Another journey around the sun is almost complete and some of our contributors have compiled a list of book recommendations just in time for Christmastide. Be sure and plunder the Egyptian’s After-Christmas sales before Twelfth Night.
Our founder Uriesou Brito, Senior Pastor of Providence Church of Pensacola, FL, while he wasn’t being pleasingly surprised while teaching through Ten Myths About Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition (Stewart, InterVarsity Press, 2011), commends to our readers The Essential Trinity: New Testament Foundations and Practical Relevance (Eds. Crowe, Trueman, IV Press, 2016)
Steve Jeffrey, Minister of Emmanual Evangelical Church of Southgate, North London, recommends Dr. MAtthew Walker’s recent release Why We Sleep (Scribner, 2017). Grab a copy and improve your sleep in no time flat.
“Jones presents a wealth of biblical insight and theological depth in a succinct, doxological package. Steeped in the Puritans, Jones also draws from patristic and medieval theologians. Especially helpful is his emphasis on the true humanity of Christ and the Trinitarian context of His work.”
The Embrace of Buildings: A Second Look at Walkable City Neighborhoods by Lee Hardy (Calvin College Press, 2017)
In the past few years, the conversation surrounding the new urbanism has matured beyond some of the early sentimental pining for the way things were, to a more robust reckoning with modernity’s effects on the built environment. Using fresh sociological research and ancient, biblical wisdom, Hardy offers a compelling vision for a more humane cityscape.
Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition: A Systematic Introduction by Craig Bartholomew (IVP, 2017).
I ordered this book the first day it was available from Hearts and Minds Books in Dallastown, PA. A stunning tour de force of Neo-Calvinism’s roots and myriad, sometimes conflicting, branches. No doubt in publishing this seminal work Bartholomew helped codify Kuyperianism in a day in which a deeper, more theocentric politics is needed.
Apologetics and the Christian Imagination: An Integrated Approach to Defending the Faith by Holly Ordway (Emmaus Road, 2017). Ordway’s Not God’s Type provided a beautiful portrait of her surprising conversion to the Christian faith. In her newest book, Ordway helps the reader come to grips with the plausibility structures in place for the post-Christian Westerner. Relying on Lewis, Chesterton, and Tolkien, Ordway shows that the evangelization of the imagination often precedes the evangelization of the intellect. Of course, Ordway is clear that the faith is not less than rational, but she does insist that it is more than rational. Must reading for anyone interested in sharing the faith in a more holistic, compelling way.
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H Bainton (Abingdon, 1978)
This book was first published in 1950 and is still a key authority on the subject of Martin Luther and the Reformation in Germany. There are a couple of key reasons this work holds up so well. First, Bainton quotes original sources. This is true for the star of the show, Luther, but Bainton gives good air time to other key sources: the Pope, folk stories, Muntzer, Aleander, and others. This also makes Bainton an honest historian, which is the second reason this work is so important. Bainton does not sugar coat the story. He gives you the sources and he shows you how he reaches his conclusions. The final reason this work is key is that Bainton shows how the Reformation touches the key cultural elements of the day: the Renaissance, Medieval philosophy, mysticism, the peasant’s revolt, family life, etc. On these things Bainton is flying high so he doesn’t cover all the nuances but he does help you see how the Reformation reshaped all areas of life. This is a solid choice for a Reformation 500 reading.
Laurus, Eugene Vodolazkin: I typically become suspicious when “heartbreak” is offered as justification for a piece of art—this “heartbreaking scene” or that “heartbreaking tribute to [blah blah blah].” But as I attempt to describe Laurus, heartbreak looms in my memory as one of the poignant adult pleasures the book offers. A little like a twenty-first century Dostoevsky novel, the story follows a young physician as he suffers loss, wrestles with his calling, becomes a saint, and learns to see the world and himself as God sees them. The whole novel, in fact, is training the reader to see as God sees—and that is enough to break a man’s heart.
The End of Protestantism: Pursuing Unity in a Fragmented Church, Peter J. Leithart: As the 500th anniversary of the German Reformation passes, Peter Leithart raises essential (if sometimes uncomfortable) questions about how content we should be with the progress of the Church. “Always reforming” has become, he suggests, a cloak for “always dividing;” and Protestants are often most interested in defining themselves over and against those with whom they have theological differences of opinion. Scholastic quibbles about Scholasticism et al frequently reveal that intellectual unity is what we desire most, and that intellectual unity means you agreeing with me. The thrust of Leithart’s concern in The End of Protestantism (which might be more honestly titled “The End of Denominationalism”) is that our Lord had something far more substantial in mind when He prayed that the Church would be one as He and the Father are one. If Christ’s desire for the Church ought to be our (active) desire for the Church, then Leithart’s book is a gift that we cannot afford to ignore.