Books I Heard and Read in 2021

My blogging has reduced to a trickle. I just don’t have the time like I used to when I began my blog nearly 17 years ago. Occasionally, I become stirred in my spirit over some issue and I can pound out an article in a couple of hours if not less. I can say, however, that even though I am hardly blogging, at least my actual blog is still active. That’s something I suppose.

I did make a commitment (because I have a smidgen of down time during and in between holidays) to catalog the books I either heard in audio format or read. I like to provide recommendations for fellow friends and other readers.

Books I heard

Striking Back – Aaron J Klein. A brief history of the terrorist attacks against Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and how Israel hunted down all the terrorists and wiped them out. The book provides an interesting background to the development of Mossad and Israeli spy craft.

Norco 80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History – Peter Houlahan. The retelling of the worst, poorly conceived bank robbery ever. Attempted by a group of 5 men, two of them former members of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa who had become end-time survivalists. They were heavily armed with machine guns and the pursuit by law enforcement resulted in 30 patrol cars damaged, a police helicopter damaged, numerous houses and businesses damaged, and one officer killed.

Intellectuals and Society – Thomas Sowell. I am hoping to read more Thomas Sowell in the years to come. I prefer listening to audio books; but sadly, our local library system only has this book available in audio. It was an overview of how intellectual, liberal elites think they know better than everyone else how to live their lives and make a society.

The Political Incorrect Guide to American History – Thomas E. Woods. This is a short history of America. Published by the fine folks at the Political Incorrect Guide group who have produced some wonderful titles over the years. The one on the Vietnam War is worth getting, as well. The authors and the books are always described by reviewers as “controversial” which means they are right with their views of historical reality.

How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe – Thomas Cahill. A history of Ireland and the unique place of the Irish people, not only in Europe and the US, but throughout the world. They had one of the first libraries that copied and preserved important manuscripts from antiquity. The background to St. Patrick was especially well done and I would recommend the book just for those couple of chapters or so detailing his life and influence.

Books I Read

Leviathan Awakes and Caliban’s War – James S. A. Corey. I have enjoyed watching The Expanse series on Amazon Prime, so I thought I would read the novels, that of course are much better. I was able to work my way through the first two. The author’s name is a pen name for two authors who wrote the series. The stories take place 300 years or so into the future. Humankind has colonized the solar system, but instead of Star Trek ships that go 6 times the speed of light and alien cultures everywhere, it is just people who have normal ships that go fast, but it takes time to get from point A to point B. Mars is an independent planet, no longer associated with Earth, and miner clans colonize the asteroid belt. The tense situations between all the groups explode when an alien molecule is discovered on one of Jupiter’s moons and a mysterious corporation begins to weaponize it.

Holiness Unto the Lord – Allan P. Ross, Leviticus – Mark Rooker, Lectures on Leviticus – Joseph Seiss. I taught through the book of Leviticus with my volunteers this past year and those three books were extremely helpful in my preparation.

The Failure of Natural Theology: A Critical Appraisal of the Philosophical Theology of Thomas Aquinas – Jeffrey Johnson. The book is a bit heady, and readers uninitiated with Aquinas and the issues pertaining to his natural theology may find it a tad daunting; but overall, pastor Johnson does a fantastic job laying out the case against Aquinas’s “baptism” of Aristotle as a filter through which we do theology. The neo-Thomists on social media have been whining about this book for a number of weeks, calling pastor Johnson to repent for writing it, so you know it is worth the time.

The Old in the New: Understanding How the New Testament Authors Quoted the Old Testament – Michael Vlach. An excellent survey of how the New Testament writers quoted from, and used, the Old Testament in their writings to the church. Vlach works through the major passages like Matthew 2:15, Galatians 3:16, and others that are referenced as proof the NT writers re-wrote or poured new meaning into what the OT writers stated. An excellent resource to have on hand as a rejoinder to Reformed folks who insist the Bible is one big picture book that is read according to types.

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization – Arthur Herman. I am currently working on writing my various blog articles on apologetics, evangelism, and apologetic methodology, into a book. I have returned to re-reading works I haven’t visited in some years. In my research, I heard a podcast on which one of the hosts mentioned how great this book was. I found it for cheap and began reading through it and it truly is a fantastic work. Herman chronicles the lives and philosophical worldviews of Plato and Aristotle and their lasting impact on western society, especially (and regrettably to a degree) the Christian church all the way up to the Reformation. The book is informative and entertaining to read. If you want to see how Greek philosophy had such an influence on Christian theology, it is worth the time reading.

From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology – Andrew Steinmann. Without a doubt this is the best book I read all year. Not only was it informative and a joy to read, it is an important work for apologetics. The Bible is a historical book. The events recorded within it’s pages really happened in time and space. And because the Bible records real, historical events, the Bible also records time markers by reference to other historical events taking place at the same time those written down in the Bible happened. That is also the importance of genealogical lists found throughout Scripture. Those time markers provide key, chronological dates that establish the historicity of the events in Scripture.

Steinmann works his way from the life of Abraham, establishing key, historical benchmarks that anchor the events in Scripture into history. He works his way forward to Christ and the ministry of Paul that ends in Acts 28. The study he provides on the life of Christ is one of the big reasons to have this book. Though it is a bit pricey (around forty dollars or more), the book is a valuable edition to your library.