I recently read 2 books on humility (something I need more of). First I read Humility: the Forgotten Virtue by Wayne (and Joshua) Mack. Then I read Humility: True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney. The obvious question some may ask is, which book is better?
That would probably not be the question I would want to answer, or could answer. These are both very good and profitable books. But each will appeal to somewhat different audiences.
Mack’s book is for those with a great love for the Puritans (like me). He credits Spurgeon, Watson, Edwards and Bunyan for shaping this thoughts on this topic. It reads very much like a Puritan sermon, which also means it is drenched with Scripture. Each chapter has exercises at the end which can be used for discussion, or to search your heart. This book is possibly for the more introspective sort who wants to slowly plow through Scripture that his/her heart may be revealed.
Mahaney’s book is very good as well. I don’t want to slight him or this book. C.J. has also been schooled in the Puritans, and that influence should be obvious. But it reads more like a contemporary sermon than a Puritan sermon. He has a more whimsical touch. Whereas Mack’s book ought to humble you as you see how much pride rules you, Mahaney’s is more like an invitation to discover this about yourself. Where Mack, assuming rightly we are filled with pride, goes right for the jugular, Mahaney (also assuming we are filled with pride) tries to talk his way into your heart. This book is for those who run from the straightforward approach. They need to ease into it (like I usually ease into swimming pools).
Another way of looking at it would be Mack looks at the big picture- the course of life. Mahaney wants you to look at each day, a smaller sample size. Each approach is valid and useful, but appeals to different folks. Or perhaps people at different stages. Perhaps we all need to start with Wayne Mack’s book (like I did), and then follow-up with C.J.’s to continue the work of grace we all so desperately need.
Both books are great, and should find welcome audiences. They may just have different audiences.