/ James Faris

Ten Best 2018 Books from Two Reading Aficionados

The following article is by Russell Pulliam, an Indianapolis Star columnist who directs the Pulliam Fellowship summer intern program for the Indianapolis Star and the Arizona Republic. Russ serves as a ruling elder in the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis.


My friend Greg Enas is a numbers guy. He has a Ph.D. in statistics and worked for many years at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, running the research numbers on new drugs to make sure they worked effectively. He also likes to read books, about 100 a year. I asked him for his five best books of 2018 to go with my five best books for Gentle Reformation readers. Greg offers the first five here.

Remembrance, Communion and Hope - Rediscovering the Gospel at the Lord’s Table, by J. Todd Billings. A wonderful journey into the Lord’s presence as he hosts his people at his table. Each meal we eat with Jesus and his Body is a foretaste of that day when all is made new and our betrothal is made sure at the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Barracoon - The Story of the last Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston. A short yet powerful interview with the last African slave alive in America. Through the horror of entrapment, middle passage, and American bondage, Cudjo Lewis (formerly named Kossola) keeps trusting the Lord, offering forgiveness to his tormentors.

Reality Is Not What It Seems - The Journey To Quantum Gravity, by Carlo Rovelli.
Short but engrossing, easy to read historical summary from Newton, Faraday and Maxwell, to Einstein’s special and general relativity, and now quantum mechanics and quantum gravity where space and time dissolve into probabilities computed using “spinfoams”. Loop theory suggests that our universe is bounded and finite for there is no “infinity and beyond” but a finite creation and an infinite Creator.

J.C. Ryle - Prepared to Stand Alone, by Iain H. Murray. A friend of the Reformation and the Puritans, Ryle is a great example of a man willing to stand courageously yet humbly before his persecutors and detractors. A 19th century evangelical Anglican bishop, he was a gentle, persuasive, loving pastor who met his parishioners in the estate they were in without condemnation - a model for us all.

Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear, by Matthew Kaemingk. A fantastic exposition of modern public theology using the Netherlands as a case study, focusing on the life and times of Abraham Kuyper and the contemporary implications of his thinking and policies. From this case study the author then concludes with the implications for America regarding religious pluralism.

Made for Friendship, The Relationships that Halves Sorrows and Doubles Our Joy, 2018. Zionsville (Indiana) Pastor Drew Hunter offers one of the best friendship books by adopting a Biblical and theological framework, rather than an emphasis on technique and three best steps.

Redeeming Money, How God Reveals and Reorients Our Hearts, 2018. Paul David Tripp offers an unusual angle on money by emphasizing the priority of thankfulness.

John Wesley, a Biography, by Stephen Tomkins, 2003. Tomkins wrote a great book on the Clapham Sect and William Wilberforce. Here he reveals many of John Wesley’s flaws. It made me wonder how Wesley could accomplish so much. The lesson: God uses flawed instruments to advance His kingdom.

Hitting the Marks, Restoring the Essential Identity of the Church, 2018. Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary President Barry York writes with much wisdom from years of practical ministry as a pastor in Kokomo, Indiana.

The Life of Arthur W. Pink, Iain Murray, 1981. I reread this book to be reminded of how some writing becomes more influential after a person has gone to be with the Lord. Pink’s audience dwindled by his 1952 death but expanded in big ways after Banner of Truth publishers adopted him.

James Faris

James Faris

Child of God. Husband to Elizabeth. Father of six. Pastor of Second Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ordained as a pastor in 2003.

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