As has been my occasional habit, I offer another list of recommended reading. The books mentioned here simply happen to be some of the volumes I am reading at the moment. The books cover various subjects, including theology, philosophy of religion, Islam, apologetics, and family issues. The bulk of these volumes are theological in nature, and reflect both my own tastes in reading, as well as my concern that we all need to become a bit more theologically literate.
The dozen books featured here are presented in no particular order of importance, although they do reflect a topical ordering. They reflect some of my interests, but might serve as helpful recommendations for those interested in similar topics. For those looking for a bit of holiday reading – or for any occasion – I offer my Christmas dozen. Happy reading!
Beale, G.K., We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry. IVP, 2008.
New Testament professor Greg Beale has penned an important theological treatise here. The biblical idea that idolaters tend to become like what they worship is here subject to a book-length exposition. This volume elaborates upon the biblical theme that “what you revere, you resemble, either for ruin or for restoration”. Psalm 115:8 for example says, “Those who make them [the idols] will become like them, everyone who trusts in them”.
Says Beale, “God has made humans to reflect him, but if they do not commit themselves to him, they will not reflect him but something else in creation. At the core of our beings we are imaging creatures. It is not possible to be neutral on this issue: we either reflect the Creator or something in creation.”
Beale, G.K., The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism. Crossway Books, 2008.
Another book by Beale on another important topic. A high view of Scripture regularly comes under attack, and Evangelicals, who have tended to pride themselves in their view of Scripture, have not been immune from weakening their stance. Beale looks at some recent Evangelical challenges to the concept of inerrancy (including a controversial 2005 volume by Peter Enns), and seeks to make the case for an accurate and reliable Scripture. It has been a while since such a defence has been made, and this volume deserves wide reading.
Berding, Kenneth, ed., Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Zondervan, 2007.
Another book dealing with the nature of Scripture is this informative volume. The last few decades have witnessed an explosion of interest in the complex and nuanced questions of how NT writers have made use of OT texts. Many related issues arise here, and much difference of opinion exists. Here three Evangelicals – Walter Kaiser, Darrell Bock, and Peter Enns – each offer their take on the topic, with the other two providing critiques. A stimulating and theologically rich discussion.
Witherington, Ben, The Living Word of God. Baker, 2007.
Witherington is one of our more prolific NT authors, and this volume is also on the topic of the Word of God. In it he offers some incisive and at times confronting opinions. But it certainly offers a strong defence of the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Given the influence of Enns, a full chapter in this book is devoted to his thinking as well.
Thoennes, K. Erik, Godly Jealousy: A Theology of Intolerant Love. Mentor, 2005.
This is another important theological study, dealing with an often ignored theme. The Bible clearly portrays God as a jealous God. It is a vital attribute of the Biblical God. But it tends to be ignored, downplayed, or misunderstood by many believers. Here Thoennes offers a careful, detailed biblical examination of the topic, and reminds us that as the Bride of Christ we too should share in this vital jealousy for God and his honour.
McDermott, Gerald, God’s Rivals: Why Has God Allowed Different Religions? IVP, 2007.
If the above volume touches on the subject of religious pluralism, this book is all about it. How should Christians think about other religions? How are we to understand such concepts as idolatry, religious dialogue, evangelism and mission, interfaith endeavours, and the spiritual powers? This volume looks carefully at such topics, while stressing the uniqueness of Christian truth claims.
Horton, Michael, Christless Christianity. Baker, 2008.
Horton is rightly concerned that for many American Christians another gospel has been latched on to. Various counterfeit gospels are inundating the Christian churches, such as self-esteem and therapy gospels, prosperity gospels, postmodernism, and so on. Aspects of the emerging church movement, the word of faith movement, and various Gnostic alternatives are all compared and contrasted with the NT Gospel of Jesus Christ. A challenging and confronting volume.
Garcia, Robert and Nathan King, eds., Is Goodness without God Good Enough? Rowman and Littlefield, 2009.
In this volume a number of important Christian apologists and atheist heavyweights debate the issue of God and goodness. A number of topics are debated, including secularism, ethics, faith and religion. Christian thinkers include William Lane Craig and Richard Swinburne, while atheist contenders include Paul Kurtz and Walter Sinnot-Armstrong. A revealing and thought-provoking set of essays.
Spencer, Robert, Stealth Jihad. Regnery, 2008.
Spencer is a leading American authority on Islam and jihad. He has written numerous books on the war the free West is in with militant Islam. In this volume he explores how Muslim activists in the US are accomplishing their goals without terror or weapons. He documents the steady inroads and relentless activism of Muslim radicals in America who are working overtime to see the nation come under the rule of Allah and sharia law. A disturbing and timely expose of the struggle we are in.
Parker, Kathleen, Save the Males. Random House, 2008.
For the past half century or so males have become a threatened species. On a number of fronts men are getting a raw deal. Feminism, easy divorce, homosexuality, the sexual revolution, affirmative action and various other factors have taken their toll on men and their significance. Parker argues that men are vitally important to families, to children, to women, and to society, and need a new champion. The case for the importance of men and fatherhood is nicely made here.
Wishart, Ian, Eve’s Bite. HATM, 2007.
Finally, two volumes by a New Zealand pro-family and pro-faith activist. Wishart is a respected journalist who has not bowed the knee to Political Correctness and leftist propaganda. Here he tackles all the big issues: media bias, atheism, the culture wars, eugenics, church and state issues, abortion and the war against the family, to name but a few. He is a courageous and well-researched advocate for the things that matter.
Wishart, Ian, The Divinity Code. HATM, 2007.
In this volume Wishart shows that he is not afraid to take on the big guns of the other side. Here he especially takes on the new atheists, the Darwinists, the humanists, and so on. He also offers a biblical apologetic, dealing with the tough questions such as the deity and uniqueness of Christ, the problem of evil, the possibility of miracles, the case for the resurrection, and the reliability of Scripture. It is good to see a tireless defender of the Gospel taking on the many challengers from New Zealand and beyond.