Frank Todd’s Top Five Books

Here are former New Hope Elder, Frank Todd’s Top Five Books.

I have been given the task of writing five book reviews averaging one hundred words per book. I already used twenty nine words up to this point, so I suppose I should quit whining and get to it. I am reviewing books but it is the authors that I am enamored with and believe that finding some books by one of these authors can be very helpful in trying to figure out how to hang out on this planet God made.

First on my list would be John Calvin. I know; “Are you kidding, John Calvin? Boring with a capital “B.” I agree that Mr. Calvin does require somewhat of an “I-just-need-to-get-through this attitude,” but in the end it will be a significant benefit to your brain cells and your heart.  I am not suggesting anything like the Institutes (although if I had a few hundred thousand words I might be able to convince you). There is a little book called The Golden Booklet of True Christian Life. What is the last word that comes to mind when you’re contemplating Calvin? Practical? In actuality, that is what this little gem is; it is imminently practical and very short. It has been compared to Augustine’s Confessions but it is a much easier read and significantly easier to understand. This book is Calvin the pastor instead of Calvin the theologian.

The Second author is C.S. Lewis. It really does not matter what you read of his but just find one of his books and get ready for a soul massage. If it did not have so much hype I would suggest The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but I would rather suggest two (pick one): The Four Loves and Surprised by Joy. C.S. Lewis is one of the best “human” writers I know. I have rarely detected any pretense in his writing and even though he was a very uncommon man, his writing is very common (in a good way).

The third offering is Francis Schaffer and his book The God Who is There. I have to admit a fondness in my heart because when I was a wee lad huddled up in a corner of the library reading Plato I stumbled upon this book and thought, “Why am I reading Plato when I could be reading someone who figured out what Plato was always looking for but never found–a true understanding of the nature of God and the nature of man?” The God Who is There essentially puts us in our place with respect to God. Actually, it is very refreshing to be put in the proper place with God.

The fourth book I would be John Owens’s Temptation and Sin, but since I am sure it would not fly, I suggest Kris Lundgaard’s interpretation of Owen in his book The Enemy Within. If you want to understand the true nature of the battle that we all have with that thing Adam brought into the world, read this book.

Lastly, and I am over my quota, I would offer you Knowing God, by J. I. Packer. I suggest you use this book as part of a devotional with your family, spouse, friend, or even your dog. It is a long book, but taken in small chunks it can help you understand the distinction between us and God. I firmly believe that if we get that right it will help us think straight about a lot of things.