I am thoroughly enjoying having today (Presidents’ Day) off. A day without the rush of work gives enough time to truly enjoy the reading and coffee. I was able to advance the bookmarks in a couple of books that will be finished over the next week and another that will take a while And then there are the new books.
I usually begin a new book by examining all the recommendations on the back, inside the dust jacket, and in the opening pages of the book. Forwards, introductions, and acknowledgments are then read. I glance over the table of contents and then rush over to the bibliography. You can often judge a book by the books consulted by the author.
In the kind providence of God, we were blessed yesterday by having Pastor Mickey Schneider preach at our church. Afterwards, he and his wife, Judy, came to our house for lunch and fellowship. Pastor Schneider is a walking history of late 20th century Southern Presbyterianism. He watched Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” with Cornelius Van Til, got lost in Jackson, MS with R. J. Rushdoony, and served as pastor to Greg Bahnsen.
Pastor Schneider attended Columbia Theological Seminary in the mid-1960s. That was a transition time in Southern Presbyterian history, as well as a turbulent time in American political history. Columbia was rooted in Scottish Calvinism. Some of the great names of that seminary included James Henley Thornwell, John Girardeau, and Benjamin Morgan Palmer. By the 1960s, theological liberals were holding sway over the seminary, but the truth had not died out. (The truth never dies.) One of the stalwarts of the faith who, almost single-handedly at times, held to the historic Reformed faith, the Westminster Standards, and the Scriptures was William Childs Robinson. Dr. Robinson’s last year at the seminary was Pastor Schneider’s first year.
Today, I began reading Pleading for Reformation Vision: The Life and Selected Writings of William Childs Robinson by David Calhoun. Last year, I read and thoroughly enjoyed Calhoun’s book Our Southen Zion: Old Columbia Seminary. Read the review here. This follow-up book, a Banner of Truth publication, covers the life of Dr. Robinson and includes a selection of essays he wrote on a number of theological topics. This is not a book that will appeal to a wide audience, but it is a valuable contribution to the history of Presbyterianism in America and Reformed theology in the 20th century. David Calhoun is THE historian of American Presbyterian seminaries.
A few weeks ago, I posted a blog on books on Christianity and Capitalism. From that blog, I learned about several other books on the topic that I do not have. Well, now I have them and wonder how I ever survived without them.
The first is Foundations of Economics: A Christian View by Shawn Ritenour. Dr. Ritenour is a professor of economics at Grove City College and is an elder in a Presbyterian church. His book is a weighty, detailed study of economics. He builds upon the economic work of Ludwig von Mises and others in the Austrian school. He is not the first Christian to borrow, glean, and redemptively cultivate ideas from the Austrian perspective. (If the term “Austrian school” is meaningless, don’t worry about it.) So far, I have only scanned the book, surveyed the incredibly good bibliography, and started in on the first chapter. This book is a blessing. God continues to raise up worthy scholars in all disciplines. I look forward to working through this book. This book is published by Wipf and Stock, and here is a good place to purchase it.
Most recently, Crossway Books published The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution by theologian Wayne Grudem and economist Barry Asmus. I knew this would be a great book for 3 reasons. First, Wayne Grudem, a gifted Christian systematic theologian, is one of the authors. Second, my friends Andrew Sandlin and David Bahnsen both spoke favorably of the book. Third, I read a column by two college students who sat in a session with Dr. Grudem and they eloquently whined about captialism exploiting the poor and overusing resources and promoting colonialism and slavery. These two guys did have a great alternative to capitalism: Complaining about capitalism. That aside, this book looks outstanding.
Now, with a book on a theologian to read and two books on economics, I only need to figure out how to pay the rest of this month’s bills on a teacher/preacher salary.