1. Thornton W. Burgess - my first memory of being enthralled with a book is from 2nd grade when I read The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse by Burgess. I later went on to read many more of his animal adventures and basically never quit reading. It's been fun to watch my son get to enjoy the same stories over the last year or so.
2. Louis L'Amour - his western novels, especially the Sacketts, were my bread and butter in my early teen years. Perhaps most impactful of all was his memoirs, Education of a Wandering Man, which sealed once and for all my passion to learn. I've been keeping reading lists ever since. Oh, and I still read the westerns, too.
3. C. S. Lewis - I got into Lewis backwards. Most people get their intro with Narnia and move on to the other stuff. I read The Screwtape Letters first, followed it with (don't remember the order) The Four Loves, An Experiment in Criticism, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Till We Have Faces, and Surprised by Joy. I didn't start reading the other fiction till seven or eight years ago. Anyway, he's had a HUGE influence on me and gets quoted in almost every sermon.
4. John Bunyan - The Pilgrim's Progress continues to help me understand my own journey as a Christian. One of the best Christian books ever written.
5.Steven Covey - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was life-changing for me. Helped me start taking responsibility and initiative and become a proactive person. I still regularly use the principles I learned from Covey.
6.John MacArthur - his book Faith Works set my doctrine straight and got me to reading good theology.
7. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones- Lloyd-Jones' published sermons gave me a taste of God that I had never experienced before. I was especially helped by his sermons on Ephesians 3 and in the book Joy Unspeakable. I enjoyed the biography by Iain Murray as much as any book I've ever read and still come back to MLJ's Preaching and Preachers every several years.
8. John Piper - His books Desiring God, The Pleasures of God, and Future Grace changed my life. Piper helped rescue me from both legalism and license by showing me that satisfaction is found in Christ alone. "God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in him."
9. Jonathan Edwards - Piper also got me onto Edwards. The Religious Affections remains one of the top five most important books I've ever read. It is also one of the two or three most heart-searching.
10. N. T. Wright - My initial reaction to Wright was quite negative, but some of the things he said made me dig deeper. I finally read the three big thick books in his Christian Origins and the Question of God series and am so glad I did. I still disagree with Wright about justification, but I really appreciate his work on Jesus and the resurrection and the way he does eschatology. And he is a darn good writer!
11. Graeme Goldsworthy- Along with Bryan Chapell and Don Carson, Goldsworthy helped me start understanding the Old Testament and biblical theology.
12. Paul David Tripp - Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands saved my life in pastoral counseling. I've continued to benefit from Tripp's work, along with the other CCEF authors (Powlison, Welch, Lane, etc.).
13. Chaim Potok - perhaps the best novelist I've read. I've never read another author who can write about human experience with such poignancy. I keep coming back to him again and again.
14. Timothy Keller - has only published five books, most of them in the past few years. I've read them all and each one has helped me significantly. Keller's approach to contextualization, evangelism, and mission have been paradigm-shifting for me.
15.John Owen - the single most important author I've read. His 23 volumes are magisterial. Every time I read Owen I benefit. No one can plummet the depths of my experience as a struggling believer, like Owen. I'm now working my way straight through his works (in volume 2). Owen will be my life-long conversation partner for theology and spirituality.
BONUS: I've got to get John Calvin and J. R. R. Tolkien in here somewhere, too. :-)
A good list of authors; we have several of the same. I haven't found 15 minutes, because I, like you, know that it will take longer than that.
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