Books

"Must Reading" for Christian Leaders

I sent this out to our elders, but thought I would post it here as well. Tolle Lege!



Hey brothers,

Happy New Year! Seems weird to say 2018 . . . . Time is flying. Let’s ensure we are redeeming the time for His glory. One way to do that is by becoming well-read, which is part of what it means to be “able to teach." Readers are leaders and leaders are readers. Scripture must always be our main fount, but I want to encourage you to read some other books that will help you see Scripture more clearly. I have attached that document of key books to use for discipling men in our church, but here are nine from that list I want to strongly challenge you to read this year. I consider them “must reading” for modern day elders of local churches. They are not easy reading, but we grow by stretching ourselves and not much worth doing is easy:
  •  Knowing God by JI Packer (279 pgs) – modern day classic. Devotional theology.  
  • The Cross-Centered Life by CJ Mahaney (85 pgs) – helps us keep the main thing the main thing.
  • Desiring God by John Piper (288 pgs) – another modern classic on God’s glory and our joy.
  •  Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by JI Packer (126 pgs) – gospel, character of God, evangelism.
  • The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges (242 pgs) – Devotional book on the centrality of grace.
  • Humility by CJ Mahaney (170 pgs) – practical theology with a view to enlarging God and minimizing us.
  • Chosen by God by RC Sproul (213 pgs) – excellent handling of a crucial doctrine (with implications for many other doctrines)
  • The Holiness of God by RC Sproul (216 pgs) – Modern classic on the key attribute of our great God.
  • The Walk by Stephen Stallman (197 pgs) – one of the most helpful books for believers, new and old.


That is 1816 pages. If you read just 20 minutes a day, it will add up to around 4,000 pages a year. Easy money!



Top Ten Reads of 2017

Another year, more books. It should go without saying, but in today's weirdness I need you to know that I don't agree with everything in all these books. In no particular order, here were my favorite reads this year:
  • The Spirituality of the Cross by Gene Veith - In good Lutheran form, Veith grounds our spirituality in the objective finished work of Christ.
  • Calvinism in a Las Vegas Airport by Richard Mouw - I love Richard Mouw. Will eventually read everything he has written. His is a broader gentler Calvinism that seeks to get to work in the world.
  • The Message of Ephesians by John Stott - Stott + Ephesians = cash money. What a gift to the church the letter to the Ephesians is. What a gift to pastors John Stott is. Powerful combo.
  • The Crucified King by Jeremy Treat - Let not man separate what God has joined together. Great example of biblical theology informing systematic theology.
  • You Are What You Love by Jamie Smith - This was my first entry to Smith. I already want to reread this one, then buy the trilogy and drink deeper from his project.
  • Rock Solid by Archer and Thornborough - Short, accessible works on theology are hard to come by but this one's a gem. A group of UK scholars cover twelve gospel truths in 12 chapters at about 10 pages a pop, with a Bible study, historical sketch, and application sections too! Really good for discipleship.
  • Greek for Life by Merkle and Plummer - Motivating and helpful strategies for learning, retaining, and reviving your Greek.
  • Covenant by Thomas Schreiner - Really good and short overview of the covenants by one of my favorite NT scholars. After reading his Galatians commentary, it did seem like he had a broad Crossway (read: not all Baptists) audience in mind.
  • The Mission of God's People by Christ Wright - Wright's Mission of God is one of my favorite books. I love his emphasis on the OT. Though he defines the church's mission a bit broader than I would, this is a great example of biblical theology for life.
  • Letters to a Young Calvinist by Jamie Smith - Smith made my list twice this year! What a fun read. As a disciple of Mouw, and therefore Kuyper, you'll notice the tone and broadness. I really appreciated his emphasis on the worldview of Reformed theology.

I can't stop without mentioning a couple that I have read before but re-read this year. I took our pastors through Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever this year and it was even more refreshing the second time. Would that every pastor in America would read this book! Also, I took our staff through CJ Mahaney's Living the Cross-Centered Life, a great devotional look at the centrality of the cross for the Christian life. Both are worthy of reading and rereading.


Archives:

Top Ten Reads of 2015

Well, that time of year again. Top reads of the year. These weren't necessarily published this year; just the ones I most enjoyed reading this year:
  • Paul and the Law by Brian Rosner - I knew this one would be good. I was sort of burnt out on this whole issue for a while but finally picked it up. Really good synthesis of one of the more complicated issues in theology. Paul's theology of law includes repudiation, replacement, and then reappropriation as prophecy and wisdom. He doesn't use the label but this is New Covenant Theology through and through.
  • Everyday Church by Chester and Timmis - This is sort of a sequel to Total Church, which is my favorite book on ministry and the Christian life. Good stuff. They use 1 Peter as a template to look at the Christian life and the church as the everyday stuff of life. True to form, there are jabs here and there to the attractional church model. One of my favorite lines (even if an overstatement) was that programming is what we do when Christians are not doing what they are supposed to be doing in everyday life. Ouch. . . 
  • The Israel of God by O. Palmer Robertson - I read a lot on Israel this year as I worked on a book of my own (hope to see it this Summer). This was probably my favorite. OPR is a top-notch canonical exegete. He covers the issues of land, wilderness, Melchizedek, kingdom, and one of the finer treatments on Romans 11 around. That chapter alone is worth the price of the book. Warning: Left Behind fans may will have their presuppositions dashed.
  • Pastoral Ministry According to Paul by James Thompson - Good, but densely exegetical look at Paul as a pastor. His goal was to see his communities transformed into the image of the Son. JT's a bit left of me and he's obviously not Reformed, but he takes a close look at Paul the pastor's aims and makes some good observations. What we are too often consumed with (buildings, butts, and budgets) seemingly didn't cross his mind. He wanted to see his people changed by the gospel. That was pastoral success for the Apostle.
  • Reading Backwards by Richard Hays - Fantastic book on the Gospels and the Old Testament. Hays and OT/NT stuff is surely to be gold-plated goodness. The way the Spirit moved the Gospel writers to weave the story together and have the story of Jesus revolve the story of Israel is beautiful and rich. Hays serves pastors by shedding light on text after text.
  • Saving Eutychus by Gary Millar and Phil Campbell - I try and read a preaching book every year and this one was a fun, short read. Brilliant title. Highly recommended for all preachers, though I was surprised that they recommended 23 and 25 minute sermons. My aim is 35 but struggle to keep it there at times. Can't imagine 23!
  • Spurgeon on Leadership by Larry Michael - I read about 15 leadership books this year. Didn't like most of them. Seems to me some pastors who get all into leadership are just bored with the Bible and theology. This one was cool, though. Some of the best leadership themes mixed with Spurgeon's life and ministry. Michael knows Chuck well and is well-read in all things Maxwell so it makes for an edifying and challenging read.
  • Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear - This was probably my favorite read of the year. Greear helpfully lays out a theology of gospel assurance that will hit a wide audience. I bought copies as gifts for family members. Thankful for this type of resource.
  • Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill - Homosexuality is the issue of our day. I read a few books this year on the topic but probably enjoyed this one the most.  I don't agree with everything Hill writes here, but found it a thoughtful and refreshing account from someone striving to honor Christ while living with same sex attraction. He's a great writer and story teller, and has a firm grasp on Christianity as the good - but often hard - life. The title says it all: we have been washed (1 Cor. 6:11) but are waiting for the resurrection (Rom. 8:23).
  • Proof by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones - Really good and fresh presentation of those glorious doctrines of grace. Biggest frustration was the robust endnotes. The fact that those still exist is the only reason I am not postmill. 

Archives:




8 Resources on the Restoration of Israel

I recently finished a 45K word manuscript on the expansion of the church as the restoration of Israel. Twas a rich study! I don't hear this theme of sin/exile/restoration preached/talked about enough so I wanted to point readers to a few helpful resources. The Bible is full of the stuff. Here are some helps:

Roy Ciampa, "The History of Redemption," in Central Themes in Biblical Theology 

R.T. France, "Old Testament Prophecy and the Future of Israel" 

Scot McKnight, A New Vision for Israel

C. Marvin Pate, The Story of Israel: A Biblical Theology

James Scott, "Restoration of Israel" in DPL.

________. "Jesus' Vision for the Restoration of Israel as the Basis for a Biblical Theology," in Biblical Theology: Retrospect Prospect

Chris Wright, "A Christian Approach to Old Testament Prophecy Concerning Israel"

N.T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God



Jesus & the Jewish Nation

George Caird's conclusion of his famous lecture:

"Here then, in conclusion, is the picture of the ministry of Jesus I have been trying to put before you. Jesus believed that Israel had been called to be God’s saved and saving nation, the agent through whom God intended to assert his sovereignty over the rest of the world, and that the time had come when God was summoning the nation once for all to take its place in his economy as the Son of Man. His teaching was something more than individual piety and ethics, it was a national way of life through which alone God’s purpose could be implemented. The nation must choose between the way of Jesus and all other possible alternatives, and on its choice depended its hope for a national future. For nothing but the thoroughgoing change of heart which Jesus demanded and made possible could in the end keep the nation out of disastrous conflict with Rome. If the nation would not listen to him, it must pay the consequences; but he at least, and anyone else who would share it with him, must fulfil the destiny of the Son of Man. But so deeply does he love his nation, so fully is he identified with its life, so bitterly does he regret what he sees coming upon it, that only death can silence his reiterated and disturbing appeal. He goes to his death at the hands of a Roman judge on a charge of which he was innocent and his accusers, as the event proved, were guilty. And so, not only in theological truth but in historic fact, the one bore the sins of the many, confident that in him the whole Jewish nation was being nailed to the cross, only to come to life again in a better resurrection, and that the Day of the Son of Man which would see the end of the old Israel would see also the vindication of the new."

-from Jesus and the Jewish Nation

Book Lists

Top Ten Reads of 2012

Continuing the tradition, here are my favorite reads from the year:


  • Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ in All the Scriptures by Dennis Johnson - Substantial book on Christ-Centered preaching. More hermeneutics than preaching principles.
  • A Theology for the Church edited by Danny Akin - This is a contemporary systematic theology by Southern Baptist theologians. As with any edited work, some chapters are better than others. Mark Dever has a great chapter on the church and Russell Moore's chapter is worth the price of the book.
    Here is a review essay and here is Craig Blaising's review of Moore's chapter.
  • The Israel of God in Prophecy by Hans LaRondelle - More hermeneutics, specifically with how Christians should approach Israel and the land. Lots of insight here. This won't make the top ten lists of any dispensationalists.
  • Young, Restless, and Reformed by Collin Hansen - I think this little book should be read by all evangelicals who have the slightest bit of interest and what all this Calvinism is about. Really well written.
  • Introducing Paul by Michael Bird - It is hard to find good introductions to Paul that aren't overly technical or massive. At less than 200 pages, this is now the book I recommend first to people trying to get a hold of Paul's thought. Really enjoyed this one.
  • Apostle of the Crucified Lord by Michael Gorman - At 600 plus pages, this is one of those massive introductions to Paul, but can be used as a great reference for each letter if one didn't want to read it straight through. Gorman is one of my favorite interpreters of Paul. He also has a good, short introduction called Reading Paul.
  • A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America by John D'Elia - This was probably my most enjoyable read of the year. It is sort of a theological biography. Ladd has been hugely influential in evangelical theology and knowing his place in our history is important. Ladd was a gifted scholar, but led a strange and dark life. As one of the blurbs says, "although he wrote extensively of the presence of the kingdom, he struggled to taste its fruits in his own life."
  • Transformed by God: New Covenant Life and Ministry by David Peterson - Peterson is always a steady exegetical guide and here he works through Jeremiah 31 and the major NT texts dealing with the new covenant. Here is a review by Stephen Wellum.
  • Kingdom Through Covenant by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum - This is the book I was most excited about reading this year. It is a feast of biblical and systematic theology. They argue for a via media between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology: Progressive Covenantalism, a species of New Covenant Theology. The is the major academic work that New Covenant folks have been waiting on. Here are all sorts of links. They did not have room to deal with many NT passages, so grabbing Peterson's work would be a great supplement (as if 900 pages needs supplement??). If you don't want to wade through it all, read ch. 16 which is a 61 page summary of the book. If you can't afford the book, here is a chapter by Dr. Wellum that is also a good summary of the argument of the book.
  • Abraham's Four Seeds by John Reisinger - This was the first New Covenant literature I read back in 2004. I have referenced it on occasion, but re-read it a couple of weeks ago because I had the students of a class I taught on New Covenant Theology read it and wanted to be refreshed. Refreshed I was. This is such an important book. I was also struck by how much Kingdom Through Covenant builds on this work (e.g. the fact that CT and DT are ironically hermeneutical bedfellows re: the Abrahamic Covenant, the church is Israel via union with Christ, etc). Praise God for John Reisinger.


Top 10 in 2006
Top 10 in 2007
Top 10 in 2008
Top 10 in 2009
Top 10 in 2010
Top 10 in 2011

Evangellyfish

I love Douglas Wilson's writing. I have read a ton of his stuff and always enjoy it even when I disagree with the content (which is often and significant at points). The last Wilson book I read was Evangellyfish. I wanted to post something about it, but was not quite sure how to approach it. Kevin DeYoung recently read it as well, and I resonated with his comments:

"What can you say about Doug Wilson? The guy can flat out write. And if LOL wasn’t so cliche, I’d also say he’s laugh out loud funny. This book is a satire about Chad Lester, the sex-crazed pastor of a shallow (and also sex-crazed) megachurch called Camel Creek Community Church. The “hero” of the story is a stodgy Reformed Baptist minister John Mitchell whose life gets connected with Chad’s in increasingly complicated ways. Wilson tells a good story that draws you in and keeps you pressing forward to see what happens next. For my tastes, I thought the story was too thoroughly about sex. No lurid descriptions were given, but I’d still rather not read a whole book about the creative permutations of sexual deviancy, even if it is farcical. That complaint notwithstanding, I have to say, after finishing the book, I was surprised to find myself thinking, “You know what, that was really funny, but also strangely and realistically redemptive.” I give Wilson credit for doing what almost no other Christian dares to do, and almost no one does well, and that’s employ the genre of satire for the glory of God."

What is New Covenant Theology? An Introduction





My new book, What is New Covenant Theology: An Introduction is now available from Amazon and New Covenant Media. I am really excited about this little book. I hope it serves to introduce many to the core of New Covenant Theology. I worked hard to keep it short and accessible.



Here is the Table of Contents:

  • Introduction 
  • Chapter 1 – One Plan of God Centered in Jesus Christ
  • Chapter 2 – The Old Testament Should Be Interpreted in Light of the New Testament 
  • Chapter 3 – The Old Covenant Was Temporary by Divine Design 
  • Chapter 4 – The Law Is a Unit 
  • Chapter 5 – Christians Are Not Under the Law of Moses, but the ‘Law’ of Christ 
  • Chapter 6 – All Members of the New Covenant Community Have the Holy Spirit 
  • Chapter 7 – The Church Is the Eschatological Israel 
  • Conclusion 
  • Recommended Reading

Here are the endorsements:


“This small book is a doctrinal pamphlet packed with straight-forward, palatable teaching on New Covenant Theology (NCT) distinctives regarding seven major Christ-centered doctrinal areas. It will surely provide a valuable service to those church members for whom it was intended, written by a gifted scholar. Although small, it is an important work that explains the essence and basis for a more accurate biblical and theological hermeneutical system. It is purposely designed in clear, succinct language to provide its target audience with what NCT is about in furtherance of the gospel. Pastors and teachers are encouraged to promote this fine, articulate work.”

Gary D. Long, Th.D., Faculty President, Providence Theological Seminary, Colorado Springs, CO



“Blake White has written a wonderfully accessible primer on new covenant theology. Some think the only options out there are dispensationalism or covenant theology and have not even heard of new covenant theology. This is the ideal book to give to someone who wants a brief and convincing exposition of new covenant thought. I recommend this work gladly.”

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky



“In a very readable, accurate, and succinct manner, Blake White covers the basics of New Covenant Theology. He nicely distinguishes NCT from dispensational and covenant theology by showing NCT's distinctives but in a way that is not complicated or difficult to understand. In addition, for those who often misunderstand NCT, this work also clearly teaches what is at the heart of NCT and how it seeks to understand the whole counsel of God in a way that is true to the Bible's own storyline and which is centered in Christ. I highly recommend this work for those who want to know more about NCT, for those who want to think through how "to put the Bible together," and mostly for those who want to rejoice in Jesus Christ our Lord, our glorious mediator and head of the new covenant.”

Stephen J. Wellum, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary



“Blake White has given us another concise treatment on New Covenant Theology. His approach is "big brush strokes." This makes the work to be extremely useful for someone just becoming acquainted with New Covenant Theology. The author states his purpose at the beginning: ‘In this book, I want to lay out the core concepts of New Covenant Theology . . . . . my aim is to make the essentials of New Covenant Theology available in an accessible way for church members.’ I am sure the reader will quickly realize the author has attained is goal.”

John G. Reisinger, Evangelist and Author



“A. Blake White’s book, An Introduction to New Covenant Theology, is exactly what it says! In clear, simple language White shows how this relatively new theological formulation tracks God’s unfolding plan of redemption through the Bible to its culmination in Jesus Christ. All that God has done in Christ is truly amazing and apprehending these truths opens up new vistas of adoration, understanding, and direction in living a life pleasing to God. If you want to better understand the Bible’s own way of presenting the gospel, this book is highly recommended.”

Kirk M. Wellum, Principal, Toronto Baptist Seminary



“What attracts me to this way of seeing Scripture is its determination to use Bible words for Bible concepts, its commitment to following the progressive development of God’s revelation, and its clear view of promise and fulfillment in the central figure of all revelation, Jesus Christ. I have friends and heroes on all sides of the discussion, but after years of Bible study on this subject, I have arrived where the author has arrived. I’m so thankful Blake White has put his studies into our hands and recommend this book as a useful introductory guide to comprehending the aim of the Bible. I’ll use it often.”

Jim Elliff, President, Christian Communicators Worldwide



“Blake White has done us a great service in making clear the basic ideas of New Covenant Theology. By reducing it to these basics it will make it easier to criticize and correct. So much controversy among Christians is due to not understanding the basic principles of the thing being argued about. For this reason I commend it to my fellow Christians. Also I commend it because I think it is right!”

Tom Wells, Author of The Christian and the Sabbath, The Priority of Jesus Christ, and many other books. He is also co-author of New Covenant Theology.



“This book gets to the heart of the debate over New Covenant Theology. I commend the book for how concise and clear it is on key issues and I am especially excited by its irenic tone. May the Lord use it to move the discussion forward.”

Jason C. Meyer, Associate Professor of New Testament, Bethlehem College and Seminary



“If you want a book that gets to the core of New Covenant Theology, this is it. When someone asks you to explain NCT, you now have a concise resource to put in their hands. Blake White has composed a helpful map for navigating the three major interpretive approaches to the Bible. Don't just read it, give copies to those who need to be reminded that Christ is all in all.”

Douglas Goodin, President, Cross to Crown Ministries, Colorado Springs, CO



“Blake has given us a basic primer on New Covenant Theology that lays out the fundamental truths of this system of biblical truth. The book is easy to read and follow. The strength of the book is its clear explanation of the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. This difference between the two covenants describes the essence of what is New Covenant Theology and why it is so different from Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism.”

Geoff Volker, Director of In-Depth Studies, Temple, AZ



Good Lookin' Out: Exalted

My friend Doug Goodin (President of Cross to Crown Ministries) has recently published his first book, Exalted: Putting Jesus in His Place (also available on Kindle). If is full of Christ-centered thoughts on a host of topics. A book like this is much needed.

Here is the Table of Contents:

Part One: Thinking Jesus First

1. Why Did God Make the World? ...............1

2. Firstborn...................................................3

3. Gospel....................................................17

4. Inheritance..............................................31

5. Mystery...................................................39

6. Kingdom.................................................49

7. Consummation.......................................57

Part Two: Living Jesus First

8. Prayer ....................................................69

9. Preaching...............................................79

10.Family.....................................................89

11.Mission...................................................99

12.Love.....................................................105

13.Why Did I Write This Book?....................115

You can read the first chapter here.

My New Book: Union With Christ




My new book, Union with Christ: Last Adam and Seed of Abraham is now available from Amazon and from New Covenant Media.

Here is an endorsement from Dr. Gary Long:


"Union with Christ is vitally important. Why? Because union with Christ, being “in Christ,” is both an individual and a corporate spiritual union divinely designed and experienced, based upon the holy and just principle of imputation—the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to God’s elect; the same principle involved in the imputation of their sin to Christ. Thus, without union with Christ, there would be no substitutionary atonement, no substitutionary Savior—indeed, no salvation! In twelve short chapters, with clarity and ease of expression, Blake White has articulated for the reader this importance succinctly in 'Union with Christ'."


Here is the Table of Contents:


Chapter 1 - Introduction

Chapter 2 – The Centrality of Union with Christ

Chapter 3 – The Instrument of Union with Christ

Chapter 4 – Union with the Last Adam: Image

Chapter 5 – Union with the Last Adam: Head

Chapter 6 - Union with the Last Adam: King

Chapter 7 - Union with the Last Adam: Priest

Chapter 8 – Union with the Seed of Abraham

Chapter 9 - Union with the Seed of Abraham: Land

Chapter 10 - Union with the Seed of Abraham: Offspring

Chapter 11 - Union with the Seed of Abraham: Blessing Chapter 

Chapter 12 – Conclusion

My New Book: 'Abide in Him"




My new book, Abide in Him: A Theological Interpretation of John's First Letter (131 pp) is now available from Amazon ($13.95) and New Covenant Media ($11.16). In it I simply walk through the text of 1 John seeking to explain and apply it in an accessible manner.

Here are the endorsements:


“If I were to pick one section of this commentary that gives the heartbeat of both the commentary and of New Covenant Theology, it would be the following:
‘As should be clear by now, love for John is not an emotion but is always practical and active. Love of fellow Christians expresses itself with actions and in truth. Love and obedience go hand in hand. Jesus made this clear in the Upper Room Discourse. John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” In John 14:21, Jesus said that the one who has and keeps his commandments is the one who loves him. John is a faithful interpreter of the mind of Jesus.’”

--- John Reisinger, Author, Editor, Sovereign Grace New Covenant Ministries [from the Foreword]


"Most commentary-like books teach you about the text. This one teaches you about Christ. Blake White leads you to think about how John's letter should impact your love for the Savior and his people. He also gives clarity to some notoriously obscure statments. Bring this book alongside every reading and study of First John.

---Douglas Goodin, President, Cross to Crown Ministries



My other books can be found here.

Top 10 Reads of 2011

Each year I post the top ten reads of the year. These aren't the top ten published in 2011, nor are they books I would necessarily recommend for everyone. They are simply the top ten books I enjoyed reading this year. In no particular order:


  • Reading Paul by Michael Gorman - Michael Gorman is one of my favorite NT scholars. His book Cruciformity made my top ten list last year. This is a very good introduction to Paul. I definitely do not agree with him on everything, but this little book (188 pp) was a delight to read.
  • The Triumph of Abraham's God by Bruce Longenecker - I loved this book because I love all things Galatians. Again, just in case someone wants to throw a label on me, I didn't like everything in this book. I am not a New Perspective guy, but this book was rich with exegetical insight.
  • The Law and the New Testament by Frank Thielman - Thielman is a PCA guy, but his exegesis is more New Covenant Theology than PCA. Great little book showing the discontinuity of the law of Moses.
  • New Covenant Theology by Wells and Zaspel - I first read this one in 2004. It was my second book to read on New Covenant Theology. I remember sitting at the coffee shop in Hastings, thinking "This is it!" I re-read it this year and was just as encouraged (probably more so since I now understand the issues better).
  • The Trellis and the Vine by Marshall and Payne - This is a fantastic book on Christian ministry. Read it and give copies to your church leaders. Disciples are those who make disciples.
  • A Light to the Nations by Michael Goheen - I had been waiting for this one for 3-4 years. The book that is written by Goheen and Bartholomew called The Drama of Scripture may be my favorite book, period, so I was very excited about this one. It is about the missional church and the biblical story. It is a nice combo of missional ecclesiology and biblical theology.
  • New Covenant Morality in Paul by T.J. Deidun - Another very technical work, but really good. Probably the best book I have read on Paul's ethics, though John Barclay is a close second and I have yet to read all of Furnish.
  • Covenant and Community by William Klassen - This book is about the life, writings, and hermeneutics of Anabaptist leader Pilgram Marpeck. It was the first work I have read about Marpeck, and I plan to get to know this man very well in years to come.
  • Gospel by J.D. Greear - This is a great book on gospel centrality. Out of the many "gospel-centered" books I have read lately, I think this one is most balanced. Full of practical, heart-level application.
I would like to add an 11th for the year. I don't include it because it is not yet published. It is a book called Jesus, the Reason for Everything, by Doug Goodin. It is a very accessible call to live a "Christ-obsessed" life. It will be a book you will want to hand out to friends and family. Keep an eye out for it.

Related:
Top 10 in 2006
Top 10 in 2007
Top 10 in 2008
Top 10 in 2009
Top Ten in 2010

Satirical Reading

If you are Emergent or Reformed, you should read these two books by Ted Cluck and Zach Bartels:

Kinda Christianity: A Generous, Fair, Organic, Free-Range Guide to Authentic Realness

Younger, Restlesser, Reformeder: A Good Natured Roast

Both will have you rolling if you are familiar with these movements. Note that the Kindle editions are significantly cheaper.

If you are a Dispensationalist, you really must read N.D. Wilson's Right Behind

If you are a general evangelical Christian, Acuff's Stuff Christians Like is hilarious.


If you are not a fan of satire, don't get any of these!

Pope Don Carson & his Magnum Opus

I love D.A. Carson's work. Obviously, he is not my pope, but I take everything he says and writes seriously. He is a unique gift to the church. I have learned about Postmodernism, the new perspective on Paul, exegesis in ST, evangelism, biblical theology, and obviously NT studies from him.

One of the ways I have been most helped by Pope Don is the whole area of the NT use of the OT. He himself has taught, preached, and written on this subject often, and he is editor of the Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament along with G.K. Beale. He is also editor of the New Studies in Biblical Theology series. Pretty much every volume in that series is worth reading. I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Carson one time in Ohio. Knowing he was busy, I just thanked him for that series. It has been a blessing.

In Andreas Kostenberger's biographical sketch on Carson, he mentions a major volume dealing with the NT use of the OT (p.3). I can't remember who or where, but I recall someone saying that he wanted to do more exegesis in preparation for this volume so he was going to pump out several more commentaries before writing this one.

In a recent article on Carson's theological method, Andy Naselli mentions this volume. He says:

"His magnum opus will be a two-volume ‘whole-Bible’ BT. He explained to me that he needs about twenty more years to do this well. He first desires to finish his commentaries on John’s letters, Galatians,
Hebrews, Revelation, and Ezekiel. Carson is one of those exceptional figures who is equipped to contribute an outstanding integrative BT that would serve as a reliable foundation for ST that is more genre-sensitive
and aware of the Bible’s storyline."

This is exciting! If you care about such things, pray for this project. I think it will be quite significant for the church.