December 24, 2013

What Are the Best Books of 2013?

Of all the volumes released in 2013 (those I've read that is), I found these to be the most edifying and/or interesting. I had trouble whittling it down to 10, so here are the top 15. Here they are, in alphabetical order, along with a one-line review of each:

C. S. Lewis: A Life by Alister McGrath - The new standard in Lewis biographies.

Covenantal Apologetics: Principles and Practice in Defense of Our Faith by K. Scott Oliphint - A helpful addition to the literature on presuppositional apologetics, though I still prefer Frame's Apologetics to the Glory of God.

The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology by Pascal Denault - It turns out that the Covenant Theology of the early Particular Baptists bears a striking resemblance to the (New) Covenant Theology of last year's Kingdom through Covenant.

Does God Desire All to Be Saved? and Five Points: Toward a Deeper Experience of God's Graceby John Piper (Yeah, I cheated. I counted these as one because they are both so short) - Piper packs a lot of very big truths into these two small books.

Echoes of Eden: Reflections on Christianity, Literature, and the Arts by Jerram Barrs - Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, Austen, and Shakespeare!

Engaging with Keller: Thinking through the Theology of an Influential Evangelical edited by Iain D. Campbell and William M. Schweitzer - This book deals thoughtfully (and charitably) with some of the more troubling aspects of Tim Keller's teaching.

From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective edited by David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson - The definitive work on definite atonement.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright -Though not written from a Christian perspective, Going Clear offers a chilling account of the story behind America's most secretive and dangerous cult.

Kingdom Come: The Amillennial Alternative by Sam Storms - Waldron's End Times Made Simple is to be preferred for brevity and clarity, but this looks to be the new standard work on Amillennialism.

The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ by Bruce Ware - Though written at a popular level, it would not surprise me if this became the new standard work on the humanity of Christ.

The New Calvinism Considered: A Personal and Pastoral Assessment by Jeremy Walker - Though I consider myself one of the "new Calvinists," I wholeheartedly agree with nearly everything Walker writes in this critique of the movement.

Recovering Classic Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry by Greg Thornbury - Thornbury makes a case for the recovery of the robust Christian philosophy and theological prologomena of Carl Henry.

Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved by J. D. Greear - A helpful critique of easy-believism and decisionism along with a clear articulation of the biblical doctrines of faith, repentance, and assurance.

Tough Topics: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions by Sam Storms - While I don't agree with his defense of continuationism, other than that I think Storms offers a great treatment on each one of these tough topics.

What Is Biblical Theology? by James Hamilton - A helpful distillation of Hamilton's much larger God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment.

Honorable Mentions:
  • Covenant Theology: A Baptist Distinctive edited by Earl Blackburn
  • Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung
  • The Gospel Call and True Conversion by Paul Washer
  • Jesus on Every Page by David Murray
  • A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture by Keith Mathison
  • Strange Fire by John MacArthur

In addition to the great books of 2013 that I actually read, there were a lot of great books released this year that I just didn't have the time to read. I thought it would be a real shame not to mention them, so here they are:

Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat by James Bratt  

Antinomianism: Reformed Theology's Unwelcome Guest? by Mark Jones

Bound Together: How We Are Tied to Others in Good and Bad Choices by Chris Brauns 

Calvinism: A History by Darryl Hart

Can You Believe It's True? Christian Apologetics in a Modern and Postmodern Era by John Feinberg

The History of the Renaissance World by Susan Wise Bauer

The Intellectual World of C. S. Lewis by Alister McGrath

The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments by Thomas Schreiner

Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Tom Nettles

The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution by Barry Asmus and Wayne Grudem

Seeking the City: Wealth, Poverty, and Political Economy in Christian Perspective by Chad Owen Brand and Tom Pratt Jr.

Two Things You Must Do to Be Saved by Sam Waldron

What Is the Meaning of Sex? by Denny Burk

What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Jesus' Bible edited by Jason DeRouchie

The best books of 2013 are available at Amazon. You can support the blog by using one of our Amazon Associate links to do your book shopping:

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