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7 fat years

A wealth of treadmill books, 400 to be almost exact, boiled down to an all-time favorite 100


7 fat years
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Since July 1, 2000, I've been telling WORLD readers every few months about my treadmill reading-books that exercise my mind while exercising my body. Normally I note only books worth reading, and have cited about 400 during those seven years. Here are 100 all-time treadmill favorites (listed in alphabetical order by author):

Randy Alcorn-The Grace and Truth Paradox (Multnomah, 2003)

Grace and truth-telling work together.

Randy Alcorn-Heaven (Tyndale, 2004)

God will place believers in a new earth full of satisfying and enlightening work of diverse kinds.

Debby Applegate-The Most Famous Man in America (Doubleday, 2006)

Liberal preacher Henry Beecher, thinking that God is love only and not justice as well, was surprised when his love for several women led to a court case that turned him into the Bill Clinton of the late 19th century.

Jeff Baldwin-The Deadliest Monster: A Christian Introduction to Worldviews (Coffee House Publishers, 1998)

Christianity is the only religion that comes to grips with the nature of man.

Michael Barone-Hard America, Soft America (Crown, 2004)

Part of America is ruled by competition and accountability, but some Americans try to shield themselves and others from tough realities.

Mike Bechtle-Evangelism for the Rest of Us: Sharing Christ within Your Personality Style (Baker, 2006)

Introverts can evangelize via the internet and in other ways different from those best suited to extroverts.

John Blanchard-Does God Believe in Atheists? (Evangelical Press, 2000)

A witty apologetic filled with curious details about major philosophers, world religions, cults, and lots of other stuff.

James Montgomery Boice-Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? (Crossway Books, 2001)

Five doctrines that shaped the Protestant Reformation can reawaken the church today.

Robert Boynton-The New New Journalism (Vintage, 2005)

These conversations with America's best nonfiction writers on their craft are helpful to young journalists.

Arthur C. Brooks-Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism (Basic, 2006)

Religious conservatives contribute more of their time and a higher percentage of their income than secular liberals.

William F. Buckley-The Fall of the Berlin Wall (Wiley, 2004)

The signal event of America's cold war victory.

J. Budziszewki-How to Stay Christian in College (NavPress, 2004)

Standing up to the academic, sexual, and political myths prevalent on campus.

Dave Burchett-When Bad Christians Happen to Good People (WaterBrook, 2002)

When some churches fixate on unimportant matters, the antidote question is WJSHTOT-"Would Jesus Spend His Time on This?"

Philip Caputo-Acts of Faith (Knopf, 2005)

A gripping novel about pilots, aid workers, missionaries, human-rights activists, and soldiers in war-ravaged Sudan.

Vincent Carroll and David Shiflett-Christianity on Trial: Arguments Against Anti-Religious Bigotry (Encounter Books, 2002)

Western civilization and American democracy owe much to Christianity.

Ken Connor and John Revell-Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty (Ginosko, 2004)

The United States has not been and should not be a theocracy, but Christians should reflect in action God's concern about civil right and wrong.

Terry Cooper-Making Judgments without Being Judgmental (IVP, 2006)

How to make a more persuasive case for Christ.

William Craig-Hard Questions, Real Answers (Crossway, 2003)

Tackles at a popular level some of the most difficult theological problems.

Hernando de Soto-The Mystery of Capital (Basic Books, 2000)

Legally clear property rights make it possible for poor people to build businesses and break out of deprivation.

William Dembski and James Kushiner, eds.-Signs of Intelligence (Baker, 2001)

Readily understandable essays illuminate the logical and evidential fallacies of Darwinism.

William Dembski, ed.-Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing (ISI Books, 2004)

Fifteen essays that display the Intelligent Design movement's academic firepower.

Daniel L. Driesbach-Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation between Church and State (New York University, 2002)

Important historical analysis on Christian-government relations.

David Dykstra-Yearning to Breathe Free: Thoughts on Immigration, Islam, & Freedom (Solid Ground, 2006)

Christians should help aliens who are ready to immigrate psychologically as well as physically.

Joseph Epstein-Fabulous Small Jews (Houghton Mifflin, 2003)

Superbly crafted stories on lives lived without hope, but amid unexpected notes of grace.

John Frame-No Other God: A Response to Open Theism (P&R, 2001)

Some evangelicals turn God into a pitiful, helpless giant.

Robert A.J. Gagnon-The Bible and Homosexual Practice (Abingdon, 2001)

The Bible condemns such practice firmly and emphatically.

Norman Geisler and Frank Turek-I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Crossway, 2004)

Ardently turns the tables on those who see belief in Christ as either crutch or blind leap.

Olaf Gersemann-Cowboy Capitalism: European Myths, American Reality (Cato, 2004)

The slouching German, French, and Italian economies show why America should not adopt European semi-socialism.

Gerald Graff-Clueless in Academe (Yale University Press, 2003)

Many professors make their subjects unintelligible by writing in academese rather than English and scorning popular culture rather than examining connections.

Joshua W. Greene and Shiva Kumar-Witness: Voices from the Holocaust (Free Press, 2000)

Interwoven firsthand accounts of 27 witnesses faced with slavery or death.

Wayne Grudem et al.-Translating Truth: The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation (Crossway, 2005)

It's hard to develop necessary trust in God if we can't trust the book that tells us about God.

Philip Hamburger-Separation of Church and State (Harvard University Press, 2002)

Secular fundamentalists have transformed the First Amendment into an excuse for intolerance and discrimination.

Victor Davis Hanson-Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power (Doubleday, 2001)

Historical perspective that readers can relate to current challenges, including the war in Iraq.

Paul R. Harris-Why Is Feminism So Hard to Resist? (Repristination Press, 1998)

Churches should not succumb to feminist theology and practice.

Hugh Hewitt-In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition and the Desire to Influence the World (Thomas Nelson, 2003)

How to make the most of God-given talents.

Deborah Howard-Sunsets: Reflections for Life's Final Journey (Crossway, 2005)

An excellent book for the non-Christian elderly or others who have suddenly learned that their lives will be shorter than they expected.

Kay Hymowitz-Marriage and Caste in America (Ivan R. Dee, 2006)

Marriage breakdown is turning us into a nation of separate and unequal families, with the poor falling further behind.

Philip Jenkins-Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way (Oxford U. Press, 2001)

The Jesus Seminar and others try to remake Christianity in their own Gnostic images.

Philip Jenkins-The New Face of Christianity (Oxford, 2006)

By 2050 only one Christian in five will be white and non-Latino; Asia, Africa, and Latin America will be the centers of Christianity.

Robert Bowie Johnson Jr.-The Parthenon Code (Solving Light, 2004)

Provocatively theorizes that key works of ancient Greek sculpture depict biblical accounts from a humanist perspective.

R.T. Kendall and David Rosen-The Christian and the Pharise (FaithWords, 2006)

This thoughtful exchange of letters between an evangelical pastor and a rabbi clearly shows both theological differences and personal respect.

Richard Land-The Divided States of America? (W Publishing Group, 2007)

Both liberals and conservatives miss much in the God-and-country shouting match.

Peter Lawler-Aliens in America: The Strange Truth about Our Souls (ISI Books, 2002)

The new biotechnology could obliterate the need for virtue and the desire for love.

Bernard Lewis-What Went Wrong? (Harper, 2003)

Multi-century decline in the Middle East came because Muslim collectivists did not allow individuals to go out on their own or think for themselves.

Erwin W. Lutzer-Ten Lies about God, and How You Might Already Be Deceived (Word, 2000)

Many people believe in a laid-back god of their own devising.

Myron Magnet, ed.-What Makes Charity Work? (Ivan R. Dee, 2000)

Governmental welfare programs treat the poor as victims and assume fatalistically that they'll stay that way.

Paul Marshall with Lela Gilbert-Heaven Is Not My Home (Word, 1998)

Work in this world is significant, and evangelism is not the only important work in which believers should be engaged.

Paul Marshall, Roberta Green, Lela Gilbert-Islam at the Crossroads (Baker, 2002)

An excellent introduction to an Islam that could head toward war or peace.

Gerald R. McDermott-Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods (Oxford, 2000)

The great philosopher believed that all humans at first gained knowledge of true religion either from Noah's sons or, later, from Abraham.

Bruce McDowell and Anees Zaka-Muslims and Christians at the Table (P&R Publishing, 1999)

Information on Muslim history and theology, along with practical reminders, such as never sit cross-legged with Muslims (showing the sole of your foot is offensive).

Alister McGrath-The Twilight of Atheism (Doubleday, 2004)

Atheism was weighed in the 20th century and found wanting.

John McWhorter-Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America (HarperCollins, 2001)

Government programs infect African-Americans with the defeatist cultural virus of victimology, separatism, and anti-intellectualism.

Brian Mitchell-Eight Ways to Run the Country (Praeger, 2007)

An eight-way circular division of the American polity that is much more sensible than a simple left-right spectrum.

Mykel Mitchell-Word: For Everybody Who Thought Christianity Was for Suckas (New American Library, 2005)

A hip-hop record industry veteran turned to Christ when he couldn't get satisfaction from "the expensive toys, the fly gear and the expensive girlfriends."

Timothy M. Monsma-Hope for the Southern World (CCW Books, 2006)

Christians can and should build civil society both in democracies and dictatorships.

Jennifer Roback Morse-Love & Economics (Spence, 2001)

The laissez-faire family, where each member pursues his own bliss rather than loving others, fails miserably.

Chawkat Moucarry-The Prophet & the Messiah: An Arab Christian's Perspective on Islam & Christianity (IVP, 2002)

The earliest known Quranic fragments date from the second century after Muhammad and are not reliable.

Joshua Muravchik-Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism (Encounter, 2002)

Socialists (including fascists and Nazis) needed to worship something.

Stephen J. Nichols-Heaven on Earth: Capturing Jonathan Edwards's Vision of Living in Between (Crossway, 2006)

Evangelism should introduce people to Christ; it cannot make the sale.

Peggy Noonan-A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag (Free Press, 2003)

Captures beautifully the traumatic year that began on Sept. 11, 2001.

Peggy Noonan-When Character was King (Viking, 2001)

A biography of Ronald Reagan that emphasizes the need for presidents to have character that people come to recognize as high, sturdy, and reliable.

Michael Oren-Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present (Norton, 2007)

The 230-year-long U.S. encounter with Muslims and Israel.

Glenn Parkinson-Like the Stars: Leading Many to Righteousness (iUniverse, 2004)

Responding to American social decline with resentment and hostility only alienates our neighbors from Christians and from the gospel.

Leon Podles-The Church Impotent (Spence, 1999)

Many Christians misunderstand grace and the tough spiritual and intellectual warfare to which all are called.

Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger-Simple Church (Broadman & Holman, 2006)

Vibrant churches free members to engage in more ministry by cutting down the number of meetings and functions throughout the week.

Diane Ravitch-The Language Police (Knopf, 2003)

Educators concerned with bias and "sensitivity" have substituted bland material for lively stories.

Gordon C. Rhea-Carrying the Flag (Basic, 2004)

The story of one 40-year-old South Carolina soldier during the horrific Virginia fighting of May 1864.

Steven Rhoads-Taking Sex Differences Seriously (Encounter, 2004)

On average, men and women differ in aggression, dominance, sexuality, and nurturing.

Mike Robbins-Ninety Feet from Fame: Close Calls with Baseball Immortality (Carroll & Graf, 2004)

Many baseball near-legends lost out through "circumstance, bad luck, and bad timing"-also known as providence.

Matthew Robinson-Mobocracy (Prima, 2002)

Journalists manipulate surveys so they can trumpet their own views while still claiming to be "objective."

Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer-AWOL (HarperCollins, 2006)

The absence of upper-class kids from military service is hurting the United States.

Leland Ryken-The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation (Crossway, 2002)

Indicts translations that cater to cultural trends.

Frank Schaeffer-Faith of Our Sons: A Father's Wartime Diary (Carroll & Graf, 2004)

What U.S. parents go through when their children are in danger in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Alvin J. Schmidt-How Christianity Changed the World (Zondervan, 2001, 2004)

Christianity changed charity, sexual conduct, medical care, education, science, literature, the arts, business and labor, and a host of other fields.

Hampton Sides-Ghost Soldiers (Doubleday, 2001)

Brutally mistreated and malnourished American prisoners of war in the Philippines during World War II desperately needed biblical teaching-and some chaplains came through.

Michael Simpson-Permission Evangelism (Cook Communications, 2003)

How to engage in conversation that can cut through the biases against evangelicals that some non-Christians have developed, at times because of unloving acts by people who claim to be Christians.

James Sire-Why Good Arguments Often Fail (IVP, 2006)

How to strengthen arguments for the Christian faith.

Oskar Skarsaune-In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity (Intervarsity, 2002)

Christianity is Jewish.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn-The Solzhenitsyn Reader (ISI Books, 2006)

Highlights of the heroic dissenter's work.

Thomas Sowell-Basic Economics (Basic Books, 2000)

A free-market introduction to economic problems.

Robert Spencer-The Myth of Islamic Tolerance (Prometheus, 2005)

Those who say Muslims and Christians or Jews can all get along if we're just nice to each other are thinking like children.

Rodney Stark-The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (Random House, 2005)

The Christian doctrine that sin is a personal responsibility led to the extension of liberty and economic opportunity in the early modern era.

Mathew Staver-Eternal Vigilance: Knowing and Protecting Your Religious Freedom (Broadman & Holman, 2005)

A thorough handbook on how to stave off aggressive secularists.

Mark Steyn-America Alone (Regnery, 2006)

European cowardice in not having children may turn that continent into Eurabia.

S. Joshua Swamidass-How Deep Is Your Dungeon? (Send Fellowship International, 2000)

The book of Job shows that God is near when He seems especially far away.

Timothy C. Tennent-Christianity at the Religious Roundtable (Baker Academic, 2002)

How Christians should talk with Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims.

Chan Kei Thong-Faith of our Fathers (FaithOfOurFathersBooks.com, 2007)

The early Chinese venerated a Supreme Being with characteristics similar to those of the God of the Bible, and the 4,000-year-old Chinese sacrificial system has startling and meaningful parallels to the biblical system.

Paul Vitz-Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism (Spence, 1999)

Many atheists never had a good father and so doubt that one can exist.

Bruce Ware-God's Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism (Crossway, 2001)

Demolishes arguments that God doesn't decide what to do until He hears from us.

Ibn Warraq-The Quest for the Historical Muhammad (Prometheus, 2000)

The real Muhammad was probably nothing like the character depicted in the orthodox Muslim story.

Ben J. Wattenberg-Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future (Ivan Dee, 2004)

The once-feared population explosion is giving way to a birth dearth.

John West-Darwin's Conservatives (Discovery Institute, 2006)

Critiques pundits and academics like George Will and James Q. Wilson who praise Darwin's grinding materialism as a brake on liberalism's utopian fantasies; West rightly points out that Darwinism corrodes religious beliefs and concepts of limited government.

James Emery White-Serious Times (InterVarsity, 2004)

The world changes when individuals touched by Christ turn around and touch the lives of others.

Juan Williams-Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America-and What We Can Do about It (Crown, 2006)

We should no longer accept corruption and excuse wrongdoing by black leaders.

Lauren F. Winner-Girl Meets God (Algonquin, 2003)

A picaresque tale of a young woman weaving back and forth as Christ pulls her.

Miroslav Wolf: Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace (Zondervan, 2005)

God's gifts oblige us to give freely to others.

Thomas Woodward-Doubts About Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design (Baker, 2003)

The rise of the ID movement.

Bat Ye'or-Islam and Dhimmitude (Fairleigh Dickinson, 2001)

"Human rights" is a meaningless term within Islam, and conquered people have to pay extra taxes and put up with enormous scorn and abuse.

Ravi Zacharias-Light in the Shadow of Jihad (Multnomah, 2002)

Faulty Muslim theology leads to political and social dictatorship, and Muslim scholars who question Quranic teaching and origins often have a short life expectancy.

Karl Zinsmeister-Boots on the Ground (St. Martin's, 2003)

The evocative account of a smart journalist embedded with the 82nd Airborne during the initial U.S. success in the Iraq war.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is the former editor in chief of WORLD, having retired in January 2022, and former dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books, including Reforming Journalism.



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