I recommend the books on this page when I strongly believe that my readers will find helpful in understanding what I consider the critical concepts underlying the essays on this website. Their importance is given in the commentary, but are otherwise not in any particular order after "It's a Dance".
Asa Mahan, "Christian Perfection" (Manipulation)
Being read as of January 7, 2010. Dr. Mahan (D. D.) was the first president of Oberlin College, and wrote this treatise on the doctrine of Christian Perfection which, based on the initial chapters, could be described as "instantaneous imparted sanctification by faith". I would normally reject such a concept, but my experience of direct manipulation, coupled with the very real fact that I am not "going ballistic" or "going melancholic" while reading it leads me to believe that the Holy Spirit wants me to examine the claim. I also have to admit that he is the first person I have ever read who outdoes me when it comes to believing in the power of claiming promises.
John Crowder, "Mystical Union" (Unification)
Being read as of January 4, 2010. Ignore the fact that the author is one of the leading teachers in the much-criticized "Drunken Glory" movement: this book will take you about 70% of the way to understanding, in layman's terms, what I hope to get across in my (future) essays on Unification, as well as attacked the subject from a direction that made me suffer another "Oh Doh!" moment. However, his discussion is hampered by Calvinistic pre-suppositions and his limiting himself to the standard biblical metaphors to explain unification that do not convey the underlying spiritual realities as effectively or completely as symbiosis. I plan to follow his modified outline and address the subject at a more "technical" level that would permit a more effective debugging of the problems facing almost all believers.
Ben Johnson, "When Heaven Invades Earth" (Manipulation/Stage 4).
Being read as of August 25, 2009. If you are wondering from where the outline of the handprint on my forehead is coming from lately, its because this book has the highest ratio of head-slapping "Oh Doh!"'s per chapter that I have encountered since reading "Wild at Heart". Half of what he writes I recognize as some of "my" "original" concepts that I am relieved to find are not really "original" to me. The other half is responsible for those "oh DOH!" moments. The days where I feel a bit intimidated about pushing the Holy Spirit as the solution to the problems of the world when people tell me self-righteously to forget the Spirit and concentrate on Jesus or the Scriptures, are LONG GONE after reading the chapter on the Spirit of Antichrist (as opposed to the Antichrist). No more apologies, no more doubts, and NO PRISONERS!
Gary Chapman, "The Love Languages of God" (Illumination/Stage 2)
My wife has always enthusiastically recommended the Love Language series to everyone who complained about not being able to "connect" to people long before I read "The Love Languages of God" and became a fan as well. My comfort is that I sorta "one-upped" her when I told her about this one that she had missed, but her come-back was that she read the book a lot quicker at my recommendation than I at hers. I recommend this one as an introduction to the concepts of Illumination, and recommend the entire series as an incredibly useful aid to improving your "love life" with those close to you. However, I want to warn that the tools given in this book to improve one's ability to communicate love are equally powerful tools of seduction if mis-used. It is definitely a work of graciously divine providence that I read this book after discovering Suppression, since it would have replaced the shovel with which I was digging myself into my sexual-compulsion hole with a back hoe.
Patrick Oden, "Its a Dance" (Unification/Illumination)
An excellent work on the centrality of cooperating with the Holy Spirit to grow the local church. To me, the chapter on creativity was worth seven times the price of the book. While I have the wits and the money, I will be giving a copy of this book to every man who pastors the church to which I go.
Frank Viola, "Pagan Christianity"
An excellent historical retrospective of where many of the practices and sacred cows of modern Christianity come from. However, AVOID his "From Eternity to Here", which abandons logical argument for badly done reconstructionism. Don't waste your money. You have been warned.
John and Stasi Eldredge: everything they've written.
The two people every liberal feminist instinctively hates from the depths of their soul the moment they hear of their core premises, for they helped us guys realize it was good to be guys, and great for the ladies to be ladies.
Where it all begins. The ACT prep guide to Wisdom.
C. S. Lewis: Pretty much EVERYTHING he wrote after his conversion
The Grandmaster of Modern Christian Apologetics. I have as yet to find anyone of any note in Apologetics who doesn't owe an intellectual debt of gratitude to Lewis.
G. K. Chesterton: "The Everlasting Man" and "Orthodoxy"
This guy manned the barracades of the Faith and did a masterful job before passing the job, and his sword, to Lewis. On my to-do list, right after finishing all the Symbiotic Christianity essays, is to finish his "The Ballad of the White Horse" and his fictional works. It is this guy's prose that I am trying to emulate. Boy, have I got a loooong way to go!
The real braniac of the Inklings. Best read very slowly and with caution: he went off the rails later in life pursuing Rudoph Steiner's Anthrosophy, an attempt to analyze global religious experience from a scientific point of view much like my attempt to analyze Christianity from an engineering point of view. However, the movement tended to syncretism and adopted reincarnation as a mechanism of human progress when a simpler and more obvious mechanism was closer to hand. Barfield is best compared to a very powerful antibiotic: to be used when all else has failed, in very carefully measured and moderate amounts, under a lot of supervision, and with lots of sincere prayers that the side-effects don't get out of hand. If there was a map of Christian literature, the place where Barfield's works would lie would be marked "here be dragons".
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