Book Reviews Due

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Don’t talk to me about the splendors of the Renaissance, nor about the glories of the printing press of the Reformation, nor about the Puritan Revolution.  They all pale beside what is going on today.  When I first embraced Reformed theology in the late 1970’s, it was possible to keep up and or at least be aware of most of the major publications.  Back in those days, Puritan-Reformed Books (in Delaware) was a clearing house for the many and varied Reformed publishers and titles.  There were a couple of newsletters and magazines of a Reformed variety that were chocked full of material as well.

I thought I was overwhelmed back in those days with reading challenges and opportunities.  That was a trickle.  We are living in a tidal wave.  Via the internet alone, one can access more Reformed theological works than one could find by shopping and mail ordering in the 1970’s.  Today, there are more reprints, more new books, more new publishers, more sources for out-of-print books, more PDF’s, more used book sellers, and more of everything a serious reading Reformed Christian would want.

Add to that this fact:  The broader Protestant evangelical community is far more open to and accepting of Calvinist authors and titles than was the case years ago.  One can enter a Christian book store today and walk out with arm loads of books by Spurgeon, Pink, Sproul, Keller, Mohler, Devers, Piper, and others.  Yes, some of us older, more crusty Calvinists can scoff at some of what might seem to be Calvinist-lite, new Calvinism, and a more congenial approach to Reformed theology.  Yes, I still like the unabashed pure strains found in Warfield, the Hodges, Machen, and Boettner.  But we are experiencing a tidal wave, as I said.  And it is not just here in the U. S. or in the English speaking world.  Almost daily, I am being encouraged by a hardy band of young, restless, Bible and theology-hungry Reformed Christians in Brazil.

Being a book reviewer in this day and time is both great fun and impossible.  I cannot even hope to get through all the books I need to get through.  Many that I read are of such a quality as to demand re-readings.  What a problem to give thanks for!

Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present is edited by Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey and is published by New Growth Press.  This is a massive work, a treasure trove of theological wealth, a compendium of Reformation resources.  While daunting to behold due to its size, it is easily accessible because one can pick and choose where to begin.  There are 26 historical liturgies along with historical introductions.

This will be high on the list for summer reading and perusing.  Already this book is getting lots of attention in Reformed circles.  Yep, it costs a bit, but not too much considering the size of the book and quality of the packaging.

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Paul: A Biography by N. T. Wright is published by HarperCollinsPublishers.  You can listen to Bishop Wright discuss the book and subject here.  N. T. Wright has his ardent fans and bitter foes.  He has written an incredible number of both scholarly and more popular Christian works.  Paul’s Epistles are his specialty.

I profit from Wright’s books.  I do not profess to be a great student of his thought or system.  I read things that astound me by him and things that puzzle me.  His way of speaking and describing theology is not my way.  That, too, is a reason why I read him.

I have only glanced at this book, but am looking forward to delving into it in June.

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The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament is by Andreas J. Kostenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles.  It is published by B & H Publishers, one of my favorites.

This is another hefty book, but it is, after all a textbook style “introduction.”  I lament not having had any formal study of theology and the Bible.  I continue to pick up bits and pieces of a theological understanding here and there.  While there are many New Testament textbooks, this is the one that I will be focusing on this summer.

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Saving Truth:  Finding Meaning & Clarity in a Post-Truth World by Abdu Murray is published by Zondervan.  Murray’s website for this book can be found HERE.

I am already well into reading this book.  It is yet another call to Christians (and any non-Christians willing to read this book) to be alert to yet another tragic turn in our culture.  The battle is for Truth itself.  It is not a new battle, but each generation has to fight this concern in another manner.  We are all subject to “fake news,” opinions posing as truth, attacks on truth, redefinitions of truth, and questions about whether truth even exists.

In the spirit of Christian cultural critics and observers like Francis Schaeffer, Charles Colson, Os Guinness, and others, this book is a worthwhile examination of a key issue we cannot escape.

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