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On My Shelf Life and Books with Anthony Moore

Written by Matt Smethurst on . Posted in The Gospel Coalition Blog

Article by: Matt Smethurst

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

I spoke with Anthony Moore—campus pastor of The Village Church in Fort Worth, Texas—about what’s on his nightstand, what book he wishes every evangelical Christian would read, and more. 

What’s on your nightstand right now? 

I don’t keep books on a nightstand, but I’ve got a good bit on my desk. I’m slowly working through a series of books on race as I try to make sense of everything happening in America. These include: Mark A. Noll’s God and Race in American Politics, J. Daniel Hays’s From Every People and Nation, and Willie James Jennings’s The Christian Imagination.

I’m also reading Sinclair Ferguson’s The Whole Christ as slow as possible—almost a paragraph at a time—because the book is so rich and helpful for considering grace, law, and assurance of salvation. Finally, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns provides a lot of low-hanging fruit from history that continues to stir, encourage, and challenge my soul.   

What are your top books related to the local church?

Charles Bridges’s The Christian Ministry for sure. If you’re a pastor and haven’t read this book, order it now—worthy considerations for heart and the head. Given its age, it takes some work to wade into, but once you’re in, there’s treasure at every turn. Jewels like this await you:

Ministerial success must be viewed as extending beyond present appearances. The seed may lie under the ground until we lie there, and then spring up. Of the prophets of old, the saying was true, “One sows, and another reaps.” They sowed the seed and the apostles reaped the harvest. As our Lord reminded them: “Other men labored, and you are entered into their labors.” And is it no ground of comfort, that our work may be the seed-time of a future harvest? Or, should we neglect to sow, because we may not reap the harvest? Shall we not share the joy of the harvest, even though we are not the immediate reapers of the field?

Polity, edited by Mark Dever, is another. Don’t be fooled by the title. It’s not Mark Dever’s book on polity, but rather an anthology of a bunch of old guys writing on polity. It’s a worthy endeavor to understand how theologians in the past understood ecclesiology. It’s worth your time and attention.

Which book do you wish every evangelical Christian would read and why?

The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. For those who know me, this is no surprise. I pass it out at church meetings and functions all the time. I treasure this book because of the richness of the theology of suffering in its pages. Every believer in this broken world will endure difficulty and hardships. Having a strong understanding of what Christ is doing in the midst of suffering, then, is essential. It’s not only essential for perseverance, but also essential for evangelism. The Lord will often use suffering in the believer’s life as a means of lifting high the value of possessing Christ when all else fades. For those reasons and more, you need a strong theology of suffering. The Bruised Reed is a good avenue to begin the journey toward making sense of suffering.    

What are you learning about life and following Jesus?

My life is riddled with difficulty and anxiety right now. Through much stress and restlessness, I’m learning to wait on God. I’m learning to “tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still” (Ps. 4:4). I’m learning that “none of those who wait for you will be ashamed; those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. . . . Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day. . . . Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in you. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you” (Ps. 25:3, 5, 20–21).

I’m learning, “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in his temple. . . . Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord” (Ps. 27:4, 14). My soul keeps finding comfort in distrusting Christ and wallowing in anxiety rather than resting and trusting him to be good to me in every circumstance.

Also in the On My Shelf series: Sammy RhodesKaren EllisAlastair RobertsScott SaulsKaren Swallow PriorJackie Hill PerryBruce AshfordJonathan LeemanMegan HillMarvin OlaskyDavid WellsJohn FrameRod DreherJames K. A. SmithRandy AlcornTom SchreinerTrillia NewbellJen WilkinJoe CarterTimothy GeorgeTim KellerBryan ChapellLauren ChandlerMike CosperRussell MooreJared WilsonKathy KellerJ. D. GreearKevin DeYoungKathleen NielsonThabiti AnyabwileElyse FitzpatrickCollin HansenFred SandersRosaria ButterfieldNancy Guthrie, and Matt Chandler.

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

Matt Smethurst is managing editor of The Gospel Coalition. He and his wife, Maghan, have three children and live in Louisville, Kentucky. They belong to Third Avenue Baptist Church, where Matt serves as an elder. You can follow him on Twitter.

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