A Coronavirus Reading List

Do you suddenly have some extra time on your hands? Don’t spend it staring at your screen reading every last opinion piece. That’s not healthy. And don’t spend it binge watching mediocre TV shows. Read a good book! Here are some of my recommendations. Some of these are in the church library. Most you would have to purchase online. If you ask really nicely, I might let you borrow from my own library.

The Bible: Obviously. Aside from your regular devotional reading, take one book, and read it in one (or a few) sittings.

The Book of Concord: Collection of documents from the 16th Century that define Lutheran doctrine as the true, biblical expression of the Christian faith. Start with Luther’s small and large catechisms. There are several translations. I recommend Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions for its historical notes and illustrations.

The Spirituality of the Cross by Gene Veith: Easy to read and fairly short, this is the best introduction to Lutheranism I have found. After the Bible and Luther’s catechisms, this is my top recommendation.

Luther’s writings: After his small and large catechisms, I recommend his Commentary on Galatians. It’s a little long and repetitive, so if all you read is the first 50-100 pages, you will get most of it. The Bondage of the Will is heavy lifting, but it’s one of his most influential writings. A Treatise on Christian Liberty is a short and simple expression of his theology. Also, any collection of Luther’s sermons. They are good devotional reading.

Has American Christianity Failed? by Bryan Wolfmueller: Not nearly as negative as the title suggests, it excels at presenting the biblical hope of Christianity in distinction from what pop American Christianity offers.

Making the Case for Christianity by Korey Maas and Adam Francisco (eds.): A great introduction to Christian apologetics. It is a collection of essays covering a wide range of apologetic issues.

The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz: A three-part novel set in Sweden, it demonstrates how Law and Gospel have remained relevant despite the changing philosophies of the last few centuries. This one is on every Lutheran pastor’s list.

God at Work by Gene Veith: A short and easy read, it explains Luther’s doctrine of vocation, putting good works into their proper context.

Dying to Live: The Power of Forgiveness by Harold Senkbeil: Another great introduction to biblical Lutheran doctrine.

A Case for Amillennialism by Kim Riddlebarger: A biblical and well-written explanation of the historical Christian view of the end times.

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Short and easy to read, this is probably the best explanation of Christian community.

C.S. Lewis’ writings: The place to start with Lewis is Mere Christianity. History will remember it as one of the best introductions to Christianity ever written. I also greatly appreciate The Four Loves, The Screwtape Letters, The Problem of Pain, and The Great Divorce. In the fantasy genre, The Chronicles of Narnia is great for kids and adults, and his space trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength) is arguably better, though less well-known. Till We Have Faces is probably the most enjoyable book I’ve ever read.

That’s enough for now. Let me know if you want more.

Pastor Dan