Looking for a great read to give that libertarian in your life this Christmas? Want to delve deep into something interesting over your Christmas vacation? Every year, I make it a point to highlight the best (in my opinion) recent and classic books about Christianity or libertarianism, and some books that address both at the same time. This year’s list really focuses on theology even more than liberty, but I can guarantee you will find great some great books for just about anyone here. And of course, you can find much more in LCC’s many other book lists, or in our little bookstore. Let the reading commence!
1. If You Are the Son of God by Jacques Ellul – If I were to recommend that you read one book this Christmas season, make it Ellul. This little 100-page book is immensely challenging on multiple levels. It will, of course, make you think deeply about your own theology (even if you disagree with some of it), but it will also reveal the corrupting influence of power within the world around us. I am personally giving this book to multiple friends and family this Christmas. Check out my review here.
2. For the Least of These: A Biblical Answer to Poverty, edited by Anne Bradley and Art Lindsey – The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics has released this edited volume as a response to the terrible policies promoted by some Christians that supposedly help the poor. Using sound economics and good theology, they make it clear that it is capitalism and voluntary charity, not government and force, that lifts the plight of the poor and promotes human flourishing. You will definitely see a review of this book on LCC in early 2015.
3. Christian Theology of Public Policy and Bible and Government by John Cobin – These are arguably amongst the best distinctly Christian libertarian books you can have shelf, and LCC readers can get special pricing on these books by following the instructions here.
4. War, Empire, and the Military by Laurence Vance – Dr. Vance is an LCC contributor and fantastic essayist, and his latest work chronicles his voluminous work on the follies of U.S. foreign policy. Of course, you will get a good dose of Christian theology throughout the book as well. Read more about the book here.
5. A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd – You can actually get this book for free via Amazon Kindle, but we keep recommending this book for its powerful message against using violence for supposedly “Christian” ends. Read Doug Stuart’s review here.
6. Real Dissent by Thomas Woods – Tom is a great friend of LCC and his latest work “sets fire to the index card of allowable opinion.” And that’s only the beginning of the fun you’ll have with this book.
7. Against the State by Lew Rockwell – This collection of essays and speeches that LRC’s namesake has put together is a superb anarcho-capitalist manifesto in the philosophical tradition of Murray Rothbard and the Austrian school. Hard-hitting and pithy, you can’t beat it.
8. For the Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns – Doug Stuart has eloquently made a case that Enns’s book can really help us to understand the Bible better and read it with “ancient eyes”. Check out Doug’s book review and subsequent interview with Peter Enns for more.
9. The Story: The Bible as One Continuing Story of God and His People (sort of edited by Max Lucado) – We have been using this book at our congregation in Austin as part of our Sunday school classes, and I think this book definitely has a place on all of our bookshelves. Sometimes we forget that the Bible is more than a series of propositions but is also a complete narrative about how God has interacted with his creation. The Story is not a new translation of the Bible, but rather a means of putting the stories, poetry, and teachings of the Bible in a single flowing read. Again, it’s not a replacement, but a great supplement and I think you will really enjoy it.
10. The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein – This book assaults the conventional view that fossil fuels are bad for the environment and for the economy, instead arguing that they are the essential means of progress. And if that isn’t enough of a teaser, Epstein’s interview on the Tom Woods Show will certainly convince you to give this book a chance.
Honorable Mention: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – This gets a nod for two reasons. First, it’s a fun story with a subtle point about the use of violence and coming of age. Second, the latest movie was banned in Taiwan because the government was afraid it might spark a revolution. That’s pretty cool, right?
I hope you enjoyed this list and find something beneficial for a gift and for your reading list next year. Remember that we also have tons of other book reviews for you to explore here at LCC. What was your favorite book this year? Let us know in the comments, and have a merry Christmas!
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