Friday, December 12, 2014

Best Books of 2014

I wish I had read more last year, or at least more non-Revelation material (the ThM project sucked up a lot of my reading time).  I did read some really good books though, one's I'd highly recommend. Here's a few:

1. Daniel Taylor Books.  This is a category, not just a single book. Dr. Taylor deserves it. I read three of his books this year leading up to the ECC Seminar; each book was unique, enjoyable, and full of insight.  The Skeptical Believer: Telling Stories to Your Inner Atheist was the first of the three. Dr. Taylor gives useful advice to the Christian who wrestles with doubt.  I wasn't necessarily a fan of all the parenthetical interuptions (Dr. Taylor's inner atheist giving voice to his skepticism), but the book was, to use and overworked phrase, a breath of fresh air. The Myth of Certainty: The Reflective Christian & the Risk of Commitment was the second book. It's shorter and more philosophical, but contains an interesting narrative (biographical?)  that keeps the readers attention.  Letters to My Children: A Father Passes on His Values is what it sounds like - a series of letters Dr. Taylor wrote to his children through the years in an effort to pass on wisdom, convey affection and continue a spiritual legacy. It's wins the prize (no monetary gift forthcoming, sorry) for my favorite book of the year.

2. Michael Kruger's Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books is a very helpful book.  Through the book Kruger seeks to establish the validity and authority of the NT Canon from the text itself rather than merely looking to the early church, creeds/councils, etc. It is a theological case for the canon rather than a historical case. I smell a future seminar topic!

3. Eric Metaxas' book Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness was a very enjoyable introduction to seven great men and their faith. These certainly aren't deep, extensive biographies, but short introductions to the life and thought (like John Piper's The Swans are Not Silent series).  The book includes one chapter on each of these seven men: George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson.

4. My work on Revelation 2&3 raised the issue of perseverance of the saints and how we ought to teach the warnings and conditional promises of Scripture to believers. Thomas Schreiner and Ardel Caneday's book  The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance & Assurance was extremely helpful. It's not an easy read and can get a bit tedious, but I haven't read a better, more balanced approach to these texts yet.

5. Ok, now a fun book (actually, a series of seven books).  I found Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series completely by accident. I love war novels, and I thought that's what I picked up at the library. And, it is a war novel with a sci-fi kinda twist. Captain Reddy's ship is engaged in the a naval battle with overwhelming Japanese power. In an attempt to escape certain destruction, he seeks refuge in the squall.  The squall transports him, his ship and all the men to a different, but similar world (think Land of the Lost).  There they are pulled into another all-encompassing war. Not up your alley? Pick up and read book one, Into the Storm (Destroyermen), I dare you. You won't be able to put it down. Anderson is a fantastic story teller and his characters, human and otherwise, are so interesting. Best series I've read in a very long time (and I'm not a sci-fi kinda guy). 

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