Summer’s getting frighteningly close (after all, winter ended a week or so back, right?) and that means it’s time to think about vacations! A little time off does everyone good and also gives us the opportunity to do some reading!
A few days ago, Joe Thorn offered some great recommendations for what you might want to read this summer; his focus was on fighting sin and temptation and I’d encourage you to read any number of those ones. As I’ve been looking at what I want to be reading this summer, my list is certainly not going to be quite as focused, but I’m hoping it’ll be interesting:
Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen
Machens classic defense of orthodox Christianity established the importance of scriptural doctrine and contrasts the teachings of liberalism and orthodoxy on God and man, the Bible, Christ, salvation, and the church. Though originally published nearly seventy years ago, the book maintains its relevance today. It was named one of the top 100 books of the millennium by World magazine and one of the top 100 books of the century by Christianity Today.
(Incidentally, this is the selection for the latest edition of “Reading the Classics Together” over at Challies.com. That might be a really helpful way for you to get into this book if you’re interested.)
Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ by Russell Moore
Although temptation is a common and well-acknowledged part of the human experience, few realize the truth behind temptation and fewer still know how to defeat it. Tempted and Tried will not reassure Christians by claiming that temptation is less powerful or less prevalent than it is; instead, it will prepare believers for battle by telling the truth about the cosmic war that is raging. Moore shows that the temptation of every Christian is part of a broader conspiracy against God, a conspiracy that confronts everyone who shares the flesh of Jesus through human birth and especially confronts those who share the Spirit of Christ through the new birth of redemption.
Moore walks readers through the Devil’s ancient strategies for temptation revealed in Jesus’ wilderness testing. Moore considers how those strategies might appear in a contemporary context and points readers to a way of escape. Tempted and Tried will remind Christians that temptation must be understood in terms of warfare, encouraging them with the truth that victory has already been secured through the triumph of Christ.
Collected Writings on Scripture by D.A. Carson
God’s Word has always had enemies, but in recent years the inspiration and authority of Scripture have been attacked with renewed vigor. Respected scholar D. A. Carson has written widely on the nature of Scripture over the past thirty years, and here presents a timely collection of his work in two parts.
In part 1, Carson selects essays written on such themes as how to interpret the Bible, recent developments in the doctrine of Scripture, unity and diversity in the New Testament, and redaction criticism. Presenting a theologically balanced and confessional perspective, Carson defines the terms of a number of debates, critiques interpretive methods and theories, and suggests positive guidelines for future action.
Part 2 presents critical reviews of nine books dealing with the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Though substantial in content, Carson’s detailed reviews will foster careful thought and perspective in those who are relatively new to the debates surrounding biblical inspiration and authority.
This volume is a diverse collection that will prove to be a helpful resource to both seasoned pastors and scholars and those who are just starting serious study of the Bible.
The Church: Sacraments, Worship, Ministry, Mission by Edmund Clowney
At a time in which the very word church sounds a tone of dull irrelevance, the doctrine of the church has suffered the studied neglect of many Christian leaders. The persistent demands to market, manage and grow the church and to meet the felt needs of churched and unchurched all threaten to quench theological reflection on the abiding nature and mission of the church. But few activities bear greater promise as a starting point for renewing and reshaping the Christian church than the work of theology. In this book Edmund Clowney takes up that task, addressing along the way a variety of contemporary concerns: worship, mission, church and culture, church and state, church order and discipline, the ministry of women, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, tongues and prophecy, signs and wonders. He draws on decades of thinking and teaching about the church as well as from his committed leadership and ministry within the church. Biblical, historical, systematic and Reformed, The Church is a timely and provocative reflection on the life, order and purpose of the household of God.
Christ Alone: An Evangelical Response to Rob Bell’s Love Wins by Michael Wittmer
In this highly readable and wonderfully engaging response to Rob Bell’s New York Times best seller Love Wins, Michael Wittmer examines Bell’s claims about “heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived” in the light of the Bible and historic Christian doctrine. Wittmer writes in the introduction, “I respect Rob Bell. He wrote Love Wins to start a dialogue about the most important issues of our faith, and this book is my attempt as an evangelical to join that conversation.”
These are a few of the books I hope to read this summer (and at least a couple will be reviewed). There’s a lot of heavy lifting here, so we’ll see how many I actually get to.
What are you planning on reading this summer?