Even late in the year, we continue to see some excellent new books come our way. And, one way or another, most of them make their way to boxes on my front doorstep. I sort through all those books and try to distill them down to some of the most notable. Here are the ones that stood out to me this time around.
Systematic Theology by Robert Letham. “This comprehensive systematic theology by a respected theologian covers the whole field of Reformed Christian doctrine from biblical, historical, and theological angles. It seeks to provide a clear and concise articulation of the Reformed faith rooted in the historic creeds while addressing current issues such as feminism, charismatic gifts, sexual ethics, environmentalism, other religions, the nature of truth, and civil liberties. Intended to be used as a textbook, this single-volume systematic theology is well-suited for our world today, interacting not only with the biblical text but also with the history of Christian doctrine, current cultural challenges to the Bible’s teaching, and the daily experiences of regular Christians. ” (Buy it at Amazon)
The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship by Robert Letham. “Robert Letham’s award winning The Holy Trinity receives a well-considered update in a revised and expanded new edition. Letham examines the doctrine of the Trinity’s biblical foundations and traces its historical development before engaging critical issues. This new edition addresses developments in Augustine studies, teaching on the Trinity and election in Barth studies, East-West relations, and evangelical disputes on the relation of the Son to the Father. ” (Buy it at Amazon)
Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans by Robert Elmer. “For the Puritans, prayer was neither casual nor dull. Their prayers were passionate affairs, from earnestly pleading for mercy to joyful praise. These rich expressions of deep Christian faith are a shining example of holy living.The Puritan combination of warm piety and careful intellect have fueled a renaissance of interest in their movement. This combination is on display in Piercing Heaven, a collection of carefully selected prayers from leading Puritans. The language in these prayers has been slightly updated for a modern audience while still retaining the elevated tone of the Puritans. With prayers from Richard Baxter, Thomas Brooks, John Owen, and many more, each prayer reminds us that heartfelt prayer is central to the Christian life.” (Buy it at Amazon)
The Wonderful Works of God by Herman Bavinck. “110 years after its original publication, The Wonderful Works of God remains one of the finest single-volume systematic theologies ever written. Adapting the magisterial systematic theology found in his four-volume Reformed Dogmatics, this is perhaps Bavinck s most eminently practical work a single, accessible volume for the college classroom and the family bookshelf. Previously published in America as Our Reasonable Faith, this book has had a deep and lasting influence on the growth and development of Reformed theology. It is the publisher s hope that in its new form, this book continues to astonish readers with the wonderful works of God, and provide a deeper knowledge of their triune God.” (Buy it at Amazon)
Becoming C. S. Lewis (1898–1918) by Harry Lee Poe. “The writings of C. S. Lewis cannot be fully understood apart from a grasp of his formative adolescent years. Unfortunately, many biographies speed over this important season of Lewis’s life. Slowing down to focus on his younger years, this detailed portrait of “Jack” Lewis helps us discover seeds of what would inform his later writings―such as his delight in literature, his key relationships, his suffering and struggles, and his intense pursuit of joy. The chapters unfold the habits and tastes he developed while at boarding school, in college, and in the army, revealing where we see these themes appear in his works―bringing to life the man readers have come to know as C. S. Lewis. Volume 1 in a trilogy offering a comprehensive view of the life of C. S. Lewis.” (Buy it at Amazon)
Psalms 42-72 (Reformed Expository Commentary) by Richard D. Phillips. “In the inspired poems of the Psalms, we find the full range of human emotions laid bare before the heart of Godand in settings familiar to our experience. The Psalms are songs that God himself teaches us to sing: songs of joy, songs of pain, songs of fear, and songs of faith. Pastor-theologian Richard D. Phillips provides thoughtful, devotional commentary on the psalms of Book 2 (Psalms 42-72), which is distinctive for its variety of authors. He shows that in the spiritual walk of faith, these psalmists take believers by the hand and guide us in our communion with God, pointing always to Christ. As are all Reformed Expository Commentaries, this book is accessible to both pastors and lay readers. Each volume in the series gives careful attention to the biblical text, is doctrinally Reformed, focuses on Christ through the lens of redemptive history, and applies the Bible to our contemporary setting.” (Buy it at Amazon)
Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism by Elijah Hixson. “Since the unexpected popularity of Bart Ehrman’s bestselling Misquoting Jesus, textual criticism has become a staple of Christian apologetics. Ehrman’s skepticism about recovering the original text of the New Testament does deserve a response. However, this renewed apologetic interest in textual criticism has created fresh problems for evangelicals. An unfortunate proliferation of myths, mistakes, and misinformation has arisen about this technical area of biblical studies. In this volume Elijah Hixson and Peter Gurry, along with a team of New Testament textual critics, offer up-to-date, accurate information on the history and current state of the New Testament text that will serve apologists and Christian students even as it offers a self-corrective to evangelical excesses.” (Buy it at Amazon)