It is time for another of these irregular roundups of books that I didn’t review. It’s not that these are bad books or ones I purposely chose not to read and review. It’s just that, life being what it is, I cannot read them all. So here are a few that I wish I could have read but which I just did not have time for.
Welcome to a Reformed Church: A Guide for Pilgrims – Daniel Hyde seeks to explain what Reformed churches believe and why they structure life and worship as they do. Written for laymen rather than scholars, the book sketches the roots of these churches, looks at their basis in Scripture and confession, examines their key beliefs and shows how these beliefs work themselves out in practice. Written by a pastor from the URC and endorsed by quite a long list of Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed pastors and professors, the book is clearly tipped toward Presbyterianism and away from Reformed Baptists. Nevertheless, there is a lot to glean from it for those in either camp.
Introducing the New Testament – Based on the textbook written by D.A. Carson and Douglas Moo, this is a simple reference guide geared primarily towards laymen. It essentially introduces each of the books of the New Testament, answering questions about theme, authorship and its contribution to our faith. It is a faithful condensation of the larger book it’s based on.
A Sweet & Bitter Providence – I have grown accustomed to reading every new John Piper book, but I’ve had to let this one go. In A Sweet & Bitter Providence Piper examines the book of Ruth and looks at its relevant, unchanging themes along with its “dangerous ability” to inspire twenty-first-century readers in the cause of love.
Holy Subversion – Trevin Wax writes about “Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals.” He challenges Christians to stop privatizing their faith and begin undermining the cultural “Caesars” of our time by reclaiming the early church’s radical proclamation: “Jesus is Lord.”
The Trials of Theology: A Reader – Edited by Andrew Cameron and Brian Rosner, this book includes essay from voices past (Spurgeon, Warfield, Lewis, etc) and voices present (Woodhouse, Carson, Trueman, etc). The book helps students of theology navigate the trials of faith that can come while studying theology. John Piper says “Without the ‘trials of theology’ we remain on the surface of the statutes of God. May the Spirit of truth make this book a means of true thinking about God, deep affections for God, and beautiful obedience to God, through Jesus Christ who is God.”
Francis Schaeffer: A Mind and Heart for God – With chapters contributed by Udo Middleman, Jerram Barrs, Ranald Macaulay and Dick Keyes, this book is drawn from the first conference dedicated to the work of Schaeffer and to his continuing influence in the world and the church. The book suggests that Schaeffer’s word to the Christian church is as relevant today (perhaps even more so) than it was in his day.
My God Is True – In this book pastor Paul Wolfe chronicles his fight with cancer and tells of all that he learned through it. Primarily he points to God’s faithfulness in and through the battle. He also encourages the reader to find reason to rejoice and worship even through the darkest times.
The Shepherd Leader – This book by Timothy Witmer has generated a fair bit of buzz. Witmer “strives to bring the importance of shepherding to the forefront of our thinking about what church leaders should do and, therefore, what they should be. Too many church leaders perceive of themselves as a ‘board of directors’ when the Bible is clear that they are to know, feed, lead, and protect the flock entrusted to their care.” Books related to leadership and church polity are especially timely, I think, during this time when many Christians are embracing Reformed theology. It is important that good theology be followed and supported by good polity and faithful shepherding.
Jonathan Edwards and the Ministry of the Word – “In this biography of the great preacher and teacher, historian Douglas Sweeney locates for us the core and key to Edwards enduring impact. Sweeney finds that Edwards’ profound and meticulous study of the Bible securely anchored his powerful preaching, his lively theological passions and his discerning pastoral work. Beyond introducing you to Edwards’ life and times, this book will provide you with a model of Christian faith, thought and ministry.”