Amazing how another year has come and gone so quickly. I always like to write up a brief overview of all the books I heard on audio and those I read. As is my yearly custom, I’ll start with the ones I heard on audio and then move to the ones I read.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Tolkien’s masterpiece is read by Rob Inglis. His presentation wasn’t as good as Jim Dale’s reading of the Harry Potter series, but he still does a superb job with the books, bringing a fresh, lively narration to all the characters. He even sang the various songs in the story making them come alive in a unique way. If you are wanting to revisit these books, or have never read them, this audio presentation is well worth your time. Found them at my local library.
The Cold Dish – Craig Johnson. My wife and I have enjoyed watching the A&E series Longmire, and I was happy to learn the show was based upon a series of books. I searched our local library and found that they could secure a good number of the audio books, so I started with the first one. It’s narrated by my favorite reader, George Guidall. I look forward to getting more in the year to come.
The Great Influenza – John M. Barry. At least once a year, the Book Shack at Grace carries the few non-fiction books John MacArthur had recently read or recommended from the pulpit when he returns from his sabbatical. One that caught my eye this past summer was Barry’s historical retelling of the flu epidemic that erupted in 1918 during the final years of WW1. The book tells the story about the development of America’s medical schools and the men who founded them, where the flu originated and spread, and how it was fought by an army of medical doctors, many of whom succumbed to the disease themselves. One awesome word I learned was sputum.
The only thing I didn’t care for was the narrator. He read a previous book I heard a couple of years ago. His cadence and delivery is choppy and unnatural and it made listening a chore that a person really doesn’t want to be bothered with when you are trying to hear a book.
Mystery Babylon – Chris White. The book can be purchased at Amazon, but I listened to the series of Youtube videos related to it as presented by the author. Those videos can be found at his channel and then downloaded into MP3 with what ever video converter you may use. It is a study of Revelation 17-18 and the author makes a rather compelling case that the “mystery Babylon” discussed in Rev. 17-18 is the eschatological Jerusalem during the final 7 years of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy.
Regular Print Edition Books
Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the NT Books – Michael Kruger. This is probably the best theological/apologetic book I have read in a long time. I have really come to appreciate Dr. Kruger since he has been blogging. I was familiar with his various journal articles he wrote in the past. His joint work with Andreas Kostenberger, The Heresy of Orthodoxy, that takes apart the Bauer thesis is fabulous.
In the first section, he outlines the main views on what makes biblical books inspired “canon,” and then hits on what is the orthodox, biblical view. The final sections of the book develops his view of the canon and interacts with what is considered problems with it.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a must read for pastors, or any Christian for that matter, who wants to shore up his understanding of how we got our Bible. The author is thoroughly versed in all the major literature and is a presuppositionalist in application. In fact, the book is probably one of the best treatments on how presuppositional methodology shapes our understanding of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture. I look forward to hearing Dr. Kruger at the 2015 Shepherd’s Conference, DV.
American Originals: Homemade Varieties of Christianity – Paul K. Conkin. The author explores the history of the major pseudo-Christian cults and sects that developed in America, including the Church of Christ, the Unitarians, and the Mormons. He is a bit weak on Christian theology. For instance, he has a ignorant understanding of the doctrine of original sin. But overall, it is one of the better historical treatments of those major religious groups. His study of the Church of Christ is particularly well done.
Things That Go Bump in the Church: Explaining the Bible’s Most Misunderstood Teachings – Mike Abendroth, Clint Archer, Byron Yawn. This is a fine little book written by three TMS grads. Each author covers in a chapter a variety of topics that would be considered “controversial” or misunderstood. For example the doctrine of sin, free will, demons, discerning the will of God, and homosexuality in today’s culture. The book is written with the laymen in mind and is accessible for any believer, especially new Christians. Would be a great gift to someone you know who has just come to Christ.
The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism and The Altar to the Unknown Love – Michael Beasley. These are both ebooks written by TMS grad and pastor Michael Beasley. The first one deals extensively with the so-called fallible prophecy doctrine that is promoted by charismatic Calvinists like Wayne Grudem. The book is an excellent treatment of the subject, and pastor Beasley shows how it is a false doctrine built upon the redefinition of the biblical subject of prophecy, as well as a reinterpretation of the passages in the NT that highlight prophecy. He spends a considerable amount of time interacting with Grudem’s “exegesis” seeing that he is the most prominent instigator of the fallible prophecy doctrine.
The second book is a study and refutation of Rob Bell’s new age universalism that he promoted in his book “Love Wins.” But what makes this book more interesting is Beasley showing how Bell’s “theology” is also found in the writings of C.S. Lewis, and evangelicals who were rightly critical of Bell ignorantly promote Lewis who taught practically the same thing.
This year I have been studying through the book of 1 Corinthians with my volunteers at Grace to You. I using a few good commentaries, including the Pillar edition by Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner, the Baker edition by David Garland, Gordon Fee’s study, John MacArthur’s study, Charles Hodge’s, and Bruce Winter’s book, “After Paul Left Corinth.” All of them are good, but I am particularly encouraged by Garland’s and return to it primarily. Winter’s book is valuable for historical background material.
Lastly, I also plan a study of Leviticus after I finish with Corinthians later this year. I am currently reading the introductory material to two commentaries one by Allen Ross, “Holiness Unto the Lord,” and Mark Rooker’s NAC commentary. Both have been great and I’ll probably have more to say at the end of 2015.