Kevin G Cook

Theology | Worship | Resources

Currently Reading

These are the books that I am currently reading.
I usually read multiple books at a time, which vary between devotional, theological, academic, personal growth, and fun reading.

Actively Reading

  • Brevard Childs – Theology of the Old and New Testaments
  • Francis Watson – Text and Truth

Set Aside on the Shelf

  • Karl Barth – The Epistle to the Romans
  • Alvin Plantinga – Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism
  • George R. R. Martin – A Feast for Crows, & A Dance With Dragons (#4 & 5 in the Game of Thrones series)

Completed Reading

These are books that I have finished, liked, and would recommend.
I’m leaving off the books that I did not like as to not endorse them.

2016

  • N. T. Wright – The Resurrection of the Son of God
  • N. T. Wright – Jesus and the Victory of God
  • Oscar Cullmann – Salvation in History
  • Scot McKnight – The King Jesus Gospel
  • Donald Dayton – Discovering an Evangelical Heritage
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky – The Brothers Karamazov
  • The Arbinger Institute – The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Ethics
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Life Together
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Discipleship (The Cost of Discipleship)
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer – A Testament to Freedom: The Essential Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Eric Metaxas – Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
  • Francis Macnutt – Healing

 

2015

  • Dan & Chip Heath – Switch
  • John Lynch – The Cure
  • Alan Roxburgh – The Missional Leader
  • Daniel Wallace – Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics
  • Reg Johnson – Your Personality And The Spiritual Life
  • Sean Gladding – The Story of God, The Story of Us
  • Roger Olson & Stanley Grenz – Who Needs Theology?
  • William Abraham – Canon and Criterion,
  • Nicholas Wolterstorff – Divine Discourse
  • Larry Wood – Theology as History and Hermeneutics
  • Don Thorsen – The Wesleyan Quadrilaterl
  • Ken Collins – The Sermons of John Wesley
  • Ken Collins – John Wesley: A Theological Journey
  • John C. Maxwel – The 360 Degree Leader
  • Mike Bonem – Leading from the Second Chair
  • Stephen Covey – Principle-Centered Leadership

2014

  • Dallas Willard – Hearing God
  • Richard Foster – Prayer
  • Brother Lawrence – The Practice of the Presence of God
  • Gary Thomas – Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy
  • Tony Evans – For Married Men Only: Three Principles for Loving Your Wife
  • N. T. Wright – Simply Christian
  • Ken Collins – The Evangelical Moment
  • Ken Collins – Power, Politics, and the Fragmentation of Evangelicalism
  • Justo Gonzalez – The Story of Christianity
  • Hugh Kerr – Readings in Christian Thought
  • Ruth Haley Barton – Sacred Rhythms
  • James Sire – Habits of the Mind: Intellectual Life as a Christian Calling
  • Paul Borthwick – Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church
  • Francis Chan – Crazy Love
  • Burton Z. Cooper – Why God?
  • John Stackhouse Jr. – Can God Be Trusted?: Faith and the Challenge of Evil
  • Ronnie Janoff-Bulman – Shattered Assumptions

Favorite Books

These are some of my favorite books that have been instrumental in my spiritual formation and theological development. Some of these are from my seminary experience thus far, and some are from my personal walk with Christ. Each of these books has impacted me in such a way that I would feel remiss to not share them with you. I will try to provide a brief synopsis of each book as I continue to add more to this collection.

Classic Christianity Thomas Oden's Classic Christianity is an excellent systematic theology that I read in my Basic Christian Doctrine class. His theological position is classically orthodox, and he defines orthodoxy as what all Christians throughout history have always believed. In his systematic theology, he focuses on what the Church has ecumenically believed about God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, doing his best to avoid controversial issues that Christians disagree over. Oden supports nearly all of his writing with references to church fathers, theologians, and reformers. Many of his references come directly from the Cappadocian fathers (Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Basil the Great), since much of early Christian doctrine was established by them in the 4th century. Nevertheless, there are several doctrinal issues that come up that are difficult to consider ecumenically where the church is split in its views. For instance, Oden clearly posits his Methodist beliefs when discussing atonement, espousing the view of unlimited atonement rather than a Calvinistic view of a limited atonement. With doctrinal issues such as these, one must choose to believe one thing or another, and so Oden makes a case that his view of limited atonement is more ecumenically orthodox. Classic Christianity is written through the framework of the Apostles Creed: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Oden begins by exploring the idea of God, discussing the reality of a living God, His work through creation and providence, and the study of God. He then moves to a systematic Christology beginning with the need for Christ, the incarnation, and the nature of Christ. He continues with the life and ministry of Christ, His death and atonement, His resurrection, and His ascension. Oden moves on to the person and work of the Holy Spirit, including repentance, justification by grace through faith, baptism of the Holy Spirit, and sanctification. He also discusses the community of the church through word and sacrament, as well as the marks of the Christian church. Oden concludes by addressing views on death and resurrection, the communion of saints, and eternity.
The Cloud of Unknowing

The Cloud of Unknowing is a book about contemplative prayer written by an unknown author from the 14th century. It was originally written in Middle English, most likely by a mystic monastic leader from the Middle Ages. It is one of the earliest Christian writings written in the English language, and it is possible the most influenced work on contemplative prayer ever written. This book has been a major influence in monastic prayer for centuries, from the 16th century St. John of the Cross to the 20th century Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Merton.

The book counsels the reader in seeking God through contemplation rather than by knowledge and intellect. The premise it that since God is love, He is best known by love, and in pure love, stripped of all cognition, one can "press in" to the cloud of unknowing and experience the loving presence of God.

The teachings found in this book form the basis for the more contemporary practice of Centering Prayer. Contemplation differs from meditation in that where meditation focuses on something, an idea, scripture, allegory, discipline, etc., contemplation focuses on someone. It isn't an exercise of the mind, but rather an exercise of the heart, of emptying the mind and directing all of the soul, all feeling, desire, love, will, toward Christ in reckless abandon.

This book changed my prayer life. This is not a spiritual practice for everyone, and it takes a lot of discipline and practice to learn this type of stillness. But it is powerful, edifying, and I'm learning and growing as grace allows me.

Inductive Bible Study

Inductive Bible Study systematically teaches the reader the  methodical practice of studying scripture inductively, that is, allowing the text of the Bible to speak on its own. By induction, opposed to deduction, a student leaves aside their assumptions and presuppositions that are not inherent in the evidence of the text rather than bringing their theological biases to their interpretation.

The inductive movement arose in the early 20th century in response to the historical-critical study of the bible that had been dominating theological seminaries. Academic biblical studies tended to focus more on books about the bible than the biblical text itself.  The method of inductive bible study focuses on the first-hand study of the biblical text itself, and allows the student to engage issues of biblical background and criticism within a broad program that gives priority to the study of the evidence inherent in the text itself.

The teaching and methodology in this book completely changed my understanding of scripture and studying the word of God. This presented to the foundation for studying the bible without bias, interpreting scripture based on the evidence in the text, and having awareness toward errors and fallacies that may arise from my own presuppositions.

Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity originated as a series of four books, transcribed from a selection of informal radio broadcasts by Lewis. Its message is ecumenical, tearing down the walls between denominations by uniting around the person of Christ as the center of the Christian faith. Lewis uses the universal idea of right and wrong as a clue to the meaning of the universe in the first section. He then uses this exposition to fuel his apologetic outline of the Christian faith. He continues by teaching on the Christian behavior and virtues, placing special emphasis on the role of pride as the chief sin of which all other vices stem. In the last section, Lewis approaches various doctrinal ideas within Christianity, such as the trinity, predestination, sacrifice, and sanctification.

Mere Christianity was the first book on Christian doctrine I ever read. As a fifteen year old high school sophomore, I read through C. S. Lewis's classic with my youth pastor. It was my first encounter with Christian doctrine and it introduced me to Christian thought. I include this book on my list because of it being my first experience with doctrine and theology.

Red Moon Rising

Red Moon Rising presents the story of the 24/7 prayer movement as told by founder Pete Greig. Pete shares his journey of how the 24/7 prayer movement began. A simple vision of prayer ministry that Lord gave Pete through a poem in 1999 exploded into a global prayer movement. From his humble Anglican Church home in Brompton, London, Pete's vision for a 24/7 prayer sparked a prayer revival across all of Europe. In "Satan's background", as it seemed, prayer houses were set up as missionaries moved into some of the most debilitating communities to simply pray. Night and day, prayer missionaries would cry out with unceasing prayer for the Lord to bring revival and restoration to their communities. And the Lord responded.

During my undergraduate years at Florida State University, my campus ministry, the Wesley Foundation, participated in this 24/7 prayer movement each semester by establishing a week of 24/7 prayer. Students filled up 168 one-hour time slots for prayer and intercession as we shared in the global prayers for the restoration and revival of our community. When our week finished, we passed the torch onto the next group who would continue in prayer: 24/7.

This book is filled with amazing stories of God's movement across the world through 24/7 prayer. It is inspiring. It is reviving. It will make you want to join in the prayers of the saints.