A good Christian book should guide the reader to the Celestial City. It should lead them in a Godward direction and inspire them to live hopeful lives and holy lives.
I review books – a lot of books. Some people have expressed an interest in how I evaluate them. A few specific criteria govern the way I evaluate the overall effectiveness of Christian books, in particular.
First and most important, is the book biblical? That is, does the content reflect the teaching of the infallible, authoritative, inerrant Word of God? The label “Christian” does not automatically mean that a given book is a faithful representation of orthodoxy. Does it accurately unpack doctrines that are in step with the Reformed faith and exalts the Lord Jesus Christ? Any deviation from from the truth results in a sharp critique and swift relegation to the “heresy shelf.” Tragically, my heresy shelf has steadily grown over the years.
Second, is the writing clear and compelling? Does the book address important questions? And does it offer answers that genuinely help readers? Does it posit suggestions that encourage their Christian growth? Is the book coherent or does it violate the laws of logic? Is the writing organized and systematic? Tragically, logic and a systematic approach to theology is viewed with suspicion and even disdain in some Christian circles. The very act of repudiating the laws of logic that God has established is a foolish act and is by definition, illogical!
Third, does the book impact lives and promote progressive sanctification? Many Christian books (or books that are at least categorized as “Christian”) offer little in the area of practical help. Instead of helping readers become conformed to the image of Christ, they foster pride and build upon on edifice of shifting sand. A worthy Christian book should alert readers to the problem of sin and reveal the remedy, which is found exclusively in Jesus Christ.