It’s tough to find books to give to non-Christians that are at once accessible, helpful, and rich. I think I’ve found a great reference for you and for me as we seek to help unbelievers (and young Christians) understand the Christian faith. The “Books You’ll Actually Read” series, written by Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll, is excellent. You can order it here.
Here are a couple of recommendations:
“Mark has a gift of taking weighty ideas and expressing them in clear and lively language.” Bruce A. Ware, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Serious, informed, reverent, but not technical discussions of great themes.” D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Here’s the series blurb from the Crossway website: “Clear, biblical answers to some of the most common questions—all into concise books you’ll actually read! Mark Driscoll boils down the big ideas from hundreds of volumes of reading into 4 books that each take about an hour to read.”
This is a great example of the way Driscoll handles dense subject matter with clarity and nuance: “When looking at the names of God in the New Testament, Jesus Christ emerges as the predominant name. The name Jesus is derived from the Hebrew Old Testament work Joshua, Y’shua, or Je-Hoshua, which means “Jehovah is Salvation.” Jesus also referred to himself by the most sacred Old Testament name for God, “I am.”…The name Christ also appears throughout the New Testament and is the equivalent to the Old Testament Hebrew Messiah (Meshiach), which means “The Anointed One.” Therefore, the most common name for God in the New Testament is Jesus Christ.” (Who Is God, 40)
Bottom line: These books are all designed to be read in one sitting and an hour’s time. That may be slightly optimistic, but it’s likely that a person could read these books very quickly. As we all know, that is hugely important in reaching unbelievers. Things need to be quick and direct. In Driscoll’s book on the New Testament, for example, he summarizes each of the books of the New Testament in a paragraph or two. That’s an excellent resource. I’m so glad to see a pastor doing this kind of work. While not everyone will agree with the conclusions to which Driscoll comes in On Church Leadership, he does offer a number of practical answers to common questions regarding church leadership that I found practically beneficial.
I would particularly recommend On Who Is God? and also On the New Testament and On the Old Testament. The first, however, will be especially helpful in introducing unbelievers to the faith. One need not agree with all of Driscoll’s cultural and theological positions to use these books and see them bear fruit in the lives of others. I’m thankful for a resource like this, and I hope to see more of this sort of resource from Driscoll in the future. His heart for his people (the books were originally pamphlets written for his church) and his love for the Lord is apparent throughout his writing. One hopes that this ministry of writing will draw many people to faith and clear up much confusion for unbelievers, all for God’s glory.