Some books

I thought I’d catalogue what I’ve read this year so you can see how hopelessly unbalanced my reading is….

Presbytopia –  It’s a good intro to Presbyterianism, and the material has been used in a new members class. It is something that can be given away to newcomers to the church. I am not sure about elevating the 5 points of Calvinism and putting that front and centre. I’ve already used it with few folk. I still think there is a need for a populist intro to Presbyterianism. This is the best one out there at the moment.

Paul – An outline of his theology – Herman Ridderbos – I read this over the summer and there are chapters that blow the doors off. His understanding of the now and the not yet aspects of salvation, his section on the church and the sacraments is outstanding but it has to be said there are other parts which are pretty hard work. It doesn’t help that the font changes size occasionally to miniscule so it felt sometimes you weren’t making much progress

Selected Writings of Benjamin Morgan Palmer – This is a lovely Banner of Truth cloth bound little book of articles Palmer has wrote for the Southwestern Presbyterian  in 1869-70. I found his 9 pieces on the Beatitudes very helpful, he sees a very clear structure in them that Lloyd Jones pick up on. He might overplay it slightly but it is very helpful. His 4 articles on Christian Paradoxes are worth the price of the book.

Westminster Confession – JV Fesko – The historical introduction is  riveting and well written, the rest of the book doesn’t actually live up to that. There is very good research at what the original context was but it’s not the most interesting read. There are good insights on the chapters regarding the Sacraments. The blurbs on the back massively overdo it.

True Love – Relationships and Marriage God’s way – Chris Richard and Liz Jones – a tiny little book on relationships, I think this is the best book to put into the hands of young people on relationships. It’s sane and readable. We’ve given it to every one of the kids in the youth group.

Westminster Confession  – BB Warfield – This is a lovely, lovely book, that I picked up in Evangelical Bookshop, Belfast –  his chapter on the Westminster Assembly  is excellent, though according to Bob Letham he slightly overemphasises the influence of the Scots commissioners.  The  Westminster Doctrine of Scripture is really insightful and the final chapter on the First Question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is a beautiful read. If you see this book it’s worth getting, published by Still Waters Revival Books whoever they are.

The Biggest Story – Kevin DeYoung – This is a bible overview for Children, the illustrations are outstanding. We read it for family devotions and it starts very strongly, the kids were really engaged, that did slightly tail off towards the end but it’s one of the best bible overviews for children.

Encouragement – Gordon Cheng – We read this in our pre-work reading group. It’s a mixed bag but mainly for the style of writing. The personal illustrations grate a bit but the content is excellent. There are some very helpful chapters and it can lead to good discussion. Chapter 9 where he speaks very practically about how encouragement works itself out in church life is gold.

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