My Top 10 Books: 2017

“I am a firm believer that reading broadly is important for leaders, and especially for those of us who are preachers and teachers. Why? It enables us to enter into people’s lives and sub-cultures far different from our own.” ~ Pete Scazzero

Each year since 2010, I’ve been making a list of my favourite books of the year.  The following books probably weren’t published in 2017, nor do I agree with everything written in them.  But for various reasons, they stuck with me, challenged my thinking and were just enjoyable to read.

Here’s my 2017 top 10 in the order that I finished them:

1. Seeking refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis – Stephan Bauman

In light of the significant increase in refugees around the world the question remains, “How does the church respond to the current crisis?”  Bauman reminds us that not only was Jesus a refugee in his early years, but the people we see on the nightly news are all made in the image of God.  These are not just problems to be dealt with but fellow humans with dignity currently facing staggering challenges.

2. Prisoners of Geography – Tim Marshall 

This fascinating look at how the physical features of a country impacts politics has been one that’s come up in dinner conversation again and again.  Nations can’t escape their past nor the geography but must learn to adapt to the modern realities for the benefit of all.

3. Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A classic novel set in the Nigerian civil war of the late 60’s which opened my eyes to the history of this West African country.

4. Redemption Accomplished and Applied – John Murray 

I think this was the first proper theology book I read. After 25 years, it was time to read this classic again.

5. Union with Christ – Rankin Wilbourne 

Wilbourne calls “union with Christ” the forgotten doctrine.  I think he’s on the right track in helping renew its place at the centre of our theological understanding.

6. Destiny – David Gibson 

Grounded in the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, Gibson tackles life and death issues in a profound and yet readable way.

7. Hillbilly Elegy – J.D. Vance 

This eye-opening and heartbreaking story of one man growing up in a broken, dysfunctional, white working-class family.  We have to be careful extrapolating Vance’s story too far but he offers a window into the lower-income white American world.

8. This is London – Ben Judah 

This book is packed full of stories from London.  People we “see” every day and yet they tend to be invisible to most of us as we go about our business.

9. White Awake – Daniel Hill 

Most of us who are white don’t have to think about racial issues unless we decide to.  This is not the case for our minority brothers and sisters. Hill’s book forces white Christians to think about the implications of being white in America and the West today.

10. Evangelical Theology – Michael Bird 

I’d never read a systematic theology with jokes in it until I read this. Bird, an Australian, is not only funny, he’s a deep thinker who makes classic theological concepts understandable.  Written on a university level and generally from a Reformed perspective, I’d recommend this to all.


You can look through all the books I finished in 2016 here. 

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Chris Hatch

Seeking to love God and neighbor