#TheBookshelf - Paddy Smyth
Paddy Smyth is a second-year theology student at Union Theological College who serves at Killinchy Presbyterian church.
Christian Classics - Knowing God – J.I. Packer
As a young Christian looking to grow in my teenage years, this classic by J.I Packer utterly transformed my understanding of God. Written with an interesting and practical tone, Packer helped me grow in my relationship with God as he draws out the nature, character and attributes of God. He writes that the study and nature of God is the most practical project anyone can engage with and I wholeheartedly agree that it was a significant text to draw me closer to the Triune God in love and worship.
Theological Foundations – Raiding the Lost Ark – Jonty Rhodes
The covenants presented to us in the Bible undoubtedly give us an insight into how the Bible fits together and it was only when I read this book from Jonty Rhodes that the theme of covenant clicked with me. It showed me how through the covenants, the Bible naturally portrays salvation by grace alone, which is at the heart of the Christian religion. Covenant dominates the Bible's story from start to finish, shaping the gospel, the church and the day-to-day experience of God's people, which makes it a must-read for any Christian.
Discipleship and Development – Amaze Them With God – Kevin DeYoung
In my journey of working with young people I’ve read lots of different books on discipling young people and helping them grow in their faith. This really short book from Kevin DeYoung has been one of the most helpful as he highlights that whatever other techniques and programmes we might use in discipleship – our first aim is to show young people, and those we’re discipling, how incredible the God we worship is.
Church and Mission – The Gospel – Ray Ortlund
Reading this book gave be a totally fresh perspective on how the Church can portray the beauty of Christ. He writes so effectively of the importance of gospel doctrine and how that should lead to a gospel culture, which can be sadly lacking in our local churches. This book reminded me that we are not the saviours, Gospel doctrine is true to the bible and gospel culture is humanising to people. How would the attitudes within your church change if they recognised that they had little gospel doctrine and more gospel culture, or vice versa? A key book to read in order to help us recognise the importance of being attracted to Christ so that Christ’s glory will radiate from us.
Culture and Literature – God and the Transgender debate – Andrew T Walker
This book deals with a difficult issue that isn’t always easy for Christians to navigate, yet it does so filled with biblical truth and huge amount of grace and empathy. Walker outlines the importance of where our post-modern society find our authority and the importance of the creation account for understanding our function and worth. It is extremely practical and is an invaluable guide to the heat and confusion of this discussion, showing clearly what God has to say about sex and gender. It specifically modelled to me how to discern and respond with hope with such a complex issue.