New theology titles keep pouring from the presses, and it is hard to keep up with everything that is out there. A few months ago I offered a list of 23 newish books on theology that I was reading. That resulted in some interest from at least a small group of folks.
My earlier list can be found here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2018/06/08/so-what-are-you-reading-now/
This selection of titles is similar: it features books on theology, biblical studies, church history, apologetics, ethics, ecclesiology and Christian biography. So it is a bit of a mix, but hopefully most believers interested in new Christian books will find some volumes here that are worth looking at.
Abernethy, Andrew, The Book of Isaiah and God’s Kingdom. Apollos/IVP, 2018.
The Wheaton College Old Testament professor looks at the major themes and emphases of this important prophetic book. He deals in detail with such topics as Isaiah’s calling and the holiness of God; the nations and divine judgment; and the Servant of the Lord passages. A solid theological resource on a key OT book.
Barrett, Matthew, 40 Questions About Salvation. Kregel, 2018.
In some 350 pages the American seminary theology professor offers us a very detailed and thorough look at all aspects of salvation. Writing from a Reformed perspective, he looks at numerous aspects: sin and depravity, calling and the new birth, adoption and union with Christ, and justification, sanctification and glorification. A helpful and comprehensive treatment.
Busenitz. Nathan, Long Before Luther. Moody, 2017.
It is often claimed that the Reformers brought all sorts of novel and unique teachings into the church. Not so says theology professor Busenitz. He looks at one of the main theological emphases – justification by faith – and finds it had been held by many within Christendom, including Origin, Augustine and Anselm. A helpful work in historical theology.
Cann, Gil, Red Alert: Does the Future Have a Church? Albatross Books, 2018.
I need a few Australian authors here (see also Coulson), so this important volume by a long-term pastor is well worth including. He calls us to rethink the way we do church, reminding us that plenty of tradition has gotten in the way of the evangelical church, blotting out clear biblical themes, such as the importance of the laity and their involvement. Too much top-down clergy-driven Christianity exists, where a few on stage do everything while the masses just sit quietly and passively in the pews. For the church to survive it must spurn these traditions and start recovering its biblical basis.
Carson, D. A. and Kathleen Nielson, eds., Resurrection Life in a World of Suffering: 1 Peter. Crossway, 2018.
The five chapters of 1 Peter all discuss the issue of suffering. In this collection of essays a number of experts look at what Peter seeks to tell us about this important theme. Authors include Nielson, Carson and John Piper. A short but useful look at this topic, from papers delivered at a 2016 conference.
Coulson, John, The Righteous Judgment of God: Aspects of Judgment in Paul’s Letters. Wipf & Stock, 2016.
The topic of judgment, and related biblical themes, such as the wrath of God and the fate of the unbelievers, do not receive much attention in today’s church. Yet Scripture everywhere speaks to these issues. The Brisbane theology lecturer does a good job on this, first looking at judgment in the Old Testament and in the teachings of Jesus, before thoroughly examining Paul and his letters. He offers three main focuses: judgment at the cross, God’s temporal judgment, and future divine judgment.
Evans, Mary, Judges and Ruth. IVP, 2017.
The Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series has long been a solid, mid-level set of commentaries. These affordable paperbacks coming from a conservative point of view have been around for decades, and a number of replacement volumes have been issued of late. This one, by a longstanding Old Testament lecturer, replaces the 1968 volume by Cundall and Morris. A very helpful, well-written and theologically satisfying commentary.
Feinberg, John, Light in a Dark Place: The Doctrine of Scripture. Crossway, 2018.
This is the seventh and latest volume in the excellent Foundations of Evangelical Theology series. These are all large and comprehensive volumes examining key biblical themes. This one offers us everything we need to know about Scripture and its importance. Topics covered include: revelation, inspiration, inerrancy, canonisation and much more. While a bit expensive (it is 800 pages long after all) it is well worth getting.
Ferdinando, Keith, The Message of Spiritual Warfare. IVP, 2016.
The 20 or so volumes in this series are all well worth getting. This, one of the newest volumes to appear, is equally useful and important. Every aspect of the topic is given careful coverage, such as Satan and the Fall, Jesus and demons, and Christians and their spiritual enemy. Along the way various difficult questions such as whether the believer can have demons are discussed, and plenty of biblical material is covered. A very good book on an often-neglected topic.
Ferguson, Sinclair, Devoted To God. Banner of Truth, 2016.
It is true to say that one is always in capable hands when reading something by Ferguson. His books are always solid, fully biblical, and theologically astute. In this book he spends nearly 300 pages discussing the important doctrine of sanctification. As usual, he covers plenty of ground, looking at holiness, the place of the law, mortification, the relation to justification, the role of grace, and so much more. A very helpful work indeed.
Garland, Paul, 1 Corinthians. Zondervan, 2018.
The Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series has been out for only a decade (and its Old Testament counterpart only five years), but it is becoming a top-notch conservative and evangelical commentary series. The latest to appear is Garland’s 800-page treatment of Paul’s important letter to the Corinthians. A very thorough, judicious and careful treatment, well worth the somewhat hefty price tag.
Hall, Christopher, Living Wisely with the Church Fathers. IVP, 2017.
This is the newest volume in a series of four books so far produced on the church fathers. The first three were on reading Scripture, doing theology, and worshipping God. This one looks at ethics, and how the early church fathers dealt with a range of moral and ethical matters. How should believers live their lives in a hostile environment? The fathers wrote much about this, and their wisdom is here very helpfully presented to modern-day Christians.
Hunter, Trent and Stephen Wellum, Christ from Beginning to End. Zondervan, 2018.
Despite the Bible being comprised of 66 different books, it is really one book with one story. And that story is centred on one person: Jesus Christ. From creation to new creation, everything points to Jesus. In this comprehensive overview of the biblical story, from Adam and the patriarchs, through the monarchy and prophets, through the church age and beyond, the authors give us a helpful look at the overriding theme of Scripture.
Jones, Mark, Knowing Christ. Banner of Truth, 2015.
In the spirit of the now classic Knowing God by J. I. Packer, this volume looks at all aspects of the person and work of Christ. In an easy to read yet comprehensive 250 pages he looks at all the basic teachings about Christ, with a special emphasis on the Puritans’ understanding of, and emphasis on, the topic. A solid and thorough presentation.
Kaiser, Walter, Tough Questions About God and His Actions in the Old Testament. Kregel, 2015.
The Old Testament contains a number of episodes and actions which some see as problematic – morally and otherwise. How can God and his ways be justified in the light of these matters? Here the veteran OT scholar looks at a number of thorny issues found in the Hebrew Bible, including the issue of the taking of Canaan, polygamy, the place of Satan, the role of women, and the nature of biblical law. A brief but quite useful look at some of these puzzling issues.
Kimble, Jeremy, 40 Questions About Church Membership and Discipline. Kregel, 2017.
As mentioned above with the Barrett book, there are a number of helpful volumes now out in this series. This one of course deals with all aspects of church life: what is the church; what church membership is all about; church discipline – when it should be administered, and how, and by whom; and related issues. In an age where neither membership nor discipline is practiced very much, this is a quite helpful look at what Scripture teaches on these matters.
MacArthur, John, The Gospel According to God. Crossway, 2018.
Isaiah 53 – or more accurately Is. 52:13-53:12 – is one of the great chapters in all of the Old Testament – indeed, in all of the Bible. This chapter on the suffering servant is vitally important to both Testaments. Here the veteran preacher takes us into a careful theological and practical exposition of this great biblical theme. A very helpful look at these essential prophetic words and their realisation in Christ.
Meyer, Jason, Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life. Crossway, 2018.
This is a fantastic newish series, with 15 books available so far. I presume more volumes will be forthcoming. One can never get enough of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, so this book is very welcome indeed, looking at a number of issues: the importance of keeping life and doctrine together; the place of Scripture; the work of the Holy Spirit; and understanding spiritual depression. Meyer knows his subject well, and this is a must read if you are a fan of “The Doctor”.
Murray Iain, J. C. Ryle: Prepared to Stand Alone. Banner of Truth, 2016.
Iain Murray has written a number of important Christian biographies over the years (eg., on Lloyd-Jones, Spurgeon, Edwards, etc). Here in nearly 300 pages he provides an in-depth look at the life, ministry and writings of the great English evangelical Anglican bishop of the nineteenth century. As always, first-rate work from Murray.
Reeves, Michael, Spurgeon on the Christian Life. Crossway, 2018.
As already mentioned, this is a superb series, with volumes on so many great saints such as Augustine, Luther, Newton, Wesley, Warfield, Bonhoeffer, Schaeffer, and Lewis. Reeves does an excellent job of looking at what Spurgeon believed and taught on the Christian life, including the new birth, sanctification, and the issue of suffering and depression.
Strachan, Owen and Douglas Sweeney, The Essential Jonathan Edwards. Moody, 2018.
Edwards was one of America’s most important theologians, philosophers and pastors. This work is largely based on their 2010 five-volume set, The Essential Edwards Collection. It covers plenty of territory, from in-depth studies on his life and ministry to learned overviews of his many writings. No fan of Edwards will want to be without this excellent volume.
Strobel, Lee, The Case For Miracles. Zondervan, 2018.
The former atheist turned Christian apologist has written a number of books making the case for the Christian faith. His first volume in the irregular series, The Case for Christ (1998), is still an important and best-selling resource in Christian apologetics. This volume continues in that tradition, and features interviews with various experts including Craig Keener, Doug Groothuis, and J. Warner Wallace.
Warrington, Keith, The Miracles in the Gospels. SPCK, 2015.
The miracles make up some 20 per cent of the gospel narratives. Every miracle of Jesus found in the gospels – be they healings, exorcisms, etc – are carefully covered here in great detail. In a thorough and systematic fashion he discusses these many miracles, reminding us that their main purpose and function was to point us to Jesus, his mission, and his authority. A very useful volume.
Happy reading and learning.
(Australians can find most of these books at Koorong: https://www.koorong.com/ )