December 29, 2014

What Are the Best Books of 2014?

There were a lot of great books released in 2014. Here (in alphabetical order) are my ten favorite books from 2014:
The ESV Reader's Bible - This is an incredibly readable (and beautiful) new edition of the excellent ESV translation.

Everyone's a Theologian by R. C. Sproul - Sproul has gifted the church with a wonderfully readable introduction to Systematic theology.

God's Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement by R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec - In this short but substantive book, Geivett and Pivec offer a biblical response to a growing (and dangerously unbiblical) movement within Charismatic and Pentecostal circles. Also, check out the larger and more scholarly A New Apostolic Reformation? A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement.

The Kingdom of God: A Baptist Expression of Covenant and Biblical Theology by Jeffrey Johnson - A wonderfully readable and unique exposition of the theological system that has come to be known as 1689 federalism.

The Most Encouraging Book on Hell Ever by Thor Ramsey - This book also might be the best book on Hell ever.

Southern Fried Faith: How the Bible Belt Confuses Christ and Culture by Rob Tims - I highly recommended this one for anyone who lives and ministers in the Bible Belt.

The Stories We Tell: How TV and Movies Long For and Echo the Truth by Mike Cosper - The only bad thing about this book is that it is the book I hoped to write one day. Unfortunately, Mike Cosper wrote it first.

Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World by Andreas Kostenberger, Darrell Bock, and Josh Chatraw - This short, popular-level work of biblical apologetics could just as easily be titled Why Bart Ehrman Is Wrong About Everything. Again, you should also check out the larger and more academic Truth in a Culture of Doubt: Engaging Skeptical Challenges to the Bible.

What Is Your Worldview? by James N. Anderson - The most original apologetics book in years. Christian philosophy meets the choose-your-own-adventure book.

Why God Created the World: A Jonathan Edwards Adaptation by Ben Stevens - This contemporary adaption of Edwards' A Dissertation Concerning the End for Which the World Was Created is an excellent introduction to the God-glorifying Calvinistic theology of Jonathan Edwards (it was also my favorite book of the year).

In addition to my top ten, here are my top picks from some of my other favorite genres:

BEST IN LANGUAGE ARTS: Gywnne's Grammar: The Ultimate Introduction to Grammar and the Writing of Good English by N. M. Gwynne

BEST IN PARANORMAL: American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings in America by Linda S. Godfrey

BEST IN POLITICS/CURRENT EVENTS: No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U. S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald

BEST IN TRUE CRIME: Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld by Jake Halpern

And, finally, here are two great books that didn't quite make the list:

Chance and the Soveriegnty of God: A God-Centered Approach to Probability and Random Events by Vern Poythress
Taking God At His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me by Kevin DeYoung

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December 26, 2014

Are You One of "#the 15"?

J. D. Hall:
. . . who are #the15?

1. #the15 are those who refuse to be shamed into silence.

2. #the15 are those who are willingly sacrificing our own reputations among men for the sake of God’s holiness among the nations.

3. #the15 are those who will sacrifice our careers and denominational or organization advancement in order to continue speaking prophetic truth to false teachers and those who sell false teachings.

4. #the15 are those who do not mind being made fools for the sake of the Gospel.

5. #the15 are those who will not relent to ask tough questions until we receive truthful answers.

6. #the15 are those who will not be intimidated by power or Christian celebrity.

7. #the15 are those who know people are listening, but would speak even if no one were.

8. #the15 are those who know that God has not called us to success, but to faithfulness.

9. #the15 are those who know this modern day Downgrade is reality, and will warn others of its seductive appeal and destructive nature.

10. #the15 are those who, despite being ignored, ridiculed or attacked are not going away any time soon.
Count me in.

Read the rest here.

December 06, 2014

Southern Baptists in an Age of White Guilt Manipulators

Russell Moore (along with several other prominent Southern Baptists) seems to suffer from a severe case of white guilt.

J. D. Hall:
[Moore] is clearly a man who feels strongly about racism, isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade, and is willing to speak clearly on why racism is sinful and just plain wrong. . . . While Moore should be applauded for speaking clearly on the issue of sin, he shouldn’t be applauded for reacting and responding to social issues in presumptive and irresponsible ways. Moore has made the Garner tragedy about race. To Moore, this is a race talking point. Why? Is it because this is out of a page of the social-progressive handbook? Must it always be about race?
Read the rest here.

Who Watches the Watchmen? (#5)

Joel McDurmon:
. . . while most people are decrying the fact that these police officers receive better treatment, the greater tragedy is not that police officers received it, but that thousands of non-police officers do not—when they in fact probably could and should. . . . the point of concern should not be that officers get this treatment, but rather that everyone else does not.
Read the rest here.

December 03, 2014

Who Watches the Watchmen? (#4)

More on police corruption at The Federalist.
On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was choked to death by a New York City policeman. On December 3, 2014, a grand jury chose not to indict the officer who killed him. And unlike the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, which was murky and muddled at best, Garner’s completely unnecessary death was captured on video.

And what was his crime? . . . his apparent crime was selling cigarettes without paying taxes on them. And for that, he was killed.
Read the rest here.

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