My yearly review of all the books I either heard on audio or read via print or ebook. Reviews for previous years can be located HERE.
Audio Books I Heard
The Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism – Michael Morrell
Morrell is the former deputy director of the CIA. The book tells his life story of how he was recruited into the CIA, how he worked his way up through the ranks to eventually become the daily CIA briefer for George W. Bush. The book really picks up when he gives his eye-witness recounting of the events of 9/11 and the decade long manhunt for Bin Laden that ended in his eventual killing. That section of his book was fascinating. Where I thought the book began to go off the rails is the latter portion. There he attempts to defend Hillary Clinton and President Obama’s incompetent handling of the Benghazi attacks.
This book tells the story about the San Jose mine collapse in August 2010 down in Chile. I remember being riveted to the news when it was discovered the men were still alive and the subsequent attempt to rescue them. The author does a great job of detailing the individual lives of each of the 33 miners. In fact, it was so detailed that the flow of the story got bogged down a bit with the human interest angle. He even goes into the personal background of all the Chilean government officials and special operators who led the rescue efforts. It wasn’t until the 8th hour of listening that I finally got to the rescuers breaking through to the miners and the book focusing on keeping the miners alive and getting them out.
The Wright Brothers – David McCullough
This book started out a bit slow. The first disk was a dry, biographical sketch introducing us to Orville and Wilbur, their sister, and parents. I suppose it was necessary to set the story up. But once I made it past that section, the book picks up pace as McCullough recounts the experimentation the brothers went through to build a working glider, then an engine propelled glider, and their eventual triumph becoming the first men to ever successfully fly a working airplane.
Normal Books I Read
I actually read more books this year than I heard.
History of Western Philosophy and Theology – John Frame
An outstanding and well done overview of the key philosophers and theologians, beginning with the ancient Greeks and moving through to early Christian apologists, Medieval theologians, the major Reformers, Renaissance philosophers, Enlightenment era skeptics, and modern era philosophers like Bertrand Russell. Frame provides a brief biographical sketch of all the thinkers, what it was they taught, and offers a biblical critique. I’d highly recommend this book as a solid reference work. I was thankful I picked this up the first of the year when P&R publishers was offering it on sale through Westminster books.
I heard Ferguson lecture on this topic a number of years ago, so I was glad to see his material written up into book format. The topic of the extent of law-keeping and Christian liberty has always been a struggle for believers to work through. Ferguson frames his study around the events of the Marrow Controversy that took place in Scotland in the early 1700s. The controversy is still relevant for us today as Christians need to have a working understanding of Christ’s liberty and how the law of God should shape our faith given to us freely by grace.
17 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be on September 22nd, 2017 – No Man Knoweth
Title and author is fairly straight forward what this book is about. See my fuller review HERE.
The 10 Myths of Teen Dating – Daniel Anderson, with his daughter Jacquelyn Anderson
I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing. The primary focus of the two authors is to help teen girls specifically navigate the perils of teen dating and how if they do it stupidly, their choices will wreck their futures. The book was a big disappointment as I explain in a fuller review HERE.
Pastor Jim Osman works through all the false teaching on spiritual warfare from charismatics and provides a thorough rebuttal. He evaluates the concepts of praying hedges, binding the devil, and generational curses, while at the same time presenting a biblical perspective on how Christians should think about spiritual warfare. See my fuller review HERE.
Evangelical White Lies – Mike Abendroth
My good pal Mike has written a splendid little book that addresses a number of bad teachings that have appeared throughout the years in evangelical churches. The book is short, to the point, and would even be a worthy of a men’s Bible study. See my fuller review HERE.
One of the cool things about Logos, or any Bible software program I would imagine, is the app gives me access to my Logos library on my tablet and phone. It is kind of neat to be standing in line waiting to board the Matterhorn at Disney Land and being able to search all my commentaries on the pastorals. Maybe folks have been aware of this wonderful tech for years, but I just discovered that beautiful feature and it is like aliens have landed. My entire reading habits have been expanded and transformed. Along with reading the commentaries I have for 2 Timothy when I prepare my sermons for my volunteers, I have been reading other books in my library.
Heretics for Armchair Theologians – Justo and Catherine Gonzalez
A brief study on all the main heresies that have popped up ever since the first century to trouble the church. He covers Marcion, Montanism, Donatists, Pelagius, and Arianism to name a few. I would recommend this as a handy introductory work for new Christians who have never been exposed to church history.
The Expectant Prophet: Habakkuk Simply Explained – John Currid
I have the Welwyn Commentary series on Logos and they have published some short, but well written commentaries on a number of OT books. I found that they have a large collection of the minor prophets. My goal is to read through the titles covering the minor prophets because my knowledge of those books is lacking. I like Currid’s work, so I started with Habakkuk, which I found to be an encouraging devotional study of that short little book. I plan to do Zephaniah next.
I am currently reading three books that I was unable to finish before the years end, so they will be on the 2017 book review post next year. I have liked them so much I did want to briefly mention them.
First is Matt Waymeyer’s, Amillennialism and the Age to Come: A Premillennial Critique of the Two-Age Model. It is his dissertation work from TMS and is an excellent treatment critiquing the most recent of Amillennial authors like Sam Storms, Kim Riddlebarger, and NCT advocate, Dean Davis. He not only offers a rebuttal to amillennial arguments against premillennialism, but his primary focus is to show clearly the biblical teaching of an intermediary, earthly kingdom.
Next is Richard Heitzenrater’s biographical study on John Wesley, Wesley and the People Called Methodists. I have a friend who graduated from a Wesleyan college and he recommended it because it is one of the better biographies that is not ashamed to mention Wesley’s theological errors and other personal foibles. I am not a fan of Wesley and I believe his false doctrines he promulgated during his life, and that were picked up by his ardent followers, are the seed of a lot of theological ills in the modern church.
Next is Jason Lisle’s book, Understanding Genesis: How to Analysis, Interpret, and Defend Scripture. The book talks about reading Genesis, but the bulk of Lisle’s study deals with the hermeneutics of reading Scripture and applying what you read. I would highly recommend this book for both new and seasoned believers. We can never get enough teaching about studying the Bible accurately and correctly.