Pastors need to be conversant with the world in which they live. They not only need to understand the Bible, but also their own contemporary setting, because effective ministry happens when we apply Scripture to the hearts of people where they are. For this reason, pastors need basic grounding in the defense of the Christian faith, or apologetics, which is almost indistinguishable from evangelism. Furthermore, they need to be aware of trends in philosophy, culture, ethics, science, politics. These are fields that are constantly changing, but in this present moment, here are some resources that I recommend for navigating these issues.
Disclaimer: My recommendation of a resource does not entail my personal endorsement of everything in it.
RESOURCES ON APOLOGETICS
See my Sunday School series on apologetics.
Bahnsen, Greg L. Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith. Nacogdoches, TX: Covenant Media Press, 2018.
Bahnsen, Greg. L. Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended. San Ramon, CA: American Vision Press, 2010.
Baucham, Voddie, Jr.. Expository Apologetics: Answering Objections with the Power of the Word. Wheaton: Crossway, 2015.
Bahnsen, Greg L. Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings and Analysis. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1998.
Chesterton, G.K. Orthodoxy. Independently Published, 2020.
Frame, John. Apologetics to the Glory of God. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1994.
Frame, John. Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1995.
Keller, Timothy. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. London: Penguin Books, 2009.
Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2015.
Lewis, C.S. Miracles. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2015.
McDowell, Josh. Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999.
Pratt, Richard L., Jr. Every Thought Captive: A Study Manual for the Defense of Christian Truth. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1980.
Schaeffer, Francis A. The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy. Wheaton: Crossway, 1990. This volume includes The God Who Is There; Escape from Reason; and He Is There, and He Is Not Silent.
Strobel Lee. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016.
RESOURCES ON PHILOSOPHY AND CULTURE
Carson, D.A. Christ and Culture Revisited. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012.
Carson, D.A. The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.
Dreher, Rod. The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. New York: Sentinel, 2017.
Esolen, Anthony. Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2017.
Myers, Ken. All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture. Wheaton: Crossway, 1989.
Nash, Ronald H. Life’s Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2013.
Pearcey, Nancy and Phillip E. Johnson. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008.
RESOURCES ON ETHICS AND CONTEMPORARY ETHICAL ISSUES
See my Sunday School series on the church and the challenge of homosexuality.
Anderson, Ryan T. When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. New York: Encounter Books, 2019.
Budziszewski, J. On the Meaning of Sex. Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2014.
Burk, Denny. What Is the Meaning of Sex? Wheaton: Crossway, 2013.
Carson, D.A., ed. From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Investigation. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2000.
Feinberg, John S. and Paul D. Feinberg. Ethics for a Brave New World. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010.
Gagnon, Robert A.J. The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Heremeneutics. Nashville: Abingdon, 2002.
Girgis, Sherif, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George. What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. New York: Encounter Books, 2012.
Grudem, Wayne. Christian Ethics: An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning. Wheaton: Crossway, 2018.
Hays, Richard B. The Moral Vision of the New Testament. San Francisco: HarperOne, 1996.
Hill, Michael. The How and Why of Love: An Introduction to Evangelical Ethics. Sydney, Australia: Matthias Media, 2013. This is the best overview of a biblical approach to ethics that I have seen.
Murray, John. Divorce. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1961.
Murray, John. Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957.
RESOURCES ON CRITICAL THEORY, SOCIAL JUSTICE, ETC.
The Youtube channel What Would You Say specializes in short, simple, yet very informative videos on a range of topics. Two of its videos on critical theory are found here and here.
The documentary By What Standard? from Founders Ministries explores the influence of critical theory on the Southern Baptist Convention.
Shenvi, Neil and Pat Sawyer. Engaging Critical Theory & The Social Justice Movement. Free download from Ratio Christi.
See a collection of helpful resources from Neil Shenvi at shenviapologetics.com. This website will be the greatest help to you for a basic overview and critique of critical theory from a Christian perspective.
Voddie Baucham has spoken on these issues on multiple occasions, including this message on ethnic gnosticism and this interview with Todd Friel.
Steele, Shelby. White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007.
RESOURCES ON CHRISTIANITY AND SCIENCE
See my Sunday School series on Christianity and science.
The major online hub for resources on Young Earth Creationism is Answers in Genesis.
The major online hub for resources on Old Earth Creationism is Reasons to Believe.
Cabal, Theodore and Peter Rasor. Controversy of the Ages: Why Christians Should Not Divide Over the Age of the Earth. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2018.
Collins, C. John. Science and Faith: Friends or Foes? Wheaton: Crossway, 2003.
Keathley, Kenneth and Mark Rooker. 40 Questions about Creation and Evolution. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2014.
Moreland, J.P. et al, eds. Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique. Wheaton: Crossway, 2017.
Nevin, Norman C., ed. Should Christians Embrace Evolution? Biblical and Scientific Responses. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 2011.
Pearcey, Nancy R. and Charles B. Thaxton. The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy. Wheaton: Crossway, 1994.
Poythress, Vern S. Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach. Wheaton: Crossway, 2006.
Richards, J. Wesley. God and Evolution. Seattle: Discovery Institute, 2010.