I read a lot of good books this year. There are also some books published this year that I have heard great things about which I have not yet read. But the following are the ones that rose to the top for me.
Book of the Year
Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition by Craig Carter
Originally intended to be a defense of classical theism, Dr. Carter took a detour into a defense of the hermeneutic of the church fathers. Of course there is no single hermeneutic to be found among the scholars and preachers of the first five centuries. But Carter examines the method of those best representatives of the early church and presents a compelling argument that they got it right far more often than they got it wrong. Could it be that otherwise conservative Bible scholars and preachers of our day have been unduly influenced by critical scholarship? Could it be that we have unwittingly embraced a hermeneutic which places the intent of the human writers above the supernatural hand of Scripture’s Divine Author? Every preacher needs to read this book.
Grounded in Heaven by Michael Allen
The latest from Michael Allen of RTS Orlando is well worth reading. Dr. Allen offers a needed critique of the many modern studies of the age to come which neglect a proper emphasis on the presence of the Divine as the central blessing of the eternal state. But far more than a critique, Grounded in Heaven is a reminder that eternal life in the presence of God is, for good reason, the foundation and substance of the Christian hope.
Jesus Becoming Jesus by Thomas Weinandy
Weinandy is a Roman Catholic Friar and systematic theologian. Years ago I benefitted greatly from his defense of the doctrine of divine impassibility, Does God Suffer? In Jesus Becoming Jesus, Weinandy offers a systematic theology of the synoptic gospels. One of the book’s great strengths is the seamless harmony of scholarship and devotion. Protestants will find very few things they cannot gladly affirm. My own preaching on the Lord's Prayer and the incarnation have been enriched by this wonderful book.
The Devil’s Redemption (2 Volumes) by Michael McClymond
I must confess that I have not yet completed all 1200 pages of this scholarly work. But so far I have benefitted greatly from the author's thorough critique of a system of belief which is probably quite widespread among evangelicals. This will probably be the standard go-to work on the subject of Christian universalism.
Love Thy Body by Nancy Pearcey
Miss Pearcy has given us once again a very helpful book. What makes Love Thy Body so important is the skillful way in which the author grounds the biblical teachings on human identity, gender, and sexual ethics in the doctrine of creation. The battle over human identity and sexuality that is currently raging is one that must be met with our best scholarship, our most careful arguments, and our most compassionate ethos. Miss Pearcey’s book is a worthy addition to the effort.
That Hideous Strength: How the West Was Lost by Melvin Tinker
I have enjoyed the work of Melvin Tinker for years. This little treatise on the influence of social Marxism on the church and society ought to be read by every American Christian. This is no conspiracy tract which sees a communist behind every call for generosity. Far from it. Rather it is a careful but appropriately urgent warning from one who has seen first-hand the ravages of cultural Marxism in Europe.
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