A “Prophetic and Pastoral” Work (and More) | Keelan Cook’s Summer Reading Recommendations

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As summer begins, we want to help you craft the perfect Summer Reading List. We asked Southeastern Seminary professors what books they would recommend, and we’ll share their recommendations in coming weeks.

Today, Keelan Cook recommends some books for your summer reading list.

Coronavirus and Christ
By John Piper (Crossway, 2020)

Cook: Coronavirus and Christ is a timely and, frankly, obvious choice for a quick summer read. Writing in his classic, sermonic style Piper provides an appropriate work that is both prophetic and pastoral in light of the current pandemic.

Calling Christians back to the very center of our faith, Piper helps categorize our thoughts and feelings in an uncertain moment. Don’t let the title fool you. The book merely takes the coronavirus as it’s occasion, an extended example, to apply the truths of the gospel to the human heart in challenging circumstances. I was deeply edified by this short book, and I’ve been quick to recommend it to others during this season.

Family Worship: In the Bible, In History, and In Your Home
By Donald S. Whitney (Crossway, 2019)

Cook: In all of the extra time at home with family this year, the importance of family worship and devotion has pressed to the fore. Sadly, I believe this discipline is lacking in many Christian homes, despite its significance to spiritual formation, especially for the little ones growing up in our care.

Whitney’s recent work on family worship is a quick read. In fact, it could be read in a single sitting on a Saturday. It is a very accessible book meant to be a practical tool for any family to begin simple practices of worship in the home. The book provides as simple overview of the concept of family worship throughout Scripture and history, giving plenty of evidence for the importance of the practice. After making his case, Whitney turns to the practice itself and provides simple suggestions for instituting worship in the home. The book is thoughtful and immensely practical.

Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World
By Alec Ryrie (Penguin Books, 2017)

Cook: If you are looking for a summer-long reading project, then Alec Ryrie’s Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World might be for you. Ryrie’s survey of Protestant Christian history has been on my shelf for months, but it is the first book on my reading list for this summer. As exhaustive historical surveys go, Ryrie’s work is easy to read and his prose flows more like a story than an encyclopedia.

Initially published in 2017 on the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Ryrie tackles the monumental task of tracing the development of the Protestant Christian movement from its inception up to the present. His analysis pays special attention to the impact of the Protestant movement on social development on a global scale. On the whole, Ryrie reserves judgement concerning doctrinal differences and their validity, instead taking up the task of a historian in retelling the development and impact of various branches of Christianity.

Be warned, however, you won’t agree with his take on everything; Ryrie does not hail from conservative evangelicalism. Nevertheless, Ryrie is largely sympathetic to Protestantism. In fact, Protestants errs in the direction of being too gracious when considering fringe off-shoots of Protestantism such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. With those caveats noted, Ryrie’s extensive scholarship and enjoyable writing style should ensure this will be a pleasant read.

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  • coronavirus
  • history
  • parenting
  • reformation
  • Summer Reading List
Keelan Cook

Keelan Cook is an Instructor of Missiology and George Liele Director of the Center for Great Commission Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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