The best books for the questioning Christian

Who am I?

I’m the founder of PreachersNSneakers, a network of social media accounts and books of the same title, which looks to get others to question the state of the modern church and our obsession with wealth, entertainment and fame. Going through the process of curating the accounts and writing the book has helped me develop expertise on mega churches, celebrity pastors, social media and the prosperity gospel. My goal is to get all people to laugh, think and live more authentically.

I wrote...

PreachersNSneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit Faith and (Wannabe) Celebrities

By Ben Kirby,

Book cover of PreachersNSneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit Faith and (Wannabe) Celebrities

What is my book about?

What started as a joke account on Instagram has turned into a movement. Through this provocative project, the founder of PreachersNSneakers is helping thousands of Jesus followers wrestle with the inevitable dilemmas created by our Western culture obsessed with image and entertainment.

In PreachersNSneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit Faith and (Wannabe) Celebrities, Ben Kirby approaches many of the difficult questions plaguing countless Christians’ minds, presenting experiences and input from both sides of difficult questions.This book will doubtlessly become a staple for church small groups, college ministries, and book clubs, emboldening struggling believers who want to live a more genuine faith. After all, the Lord works in mysterious colorways.
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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel

Why did I love this book?

Blessed provides a comprehensive look into why church is what it is in America today. Her approachable writing style and personal anecdotes keep the reader enthralled in a topic that could easily be presented in a dry, academic way. I’m obsessed with this false idea of a prosperity gospel and why so many people still believe it. If you have questions about why church looks more like a show today than a worship service, this book is for you. 

The book helped to validate my concerns about the prosperity gospel movement but also encouraged me to not condemn those who are in it, but to seek understanding and even relationships with those that believe differently than I do. The background and research Bowler provides were a major contributor to my book and helped lay the groundwork for the questions I pose.

By Kate Bowler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blessed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How have millions of American Christians come to measure spiritual progress in terms of their financial status and physical well-being? How has the movement variously called Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, or simply prosperity gospel come to dominate much of our contemporary religious landscape?

Kate Bowler's Blessed is the first book to fully explore the origins, unifying themes, and major figures of a burgeoning movement that now claims millions of followers in America. Bowler traces the roots of the prosperity gospel: from the touring mesmerists, metaphysical sages, pentecostal healers, business oracles, and princely prophets…

Book cover of Confronting Christianity: 12 Hard Questions for the World's Largest Religion

Why did I love this book?

This book invites questioning very established Christian ideas that many are afraid to bring up. On the opposite end, it provides a helpful resource to those looking to have tough conversations with friends about their faith. I loved this book because it helped me wrestle with my own questions about my faith and provide tools for helpful discourse with friends and family. Not exactly a light read, but immensely important.

By Rebecca McLaughlin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Confronting Christianity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Addressing 12 controversial issues about Christianity-the Bible's teaching on gender and sexuality, the reality of heaven and hell, and more-this book shows how current psychological and scientific research actually aligns with teaching from the Bible.

Four Views on Hell

By Preston Sprinkle (editor),

Book cover of Four Views on Hell

Why did I love this book?

This book was perspective shifting for me because it brings together four experts on the bible and contrasts their very different views on one of the most important topics of our faith, eternity. As someone that grew up never thinking critically about hell, this book made me realize that there were still a lot of elements of my faith that I needed to investigate.

By Preston Sprinkle (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Four Views on Hell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Recent years have seen much controversy regarding a unified Christian doctrine of hell: Do we go to heaven or hell when we die? Or do we cease to exist? Are believers and unbelievers ultimately saved by grace in the end?

By focusing on recent theological arguments, Four Views on Hell: Second Edition highlights why the church still needs to wrestle with the doctrine of hell.

In the fair-minded and engaging Counterpoints format, four leading scholars introduce us to the current views on eternal judgment, with particular attention given to the new voices that have entered the debate.

Contributors and views…

Book cover of God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School

Why did I love this book?

As a Christian, money is one of those topics that always comes up and tends to dominate a lot of my headspace. Baumer and Cortines give an outstanding biblical framework on giving, saving, and investing that helps the reader keep a healthy view of money. This topic is messy but these guys did a great job.

By Gregory Baumer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked God and Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Cortines and Gregory Baumer met as Harvard MBA candidates in a men’s Bible study and stopped asking “How much should I give?” and started asking “How much do I need to keep?” With their top-notch education and rising careers, Cortines and Baumer were guaranteed comfort and security for the rest of their lives. However, when their plans for saving and spending collided with God’s purposes for extravagant generosity, they were each compelled to make a life-changing decision that challenges the values held by mainstream America and many Christian commentators. Cortines and Baumer show not only how to radically give,…

Book cover of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity

Why did I love this book?

This was another foundational book for the network I created, PreachersNSneakers, and seemed to validate some of the questions I already had about Christianity. This book is packed with statistics and other realities about how much poverty and suffering there is in the world compared to the small subset of Western Christians that live with relative wealth. This book helps wrestle with the idea that a few get to flourish while masses live in poverty and how we as Christians should live our lives knowing that fact. This book is challenging in the best way and is a must-read for those who have questions about the relationship between faith and money.

By Ronald J. Sider,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In an age obsessed with wealth, Christians seem to have forgotten that scripture encourages believers to give to the poor. Why do 1.3 billion people live in abject poverty? And what should Christians do about it?

Despite a dramatic reduction in world hunger, 34,000 children still die daily of starvation and preventable disease, and 1.3 billion people around the world remain in abject poverty.

Dr. Ron Sider, a professor of theology, examines the issues of poverty and hunger in modern society. While the Bible is full of instructions to care for the poor and warns against being seduced by riches,…

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