As the year begins to wind down, I have begun to look back on the various books, articles, and in some cases scholarly journals I have read from a variety of sources/genres. Like many of you I enjoy reading. At least, I imagine that many of you take some pleasure is this activity or work (depending on your reason for doing so). If not, what in the world are you doing here? LOL
As I was saying, I enjoy reading and the many benefits that come from it. As we read the works of others we are learning, being entertained, and sometimes necessarily challenged. Since I’m getting ready to go on vacation—holiday for some of you—I have been gathering materials for the flight(s) and my days of leisure around the pool. Yes, I’m a bit of a lazy vacationer.
Normally, the wife and I try to schedule two periods during the year where we take a break from the hustle and bustle of life. Sometimes, I hate the clock, but even in those periods of disdain I realize that it serves as a reminder that time is short. Moments slip through the “sands of time,” and therefore should not be wasted. Life is meaningful, but only when you live it with meaning.
Anyway, as I was saying the wife and I attempt to take two breaks during the year from work. One trip is spent with the kids. We pick a destination of their choosing and have some fun spending time together. The other trip we leave the chitlin’s[i] with family and head to a destination of our choosing.
And when I’m on vacation I like to read. I’ll read at the pool or in the morning with my coffee or in the evening before bed. Some people find reading a bit boring; for those individuals I feel a real sense of sorrow. There is something missed in life without the writings of others.
Now, I’ve never given a recommended reading list before. Most of the time when I recommend books to people, they’ll assume that they are boring. Or they’ll feign interest, but even if I give them a copy of a book excuses sprout up like weeds in the garden of their minds and they never get around to it.
Years ago, I lent a book to an old evangelist friend of mine. When his revival schedule landed him near my neck of the woods we met up for dinner after his preaching engagement. I asked if he enjoyed the book, and he said “Kris, you know…I haven’t got around to reading it.” The book was related to his subject of expertise, and it was one that I was particularly fond of, so I just let him have it and bought myself another through a used book store.
The following list shows some of the things that I’ve read so far this year. The list is by no means exhaustive. There are books that I started, but never finished. I may pick them up again in the future, but my attention was drawn elsewhere and so I left them. Thus, I left them off this list.
This is not a recommendation list, but a sampling of things I have found interesting, insightful, enjoyable or in some cases a downright drab. Bear in mind, I am going primarily off my memory, which is sometimes better than at others. In any event, I find that I share the sentiments of Solomon: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Eccl 12.12). But what joyful weariness it can be.
Without further ado, here are some of the books that I’ve read to date this year:
The Holy Bible. ESV. Specifically, my focus has been on: Book of Luke, Acts, Esther, Hosea, Deuteronomy, Judges, Malachi, Micah, 1John, Titus, Jude, Galatians, Ephesians, Amos, Jeremiah. And excerpts from other writings.
Abbott, Jacob. Alexander the Great: Makers of History #3. Akron: 1910.
Clark, Haden. Why Does God Allow Evil: Five Responses to the Problem of Evil. 2019. Kindle Edition.
Cohen, Chapman. Determinism or Free-Will? Revised Edition. London, England: Pioneer Press. 1919. Public Domain.
DeMar, Gary. Wars and Rumors of Wars: What Jesus Really Said About the End of the Age, Earthquakes, A Great Tribulation, Signs in the Heavens, and His Coming. Powder Springs: American Vision Press. 2017.
__________. Myths, Lies, & Half Truths: How Misreading the Bible Neutralizes Christians. Powder Springs: American Vision. 2004.**[ii]
Franklin, Ben. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Edited by Charles W. Eliot. New York: P F Collier & Son Company. 1909. Kindle Edition.
Geisler, Norman. Chosen But Free: A Balanced View of Divine Election. 2nd Edition. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers. 2001.
Gunn, Grovers. Dispensationalism: Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow. N.C.: N.P. N.D. Kindle Edition.
Kerswill, William Deas. The Old Testament Doctrine of Salvation: How Men were Saved in Old Testament Times. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication. 1904. Kindle Edition.
Kinchlow, Ben. Black Yellow Dogs: The Most Dangerous Citizen is not Armed, but Uninformed. 2nd Edition. New York: WND Books. 2013.
Koestlin, Julius. Life of Luther: With Illustrations from Authentic Sources. Translated from German. Public Domain (1875). Kindle Edition.
Lawson, Steven J. The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon. Sanford: Reformation Trust Publishing. 2012. Adobe Digital Edition.
Luther, Martin. Bondage of the Will. West Linn: Monergism Books. 2017. Kindle Edition.
____________. Concerning Christian Liberty. Public Domain. Kindle Edition.
Martin, Walter. The Kingdom of the Cults. Revised Edition. Edited by Ravi Zacharias. Minneapolis: Bethany House. 2003.[iii]
North, Gary. Was Calvin a Theonomist. Tyler: Institute for Christian Economics. 1990.
_____________. Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism. Tyler: Institute for Christian Economics. 1989.
Olson, Roger E. Olson. Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. 2006.**
Rupnarain, Richard. The Case for Typology. Brampton, Ontario: Evalis Publishing. 2003. Kindle Edition.
Rushdoony, R. J. Van Til & the Limits of Reason. Updated. Vallecito: Chalcedon/Ross House Books. 2013.
Taylor, Richard S. Biblical Authority and Christian Faith. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press. 1980.**
White, James R. The Potter’s Freedom: A Defense of the Reformation and a Rebuttal of Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free. Revised Edition. Calvary Press Publishing. 2009.
____________. The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the Heart of Christian Belief.
Wynkoop, Mildred Bangs. Foundations of Wesleyan-Arminian Theology. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press. 1967.**
Van Til, Cornelius. Defending the Faith. Tigard: Monergism Books. 2011. Kindle Edition.
______________. Why I Believe in God. Fig Classic Series. 2012. Kindle Edition. ISBN 978-1-62154-757-0.**
Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. 1993.
Lewis, C. S. God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics. Edited by Walter Hooper. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. 1970.
________. The ScrewTape Letters. Reprint. New York. MacMillan Company. 1943.
McDurmon, Joel. Biblical Logic in Theory and Practice: Refuting Fallacies of Humanism, Darwinism, Atheism, and Just Plain Stupidity. Powder Springs: American Vision Press. 2011. Kindle Edition.
Owen, John. The Remainder of Indwelling Sin in Believers. Edited by William H. Gross. Modernized. 2015. Kindle Edition.
Abercrombie, Joe. Half a King. New York: Ballantine Group. 2014.
______________. Half the World. New York: Ballantine Group. 2015.
______________. Half a War. New York: Ballantine Group. 2015.
Goodkind, Terry. Siege of Stone: The Nicci Chronicles. Volume 3. New York: TOR Books. 2018
_____________. The Scribbly Man: A Children of D’Hara Novella. London, England: Head of Zeus. 2019.
_____________. Hateful Things: A Children of D’Hara Novella, Episode 2. London, England: Head of Zeus. 2019.
Jordan, Robert. The Eye of the World. New York: TOR Books. 1990.**
So…what are you currently reading? Do you have any recommendations? Are you reading anything (besides this blog)? What have you not read that you are wanting to read? I’d be interested in hearing your feedback. God Bless.
[i] From “chit” meaning kitten, cub. An archaic slang word in English for “child.” Therefore, “chitlin” is slang for children.
[ii] ** Denotes at least a second time I’ve read through this one.
[iii] Note: since this is primarily a reference work, I have not read through the entire book, but have focused on areas of study that are of particular importance for my context of ministry—i.e. Jehovah’s Witnesses. I also have their NWT of the Bible and several of their writings downloaded, as well as any materials that they hand out in order to be prepared for interaction with them for Christ Jesus. As Christians we would do well to remember that these are fellow image bearers of God that are blinded by sin and the “god of this world.” Our duty then is not to viciously attack the individuals who have been deceived, but to be prepared to deal effectively with their own belief system in the light of Scripture with as a faithful representative of the Lord. While I have great disgust for the leadership of this organization that enslaves its people, and it is their writings that I am in conflict with, I want to be as loving as possible with the person, but at the same time firm and unmoving with my own convictions based on an accurate interpretation of God’s Word. Martin’s work is a secondary source to Scripture (the primary), but it is useful to help one mine through the similar terminology that this cult shares with the true Christian faith.
[iv] Yes, I am a bit of a fantasy nerd. I also like science fiction and historical fiction, but cannot remember such volumes being read this year.