Articles, Book Reviews
200+ free e-books worth checking out
We live in an age in which so many wonderful resources are available for free. Of course, with the sheer numbers being passed along here, we haven't been able to read, let alone review all of them so, as always, be sure to use discernment. But there are certainly a good number of gems here.
The books below aren't broken up by subject, but are, instead, divided into three categories based on whether you can easily download them, or whether some personal information might be required, or whether the book has to be read online.
This is a list of recent books, with most published in the last decade or two. Monergism.com has a list of much older titles, with most published at a minimum of 100 years ago, and many springing right out of the Reformation 500 years past. Their list amounts to more than 700 titles and can be found here.
These books are completely free and can be downloaded with minimal fuss (usually just a click and you are on your way).
Almost 100 from John Piper and friends
John Piper seems to have released all of his books in free pdf versions, and has tackled topics as diverse as biblical manhood and womanhood, abortion, sex, retirement, C.S. Lewis, Open Theism, racism and biographies.
On occasion, some of Piper's writings are clearly directed to specifically Reformed Baptists. So, for example, in his biography of Adoniram Judson, he lauds the missionary for coming to reject infant baptism in favor of adult baptism. But for the most part his books are intended for a larger Reformed audience.
But with so many available, what should you start with? His short biographies are excellent, each about 70 pages or so, and one of his most popular is Don't Waste Your Life.
Oh, and while the majority of the books here are by Piper, there are many exceptions, and that's important to note because if it isn't by him, it likely isn't free.
16 by WORLD magazine's Marvin Olasky
The editor of the Christian WORLD magazine has written books on Journalism and how Christians should read the news (and write it), on the history of abortion and the fight against, on a Christian perspective on compassion and the government's role in it, and even written a novel about radical Islam. There is lots to love here!
20+ from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
I still haven't had a chance to check these out, but plan to download Ned B. Stonehouse's J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir.
4 volume set of S.D. DeGraaf Promise and Deliverance series
The four volumes of S.D. DeGraaf’s Promise and Deliverance series are a very expensive and rare find – they haven’t been in print for a decade or two. But these volumes would be very useful for parents and teachers who are trying to share the Bible stories with children. The set is a sort of commentary, or a set of outlines, for all the stories in the Bible, and done from a covenantal perspective. Maybe the best way to think of it would be as a sort of “cheat sheet” for parents – S.D. DeGraaf comes alongside us to prepare us to teach these stories, this biblical history, to our children.
It could also be read as a devotional of sorts for teens, or even adults. These have been used in Dutch Reformed circles for generations now, but were also recognized by Christianity Today as a "landmark in interpreting the simple stories of the Bible."
The free pdfs below are scanned, which means they aren't searchable or highlightable, but they are certainly readable. You can download them by clicking here for:
Volume 1: From Creation to the conquest of Canaan
Volume 2: The failure of Israel's theocracy
Volume 3: Christ's ministry and death
Volume 4: Christ and the nations
You can find a longer review of these books here.
Social Justice: How good intentions undermine justice and the Gospel
E. Calvin Beisner is probably best known as the head of the Christian stewardship group the Cornwall Alliance. But before he started speaking on the environment, he researched and wrote a lot on poverty and economics. In this booklet, he outlines how good intentions are not only not enough, but often harmful.
31 days of purity
This is a 31-day devotional to encourage and challenge the Church in regard to sexual purity. With contributions from Tim Challies, David Murray, and Joel Beeke, there are some insightful, trustworthy folks behind this.
Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?
This is an important topic for any Christian considering the pill. Randy Alcorn's 200-page book can be downloaded for free, or, click here for a shorter overview.
Abolition of Reason
Jonathon Van Maren, Scott Klusendorf and other “incrementalist” pro-lifers argue against "abolitionism" or “immediatism.”
Memoirs of an ordinary pastor: The life and reflections of Tom Carson
Well-known Reformed Baptist pastor D.A. Carson on his unknown, faithful father.
False Messages: A Guide for the Godly Bride
Aileen Challies, wife of the Reformed blogger Tim Challies, has written a booklet for women on a biblical view of sexuality (it is near the bottom of the list).
The Holy Spirit
Kevin DeYoung with a short 30-page introduction to the Third Person of the Trinity.
Scripture Alone: The Evangelical doctrine
In this 40-page booklet, RC Sproul does a wonderful job of defending this key Reformed doctrine.
Why sex is the best argument for creation
The folks behind the fantastic documentary Is Genesis History? have created a short 115-page e-book with ten of their most popular essays, including the title essay. You can download the pdf for free here, the Mobi (Kindle) version here, and the Epub version here.
How should Christians approach origins?
At just 67 pages, John Byl and Tom Goss have put together an incredibly succinct overview of an incredibly important topic.
2. Download for free, but they want some information
These books are free, but getting them will require you to give your email address, or create an account, or in some way provide them some information. But these aren't spammers, so you can always opt out of their email lists.
35 booklets from RC Sproul
In the last few years RC Sproul released a series of "Crucial Questions" booklets, all in the range of 40 to maybe 80 pages. That made them concise - something that could be read in an evening or two. And Sproul managed to pack a lot in these few pages while still keeping it readable. I will say, they still aren't light reads, but because of their small size, if anyone is interested in the question, then they should be able to work through Sproul's answer. I haven't read all 28 of them, but have appreciated each of the half dozen or so I've read so far.
They tackle questions such as:
Can I know God's will?
Can I lose my salvation?
What is baptism?
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The e-book versions are free and will be forever.
Love the least (a lot)
Michael Spielman is the founder of the website Abort73.com, one of the most comprehensive pro-life websites on the Internet. And his Love the Least (A Lot) is one of the most readable, most motivating, pro-life books you could ever read.
God and the gay Christian: a response to Matthew Vines
This is a response, by Reformed Baptist leader R. Albert Mohler Jr., to a popular book by Matthew Vines called God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. Mohler has also written a short book Homosexuality and the Bible.
Parenting the Internet generation
This is such a helpful book! It's by Luke Gilkerson, one of the folks working at Covenant Eyes, a Christian Internet accountability company, and his goal is to help equip parents to protect and guide their children when it comes to all things online. This is a thoroughly biblical resource, and as much a parenting guide as it is an Internet guide. You can find a longer review here.
Covenant Eyes has many other booklets available on the topics of sexual purity and online safety such as More than single, A parent's guide to cyber bullying, Equipped: Raising Godly Digital Natives, and more, that can be found here.
3. Read online
These books are free too but are only available to be read online, usually one chapter per webpage.
30+ Creationist resources from Answers in Genesis
Answers in Genesis is a creationist group with a presuppositionalist approach to apologetics, which means there is a decided Reformed influence in the group. But while all Reformed folk should be creationists, not all creationists are Reformed, so these books are not specifically Reformed.
Answers in Genesis has done something curious here, in making their books available for free reading. You can't download them, but can read them, chapter by chapter, on their website. That makes things a little more troublesome, but if the book interests you, it is a minor inconvenience.
The very best is In Six Days, in which 50 scientists each take a chapter to explain why they believe in creationism. Old Earth Creationism on Trial and In the Beginning Was Information are also very good.
8 more great Creationist books
Dr. Jonathan Sarfati’s Refuting Evolution, and Refuting Evolution 2 are available for online reading here.
Letters to a Mormon Elder
James White’s fantastic resource can be read for free online. Be a bit patient – it does seem to take a minute or two to load....