. Jeff

  6. Matt McCormick says:

    Oh and the Christless Christianity DVD by Michael Horton…Dynamite

  7. John Stamper says:

    Hey Matt, Jacob, Jeff, etc.:

    What did you guys think of Forde’s “The Captivation of the Will”? I found it an especially accessible discussion Luther’s “Bondage of the Will” — and if a newbie like me were trying to learn more about Luther’s book I’d suggest they try Forde’s first. Your thoughts?

    I can’t emphasize how incredibly helpful Luther’s Commentary on Galatians remains for me. Which DZ and Matt have both mentioned. Honestly I can’t. When the Devil begins to convince me that Christ couldn’t have died FOR ME (for a man as wicked and stubborn as me, which is really true) then hearing Luther’s words of promise always start me bawling. Parts of it are also really funny.

    A bible study on Galatians using Scripture and Luther’s work would be a big help to any group wanting to take the “Next Step.”

    BTW Matt… I really liked WHAM at the end of your post. When appropriate I hope you’ll use other Batmanisms, like BIFF!

  8. burton says:

    John Stamper,

    Paul Walker has a done a great Bible Study on Galatians.

    John Zahl has also just recently done a church-wide small group study on Galatians here at Holy Cross.

    Both are outstanding.

  9. John Stamper says:

    Can I starting coming to church with you, Mike? It’s just a 4 hour drive — I think I could do that.

  10. burton says:


    Bring it! 4 hours to hear the Gospel isn’t so bad 🙂

  11. Jacob Smith says:


    I think anything by Forde is amazing. Mat is spot on Justification a matter of Death and Life is great. Also I can’t agree with you more in regards to Luther’s commentaries. His introduction to Romans in absolutely life changing.

  12. dpotter says:

    Absolutely perfect…thanks for this list M’Bird!

  13. Todd says:

    I’d recommend:
    (For the Deep Cuts)
    “Christ our Righteousness” By Mark Seifrid.
    “The Crucified God” by Jurgen Moltmann
    “Essays: Philosophical and Theological” By Rudolf Bultmann

    and “Christless Chrisitanity” comes in book form and should be firmly placed in the “next steps” category.
    I’d say that Bishop Allison’s “Fear Love and Worship” be moved to the “basic” category. It’s pretty accessible.

  14. Matt McCormick says:


    I totally agree…”Captivation of the Will” if not on there should be on there. Fitz loves the book and is still talking about it. Stellar Text.

    Luther’s Galatian’s commentary will never be surpassed. HE wrote so much in his life…but before he died he claimed His 3 most important works were “The Bondage of the Will” “Galatians Commentary” and “The Small Catechism”. These three together I believe give the best systematic representation of how the law and the gospel work through God’s Word. As Paulson pointed out at the conference (which was luther’s qoute from Galatians) “Christ belongs in the conscience, the law belongs in the members of the body.” That is a profound statement.


    Will you be amending the booklist?

  15. DZ says:

    keep them coming guys! all of the suggestions will be incorporated into the master mockingbird booklist (as distinct from the 09 conf booklist) which we’ll try to get on the site in the not too distant future. and even when that appears i’m sure it’ll be a work in progress.

  16. Todd says:

    Music-wise… Add any of the solo stuff from Jon Foreman. It’s a little more explicitly Christian, but very grounded.

  17. burton says:

    Speaking of music, was any of the music from the opening service of the conference recorded?

    I’d like to hear it again.

  18. Matt McCormick says:

    I would love to Have Sean and Dusty's performances on my ipod.

    A suggestion… I would put Pless in the "Non Fiction/Basics" section and put Paulson's book in "Next Steps".

    Though the book has cartoons, the concepts are very deep and demand a basic knowledge of the topic of Law & Gospel before reading. If my house was burning down, Paulson's book is the one book I would grab . It is my favorite theological work aside from Luther's classics.

    Pless' book lays out the basic ground work for understanding Law & Gospel and is readable for someone who is beginning to engage the topic.

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