Reasons to Believe

10 Influential Theological Books, Part 2

In part one of this series I listed five theological books that have exercised an enduring influence upon not only myself as an avid reader, but also upon generations of Christians—and even Western civilization in general. Here are the remaining books that made the list. Again, the works are listed in alphabetical order by author.

6. Saved By Grace by Anthony Hoekema

Hoekema (1913–1989) was both a Reformed systematic theologian and an apologist to non-Christian cults. This book explains salvation by grace in a powerfully clear and magnanimous way. Hoekema’s work helped me to explain my Reformed views to Christians of other theological traditions. If you have ever wondered what Calvinists believe concerning salvation, read this book first.

7. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

This contemporary classic from C. S. Lewis (1898–1963) explains and defends the historic Christian faith by exploring essential doctrine and values. This is the first Christian book that I ever read and it influenced my early thinking about the faith.

8. Essential Christianity by Walter Martin

Martin (1928–1989) was both a theologian and a bold Christian apologist. This work clearly explains the central doctrines of the Christian faith. I worked for and with Walter Martin in the late 1980s at the Christian Research Institute. This book strongly shaped my basic understanding of Christian doctrine.

9. Pensées by Blaise Pascal

Known as a mathematical and scientific genius, Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) was also a uniquely gifted apologist. While this work is more of a collection of Pascal’s thoughts on various subjects, it is truly a classic of Christian theology and apologetics. Reading and meditating on Pascal’s writings has made me forever a Pascalian at heart.

10. Our Triune God by Peter Toon

The doctrine of the Trinity is arguably Christianity’s most distinctive belief. Peter Toon (1939–2009), a conservative Anglican theologian, explained and defended this doctrine in his writings. This particular book stands as the best modern treatment of the Trinity. Toon’s work helped me to see that the Trinity is the foundation of all Christian theology.

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The influence these ten theological texts have had on me and the way I understand theology testifies to their enduring relevance. I recommend them to you in this new year for your reading reflection.