The Gospel Coalition

On My Shelf: Life and Books with Erik Raymond

On My Shelf helps you get to know various writers through a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives as readers.

I asked Erik Raymond—pastor senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Nebraska, and author of Gospel Shaped Outreach—about what’s on his nightstand, books he re-reads, what he’s learning about following Jesus, and more.

What’s on your nightstand right now? tlg-christian-news-the-gospel-coalition-on-my-shelf-life-and-books-with-erik-raymond

I’m currently preaching through Genesis, so I have a number of commentaries and Calvin’s sermons on Genesis. I’m also reading The Rise of Evangelicalism by Mark Noll, A Peculiar Glory by John Piper, Distracted by Maggie Jackson, Transgender by Vaughn Roberts, Gospel Worship by Jeremiah Burroughs, and The Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos.

What are some books you regularly re-read and why?

Rather than specific books, it comes down to three specific guys. I’m almost always reading The Works of John Owen (especially volumes 1 on the glory of Christ and 6 on the mortification of sin), John Calvin (especially the Institutes and his sermons), and Jonathan Edwards. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t reading at least one of them. In fact, it’s rare for me to not be reading something from each of them.

What books have most profoundly shaped how you view gospel ministry?

Framing up the big picture is Owen’s The Glory of Christ. He helps me to see the beauty of Christ’s glory and how I’m able to help others come to see and savor it also. Then there’s his work in volume 6 on sin and temptation. These were game-changers, because they helped me to simultaneously see the infinite glory of Christ and the infinite heinousness of sin. One pushes to the other. Then there are the more recent practical books like The Trellis and the Vine by Tony Payne and Colin Marshall, The Deliberate Church by Mark Dever and Paul Alexander, and The Compelling Community by Jamie Dunlop and Mark Dever [20 quotes | review | excerpt].

What are your favorite fiction books?

I’m late to this party but glad to be here. Growing up, I never enjoyed reading anything other than the sports page, but in the years since conversion I’ve learned to love reading, especially fiction. Some of my favorites include The Brothers Karamazov, A Tale of Two Cities, Les Miserables, and everything Wendell Berry has written, especially Jayber Crow and Hannah Coulter.

What are you learning about life and following Jesus?

Worldliness is more subtle than I often think. For example, being anti-supernatural can show itself by writing theologically liberal books or by a slow reflex to pray. Along these lines, I’m being reminded that prayer, especially prayer for my family and my church, is not only some of the most important time I spend each week but also some of the sweetest. To have communion with the infinitely lovely and powerful Trinity is a treasure that should be stewarded with diligence and delight. Sluggishness on both fronts often indicates encroaching worldliness in my heart.

Also in the On My Shelf series: Sandra McCracken, Tim Challies, Anthony Moore, Sammy Rhodes, Karen Ellis, Alastair Roberts, Scott Sauls, Karen Swallow Prior, Jackie Hill Perry, Bruce Ashford, Jonathan Leeman, Megan Hill, Marvin Olasky, David Wells, John Frame, Rod Dreher, James K. A. Smith, Randy Alcorn, Tom Schreiner, Trillia Newbell, Jen Wilkin, Joe Carter, Timothy George, Tim Keller, Bryan Chapell, Lauren Chandler, Mike Cosper, Russell Moore, Jared Wilson, Kathy Keller, J. D. Greear, Kevin DeYoung, Kathleen Nielson, Thabiti Anyabwile, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Collin Hansen, Fred Sanders, Rosaria Butterfield, Nancy Guthrie, and Matt Chandler.

Browse dozens of book recommendations from The Gospel Coalition’s leaders and sign up your church at Hubworthy.

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