Pastor Godwin’s Top 5 Books of 2020


Below are my Top 5 Books from 2020 that did my soul the most good. If you need encouragement, or know someone who does, grab one of these. All five will put wind in your sails – or remind you that you’re still in the boat & the mast hasn’t collapsed & Jesus is still there.

#5 “The Ascension of Christ: Recovering a Neglected Doctrine” by Patrick Schreiner
How much have you slowly and carefully reflected on the doctrine of Christ’s ascension and its application to the 21st century church? Yeah, me neither. In just 116 pages, Dr. Schreiner will help you develop this doctrine by considering how Jesus is prophet, priest, and king right now for His people. Wonderful stuff.

#4 “How Does Sanctification Work?” by David Powlison
I didn’t see this one coming. Our pastors explored the doctrine of sanctification this year. We read Lovelace’s “Dynamics of Spiritual Life” and Ferguson’s “Whole Christ” – both worth your time. However, it was this book that pierced through the confusion with both theological precision and practical clarity. If you want to understand how you can grow spiritually, pick this one up.

#3 “The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together” by Jared Wilson
I read this with two friends from church early in 2020. What we found so refreshing was his way of re-classifying Christian discipleship as primarily abiding in Christ our Master and Friend – a relationship rooted in the good news of Jesus and flowing out into the stuff of life. He spoke to our heads, hearts, and hands with humor, wit, and creativity. It drew us in quickly and yielded a rested soul in Christ.

#2 “Deserted by God? Understanding the Ways of God through the Experience of the Psalmists” by Sinclair Ferguson
What does it look like to walk with God through a dark night of the soul? What can we do when God seems absent and the world seems so frightening? Ferguson is a master surgeon of the soul, skillfully and gently pressing the reader into the heart of God by way of the Psalms. I’m grateful to the Lord for this one.

#1 “Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers” by Dane Ortlund
It seems like the entire Reformed evangelical community is hailing this book as the best of the year, or even decade. Maybe so! If you haven’t read it, you may be wondering: does this book contain new, riveting truths? Does it untie a difficult theological knot? Does it point out blind spots or issue a strong prophetic charge? Kinda, sorta…not really. What it really offers is the chance to slow down and ponder Jesus. I have tears in my eyes as I recall particular sentences and paragraphs from this book that broke through my hardened or distracted heart, with the powerful love of God in Christ Jesus. This is not just a good read. It is an opportunity to commune with God – perhaps in a fresh way.