By Jesse Sumpter
Sadly, No Quarter November is starting to wind down. On the other hand, you have all those great Doug Wilson books and now you need to decide which order to read them in. Here is a recommended order to do that.
As you look at this list, you will see that some of the books on this list were not part of the November 2019 fun but that is okay. You can still buy them from Canon Press. Or maybe you already have them.
I have structured this list in order to give you a handle on the landscape of Wilson’s writings. He has written on a lot of different topics so it can be helpful to have a map so you know where you are and where to go next. Enjoy!
1. How to be Free from Bitterness by Jim Wilson
You will see that this one is not by Doug Wilson but by his father Jim Wilson. That selection is not an accident. In fact, I am sure Pr. Wilson would agree with me on this selection. You need to read Jim Wilson’s books but this one is essential. It covers basic christian living starting with how we are forgiven by God which makes it possible for us to forgive others. Our culture is a bitter culture and it will only get more bitter. This book points us to the antidote in Jesus. If you don’t read anything else on this list except this one, you will do well. Here is a link to Jim Wilson’s website for the free pdf booklet. I also bring up this book because it is a real, tangible way to see God’s faithfulness to the Wilson family: this faithfulness is generationally thick. Be encouraged by the example of God’s grace to this family, generation by generation. God loves to do this kind of thing.
2. Federal Husband (see also Father Hunger, Reforming Marriage, and Fidelity)
Now to Doug Wilson books. Fathers and husbands are a dire need in our generation. Read this and be encouraged as you lead your wife and children. It covers a lot of practical advice for husbands and fathers.
3. Standing on the Promises (see also Future Men, Why Children Matter, and To a Thousand Generations)
Parents need to raise godly children. There is no way to win our culture or society unless the hearts of the fathers turn to the children and the children turn to the fathers. But this is not based on our efforts but based on God’s promises. His promises are sure and true.
4. Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (see also Repairing the Ruins, The Case for Classical Education, and Paidiea of God)
A key part of the calling of parents is to educate godly children. This book sets out how to do that in a thoughtful way. This book, and the school started by Wilson in Moscow, began the Classical Education revival in America. Read this and find a good school near you or better yet, go start a school.
5. A Serrated Edge
Why does Doug Wilson write the way he does? Is that even Christian? Yep, it is. Jesus did it first. Read this and understand.
6. Black and Tan
What did Doug Wilson say about slavery? I get confused because people are always quoting unsourced quotes supposedly by Wilson about how he owns a thousand slaves. Yeah, that’s not true. Read this book to understand Wilson’s real position. More Christians need to write books like this.
7. Heaven Misplaced
I have not read this one but I know the conclusion: Christianity wins. There is much work to be done in bringing the earth under submission to Jesus. Read this and get to work.
8. Evangellyfish (see also Flags Out Front)
A wonderful fictional satire of the current wet paper bag called, Evangelicalism. But this book is also a wonderful study in how God can save wet paper bags and use them to change the world. As a bonus, Jim Wilson makes a cameo in this story. Be encouraged by this book. Have a good laugh too.
9. Mother Kirk (see also Against the Church, Reformed is not Enough, and Westminster Systematics)
The Church is not the runt of the litter. It is the central unit in the great offensive of Heaven storming the gates of Hell. The Church looks really messy with all these sinners but God has given the church wonderful gifts called pastors, elders, and deacons. We need to understand the glorious task of the Church. Here is a theologically rich handbook with lots of practical discussions for leaders in the church. Get a copy for yourself first and then one for your pastor.
10. What I Learned in Narnia
Travel through Narnia with Doug Wilson. He has a wonderful eye for key lessons in the Chronicles of Narnia. Read this book and gain a fresh perspective on the series. I have only read selections from this one but I know it is good.
11. Empires of Dirt
Catch up on key ideas about modern politics and how Christians should think through these issues. Wilson deals with a number of erroneous theologies: Anabaptism from Greg Boyd and Radical Two Kingdom theology from Jason Stellman. I am about half way through this one but it is a great resource.
12. Wordsmithy (See also Beowulf, a verse rendering)
Learn to write directly from Doug Wilson. He gives lots of helpful suggestions on writing and reading in order to be a better writer.
13. God Rest Ye Merry
This is a wonderful read for Advent and Christmas. Wilson helps recover a Christian celebration of Christmas that is neither sour nor sentimental. In the midst of a culture gone mad, there is nothing like a good robust celebration of our king’s birth. I have only read selections from this. One of my favorite comments was how every nativity set should have Roman soldiers to mark the murdered baby boys in Bethlehem. The soldiers are a great way to blast the sentimentalism out of Christmas. Our King came to conquer the evil in this world and His death secured that victory.
On My to Read List (I have some catching up to do too)
Rules for Reformers
When the Man Comes Around
5 Cities that Ruled the World
For Kirk and Covenant
9 Writers to Read
Flags Out Front
The Man in the Dark