Recommended Reading for the Christmas Break

With the Christmas holidays coming up, there is a bit of spare time for the good things in life, such as reading. But as is perennially the case, there is so much to read, and so little time. So for those who do want to get into some good reading, but are wondering where to turn, let me suggest some volumes which I have found to be very important.

I divide this list into two sections: religious and non-religious titles. The first section features a number of valuable new volumes on theology, apologetics, biblical studies, commentaries, and Christian living. The second section mainly features new titles offering a conservative take on politics, economics and social issues.

Listed then in no particular order are 25 new books which you may want to grab for your holiday reading. Enjoy.

Christian titles

D.A. Carson, Collected Writings on Scripture. Crossway, 2010. Here some 30 years of writing on the vital area of Scripture are brought together in one volume. A number of key issues are addressed in this important volume.

Grant Osborne, Matthew (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Zondervan, 2010. This 1200-page commentary may be the pick of the lot from the new ZECNT series. Also available so far are Blomberg on James, Schreiner on Galatians, and Arnold on Ephesians.

Image of Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom
Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom by Leithart, Peter J. (Author) Amazon logo

Peter Leithart, Defending Constantine. IVP, 2010. It has become quite fashionable to bag Constantine and claim his activities led to the downfall of Christianity. Leithart dares to differ in this important historical and theological work.

Fred Sanders, The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything. Crossway, 2010. This is not just another theology of the trinity, but a far reaching exploration of how this vital doctrine impacts every aspect of the Christian life and worldview.

John Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God. P&R Publishing, 2010. This is the fourth important volume in Frame’s very worthwhile contribution to systematic theology. At 700 pages this is a substantial discussion of the topic.

Sam Storms and Justin Taylor, eds, For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper. Crossway, 2010. John Piper is a leading American pastor and thinker. His life is here celebrated in 27 essays by D.A. Carson, Albert Mohler, Thomas Schreiner, Wayne Grudem and others.

Mary Eberstadt, The Loser Letters. Ignatius, 2010. Writing in the spirit of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, the social commentator here takes on Dawkins, Hitchens, and the New Atheism.

Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians (Pillar New Testament Commentary). Eerdmans, 2010. This latest volume in the Pillar series is very important indeed. The 1000-page commentary is a welcome addition to conservative/evangelical works on this epistle.

James Hamilton, God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology. Crossway, 2010. In this very important and substantial volume (over 600 pages) Hamilton offers a work of biblical theology in which God is glorified through both his judgment and his mercy.

Michael Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. IVP, 2010. In over 700 pages the case for the resurrection of Jesus is carefully and thoroughly laid out by this historical scholar.

Robert Plummer, 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible. Kregel, 2010. This is part of a new series of books, “40 Questions About…”. Other titles are on biblical law, worship, election and atonement, the end times, and other topics.

C.E. Hill, Who Chose the Gospels? Oxford University Press, 2010. There are many claims and counterclaims about the gospels, canonisation, and various non-canonical gospels. Hill does a great job examining the evidence.

William Lane Craig, On Guard. David C Cook, 2010. In this helpful volume the veteran Christian apologist offers a training manual for those seeking to defend the faith and disarm critics.

D.A. Carson, The God Who is There. Baker, 2010. The biblical storyline and how it impacts on the life of the believer is here very nicely unpacked and expounded.

Trevin Wax, Holy Subversion. Crossway, 2010. A prophetic call to reject the idols of our age and put Christ first in every area of life. A clarion call to a countercultural lifestyle.

Non-Christian titles

Paul Kengor, Dupes. ISI Books, 2010. Kengor documents how Western leftists of all stripes have been duped and used by Communists for nearly a century.

Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics, 4th ed. Basic Books, 2010. First penned in 2001, this classic work gets better with every new edition. Sowell is a leading American free market economist and conservative thinker. A classic text in economics.

Benjamin Wiker, 10 Books Every Conservative Should Read. Regnery, 2010. Time-honoured conservative writings are here profiled, with authors ranging from Aristotle to Chesterton, and Shakespeare to Hayek.

Jay Richards, Money, Greed, and God. HarperOne, 2009. Contrary to the claims of the religious left, a solid biblical case can be made for the free market.

Adam Bellow, ed., New Threats to Freedom. Templeton Press, 2010. Some thirty authors look at various new threats to liberty around the world, and how they can be resisted.

Thomas Sowell, Dismantling America. Basic Books, 2010. The noted writer and thinker here offers a collection of some of his recent columns on social, legal, political and economic issues.

Andrew McCarthy, The Grand Jihad. Encounter Books, 2010. Careful documentation of how Islamists and Western leftists are working together to undermine America and the West.

S.E. Cupp, Losing Our Religion. Threshold Editions, 2010. Cupp is an atheist, but she sees clearly that Christian freedoms are being whittled away in America.

Gail Dines, Pornland. Beacon Press, 2010. The American sociology professor here tackles the pornification of culture, documenting its very real negative effects.

Oleg Atbashian, Shakedown Socialism. Greenleaf Press, 2010. The Soviet emigrant to the US writes with passion and wit about the staggering shortcomings of socialism, both past and present.

(For Australian shoppers, most of the Christian titles can be found at Koorong Books.)

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17 Replies to “Recommended Reading for the Christmas Break”

  1. Just finished “The Rage Against God” by Peter Hitchens brother to Christopher the renown atheist. Its his story of “How Atheism led him to faith” worth adding to the list in my opinion.
    Jim Garlick

  2. Thanks Damien

    I just ordered it from the US about 5 hours ago! So I will do a review of it when it arrives. It looks very important indeed.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  3. Hi Bill

    I just started to read the City of God by St. Augustine.

    It will take a while as it has over a 1000 pages, but it is good reading.

    Anne van Tilburg

  4. Hi Bill, may I humbly suggest another book that people may find worthwhile?

    Gregory Lockwood, 1 Corinthians, Concordia Popular Commentary, Concordia Publishing House, 2010.

    Dr Lockwood is a fine confessional Lutheran scholar who takes his stand on the inerrant Word of God. This book is a ‘laymans’ version of a more academic commentary he wrote for the Concordia Commentary Series in 2000.

    David Vivian

  5. I think you chose a better text Anne! I’m trying to plough my way through Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas… Hmmm

    Blessings
    Adam Elovalis

  6. Thanks Adam

    Hey, both are absolutely crucial and essential works which are the foundation not only of Christian theology but Western philosophy. Simply to read these two masterworks would easily offset a thousand works of bubblegum theology today. Much of what passes for Christian reading today is barely worth the price of the paper it is printed on. So well done Anne and Adam for wading through some of the great classics of Christian literature and thought.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  7. Thanks Damien

    He is an important figure, but I am afraid I only have his autobiographical Apologia Pro Vita Sua. And given that he is as noted for his conversion out of Evangelicalism into Catholicism as anything else, we may leave it at that, lest we unduly provoke another round of sectarian bickering here!

    And bear in mind of course that this list is a recommendation of new books. Indeed, 24 of the 25 books were published this year. If I did a list of recommended reading for books going back two millennia, this would be a much different (and longer) list!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  8. Thanks Bill and Adam

    I did start The Summa Theologica but got a bit lost on the First Cause, second cause etc. Will try again though, maybe St. Augustine might make it a bit clearer.

    Anne van Tilburg

  9. Thanks Anne

    Neither one are lightweights. You are doing well to even make the attempt. Most believers today would not even try, and would flounder very early on if they did.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  10. Anne

    Can I recommend Ed Feser’s book Aquinas? He is unusually clear in many of his explanations and no different in this case. Steve Burton describes it:

    ‘For Aristotle & Aquinas, Edward Feser here proves himself a reliable Vergil. Aspects of Aristotelian/Thomistic thought that once seemed to me like no more than antiquated curiosities suddenly come to life as real, philosophically defensible, options. In particular, Feser’s defense of the A/T conceptions of efficient & final causation, as against the Humean account that has ruled the roost for the last couple of centuries, is a real eye-opener.’

    Damien Spillane

  11. Thanks Damien

    Actually I just wrote an article where your comment would also nicely fit: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/12/13/historical-theology-a-bibliographic-essay/

    But yes Feser is an expert on both Aristotle and Aquinas, so for all Aquinas fans, anything by Feser is well worth while.

    And of course another quite helpful intro to the thought of Aquinas is Peter Kreeft’s A Summa of the Summa (Ignatius, 1990). And plenty of Protestant theologians and philosophers like him as well. See for example Norman Geisler, Thomas Aquinas: An Evangelical Appraisal (Baker, 1991).

    (In fact I have just now added some of this comment to that article – thanks for the tip.)

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  12. Thanks Bill and Damien

    Bill I will definitely get te book by Peter Kreeft “The Summa of the Summa”.

    Damien could you tell me where I can buy Ed Fester’s book “Aquinas”?

    Thanks Anne van Tilburg

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