I love the top ten lists of books that men put up at the end of each year. I scour the internet looking for new books to purchase in the coming year. This year I decided to put my own list out there. These are books I read in 2014, not books published in 2014. The first three all had major impact on me. They are books that I keep coming back to and have changed my thinking. In the spirit of II Samuel 23:13, these are top three. After number 3 they are in no particular order.
1. Reformed Dogmatics: Volume I by Herman Bavinck-A tour de force of theology, history, research, exegesis, and piety. His section on God’s Word is the best I have ever read. Occasionally, I go back and read that portion of the book. Volume II is on my Christmas list.
2. Man and Woman in Christ by Stephen B. Clark- The best work on male/female roles that I have ever read. Careful with the Scriptural text. Careful with extra-biblical data. He does not scream, but he does skillfully cut like a surgeon. He interacts with all the feminist dogma. It is long, but worth the read for those interested in the subject.
3. Sex, Marriage, and Family in John Calvin’s Geneva: Vol I-Courtship, Engagement, and Marriage by John Witte Jr. and Robert Kingdon-If you want a close up look at how a leading reformer and his city ordered married life this is your book. Since this topic is perpetually relevant this book is as well. Kingdon is dead, but I just learned that Witte is continuing the project, which is very exciting for a history/Calvin nerd like me.
4. Parenting by God’s Promises by Joel Beeke-A wonderful blend of paedo-baptist surety with Puritan piety. Few parents will agree with everything, but every parent could use this book. His section on teenagers was excellent.
5. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand-There is not much to say about this book that has not already been said. A great book about a great story about a great man.
6. What’s Best Next by Matt Perlman-An excellent book on the why and how of Christian productivity. Almost any Christian in any setting can take these principles and use them to bring glory to Christ.
7. Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear to Tread by Carl Trueman-Trueman is a grumpy, old man. That is why I like him. He does not care what people think. I do not always agree with him, but the essays in this book were superb. “Pro-choice not Pro Options” and “The Freudom of the Christian” were two of my favorites.
8. Against the Church by Douglas Wilson-What I have always loved about Pastor Wilson is that he preaches to his people. Those who follow him, learn from him, love him, and listen to him will often find themselves being rebuked and challenged by him. This book is a pastoral warning to those who follow him that faith is always necessary.
9. Fundamentalism and the Word of God by J.I. Packer– A wonderful knock down of liberal theology and her arguments against the Scriptures as God’s inerrant and inspired word. Many arguments Packer refutes are still in circulation.
10. Abortion by R.C. Sproul-A careful look at the abortion issue that targets those who are on the fence. Sproul is a great reformed thinker and a man whose presence in the Christian world will be missed.
Bonus Pick: Job Through New Eyes: A Son for Glory by Toby Sumpter-I have not finished this book yet, but I will by the end of this week. It is marvelous. Pastor Sumpter’s writing is unique and lively. His commentary on Job brings numerous theological themes found in Scripture to bear upon the text of Job. From creation to Adam to Abraham to Solomon to Jesus, Toby weaves them all together to help us understand what is happening in a book that most of us do not get. It is a great book and one I highly recommend.
Preview of 2015, Lord Willing
Here is what I have on my reading list for 2015.
I am reading through Calvin’s Institutes again.
I also plan on reading Francis Turretin’s first volume of his Institutes of Elenctic Theology.
I have never read Luther’s Three Treatises, which I would like to get to this year.
I will finish Fred Sanders’ The Deep Things of God, which I have greatly enjoyed.
On the history side I plan on reading Karen Spierling’s Infant Baptism in Reformation Geneva, Bratt’s Abraham Kuyper, Ann Douglas’ The Feminization of American Culture, Intellectuals by Paul Johnson, and Morris’s The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. If I can I would like to start William Manchester’s trilogy on Churchill.
And I will continue to study things like preaching, sacraments, sodomy, male/female roles, government, creation, vocation, and family.
Are there any books you would recommend I put on the list for 2015?