2015 Booklist

I grade books in five categories so that the maximum score is a 10. Each book can get a zero, 1, or 2 according to the grid below. My scores follow the book title in the list below.  Under each title is a summary of the book’s main point.


  • Book of the Year: Ralph Venning, The Sinfulness of Sin
  • Surprise of the Year: Reb Bradley, Child Training Tips
  • Worst of the Year: Shane Hipps, Flickering Pixels


0     The book was notable for lacking this category repeatedly.
1     The book dipped into this category at times.
2     The book consistently demonstrated this category.

Nonfiction Categories:

  • Weight: Did the book ask and answer the most germane questions about an important topic?
  • Research: Did the writer demonstrate a thorough command of the subject?
  • Style: Did the theme, vocabulary, and composition represent an enduring standard?
  • Logic: Did the book model logic in definitions, formatting, and focus?
  • Affections: Was some truth presented powerfully to the affections?

Nonfiction Books of 2015 (24)

  1.  Wilson, Doug. A Serrated Edge. 2003, 121 pages. 7
    God is honored when satire is used to mock unbelievers and obviously carnal “Christians.”
  2. Hipps, Shane. Flickering Pixels. 2009, 198 pages. 2
    Technology, especially printing, tends to make Christianity rational and logical. This is bad.
  3. Du Toit, Philip. The Great South African Land Scandal. 2012, 210 pages. 7
    SA’s government is damaging the economy and society by its terribly unjust treatment of farmers.
  4. Washinton, Booker. Up From Slavery. Audio. 9
    The greatest historical example of personal responsibility, fascinating and inspiring.
  5. Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. Audio. 4
    Because of the terrible sin of slavery, blacks need the federal government.
  6. Meredith, Martin. Diamonds, Gold, and War. 2007, 570 pages. 9
    Modern South Africa was formed around the intense struggle between blacks, British, and Dutch, the latter two groups fighting over the mines. Reads almost like a novel.
  7. Sheppard, Nancy. Confessions of a Transformed Heart. 2010, 206 pages. 7
    God uses missionary service to change missionary women. Read with Amy.
  8. Grudem, Wayne and Barry Asmus. The Poverty of Nations. Crossway, 2013, 398 pages. 8
    Nations are poor because of sin and sinful practices. An explanatory list of 78 practical causes for poverty. Very little emphasis on the gospel, evangelism, and churchplanting.
  9. Beck, Glenn. Dreamers and Deceivers. 2014, 320 pages, Audio. 5
    A loose collection of historic fiction about some controversial figures in history. Interesting and usually conservative.
  10. Pinson, Matthew, ed. Perspectives on Christian Worship, 5 Views. 2009, 360 pages. 6
    Worship styles are mainly determined by how much we are influenced by either the culture or Bible.
  11. Bradley, Reb. Child Training Tips. 2014, 231 pages. 8
    Biblical child training aims at maturity in very practical ways. Read with Amy.
  12. Philbrick, Nathan. Why Read Moby Dick? 2013, 144 pages.
    Moby Dick embodies in classic metaphor the mystery of life in general and the spirit of America in particular.
  13. Elwood, Christopher. Calvin for Armchair Theologians. 2002, 182 pages. 7
    His life in 50 pages; the Institutes in 90 irreverent pages; the fruits of his thought in 30 pages.
  14. Wilson, Douglas. How to Exasperate Your Wife. 2015, 97 pages. 7
    Masculinity is so important it must be constantly reexamined through a Biblical lens.
  15. Wilkin, Bob. A Gospel of Doubt. 2015, 300 pages. 3
    John MacArthur has damaged the church by teaching that faith in Christ includes commitment to Christ.
  16. Mortenson, Terry and Thane Ury, eds. Coming to Grips with Genesis. 2008, 478 pages.  9
    The Bible clearly teaches that the earth is only about 6,000 years old. Good arguments, too many typos.
  17. Grady, William. What Hath God Wrought! 1996, 668 pages. 7
    America’s history shows that it is a uniquely blessed nation, and thus it is uniquely attacked by Satan.
  18. Venning, Ralph. The Sinfulness of Sin. 1669, reprint 1965, 284 pages. 10
    An amazing cascade of Scriptural pictures and arguments reveal sin’s vile, damaging character.
  19. Cook, Faith. Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan. 2008, 528 pages. 10
    While writing 57 searching books without an education, Bunyan endured poverty and persecution for 27 years of his approximately 34-year pilgrimage. He is a hero.
  20. Jaeggli, Randy. Christians and Alcohol. 2014, 162 pages. 7
    Christians must avoid alcohol because the wines of the Bible and the alcohol of today are dramatically different.
  21. Pipa, Joseph. The Lord’s Day. 1997, 239 pages. 6
    Christians must sanctify the Lord’s Day by specially resting and meditating on divine subjects, and by abstaining from works done in the week.
  22. Strickland, Wayne. Ed. Five Views on Law and Gospel. 1996, 416 pages. 8
    There are really two views on the law: theonomy vs. the law of Christ.
  23. Mitchell, Richard. Less Than Words Can Say. 1979, 224 pages. 8
    Our use of words creates and controls our ability to think. Or, language and culture are mutually supportive.
  24. Gibson, David. From Heaven He Came and Sought Her. 2013, 703 pages. 5
    The atonement was intended for the elect whom they called “all men without distinction” in contrast to the non-elect whom they designated without fail as “all men without exception.” Owen’s work is more comprehensive, more tightly argued, and thus more persuasive.

Fiction Categories:

  • Biblical: Did the author honor Scriptural truth or a Christian worldview even if unwittingly?
  • Creative: Did the author grip the imagination by inventing characters, situations, or other aspects of reality?
  • Style: Did the theme, vocabulary, and composition represent an enduring standard?
  • Credible: Were the characters, plot turns, and relationships believable?
  • Affections: Was some truth presented powerfully to the affections?

Fiction Books of 2015 (6)

  1. Wilson, Doug. Evanjellyfish. 2012, 228. 6
    Modern evangelicalism is largely an unbiblical mess.
  2. Wilde, Oscar. The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Audio. 8
    Man’s evil will ultimately consume him. A great picture of total depravity because it has the effect of creating a kind of loathing after sin.
  3. Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. 1966, 363. 7
    From Gandalf on the last page: “You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!” Read with Amy.
  4. Conrad, Joseph. The Heart of Darkness. Audio. 6
    Because of their greed, white men unjustly exploited Africa’s riches through violence and thievery.
  5. Dumas, Alexander. The Count of Monte Cristo. Audio. 5
    An unsatisfying and consistently Catholic tale of revenge complete with numerous unbelievable twists. 50 chapters too long.
  6. Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim’s Progress. 1678, 342 pages. 10
    The Christian life is a dangerous journey. Read with Amy.

If you made it this far and want the chart that breaks each book’s scoring down per category, I can send it to you.

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