Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book Reviews/Recommended Reading from Summer 2013

Recommended Reading:
These are books that I've read this summer or recently that I feel should be recommended or reviewed for the benefit of my readers. 

New Covenant Theology: Description, Definition, and Defense by Tom Wells and Fred Zaspel was an interesting read. It did, however, lack in its description, definition, and defense. The main problem I had with the book in its description was that the authors only really described how it was not Covenant Theology or Dispensationalism. And on that point, it certainly attacked Covenant Theology much more than it did Dispensationalism, which I thought (and still think) needed much more of a critique. It's definition was almost completely non-existent. Like the description section, the definition section also ended up disappointing me. Instead of focusing on its actual definition, it turned out to be more of a comparison; and in that it turned out to be more of a critique of Covenant Theology. The defense contained an exegesis of Matthew 5:17-20. It was not the worst exegesis I've ever read, but it was not very good. The Greek is often, but not always, transliterated, which is incredibly frustrating. The sporadic shift from the English to Greek alphabet and back to English is entirely confusing and highly annoying.
Honestly, the only really redeeming qualities of this book were that I know I side closer to Covenant Theology than I do with New Covenant Theology and that it made me think in terms of what the Christian's responsibility is concerning the law- as I have been raised in a Dispensationalist environment and have always been taught that the law has completely passed away, in contrast to what Christ says in Matt 5:17-20.
Anyway, I recommend it if not exclusively for that short section.

The Pleasures of God by John Piper is another Piper book that has greatly affected me. I had never thought of God in many of these ways. I'll try to keep this review shorter than the last, so I'll just write about the highlights. I was greatly affected by the chapters about God's pleasure in Creation, in Bruising His Son, in His Son, and in Election. These chapters were by far my favorite. Not only did it give me a good perspective, but it taught me some things I did not already know. I seriously enjoyed this book.

Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards is a powerful work. Edwards explains in three huge arguments his understanding of the human will as thought out through Scripture and philosophy. The only really confusing part of this book is (other than the convoluted nature of his syntax) those to whom he is often referring when mentioning certain arguments or answers, as these men are not in the mainstream these days. He mentions many such as "Mr. Chubb," "Mr. Locke," and many others. His arguments are long, but good. I'm sure they cannot be refuted by any short explanation or cross examination as he takes all possible questions into account. This work is a masterpiece of American theology and philosophy and should be read and appreciated as such. I have said it before and I will say it again: Edwards is the man.

Dracula by Bram Stoker is quite the interesting book and far different than what I expected. I highly recommend the Barnes & Noble edition, as it is very inexpensive and of a higher quality than most within its price-range. Anyway, to the book! The book itself is a grand story of horror. I enjoy horror movies very much but this is much different. It was written in 1897 and I find it is quite similar to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in the way it approaches horror. Not only is it a great story of terror, but it is really more of a display of Sin and Redemption. The part I found most compelling (if that is indeed the right word to use) was when Jonathan found himself entrapped in Dracula's castle- an example of our own condition in sin. It is a very interesting book, which has kept me quite entertained for some time now and I highly recommend it for leisure reading.

That's all for now, folks. But there is still more to come! Keep reading and get literate! I hope that you all enjoy the books and that they come as edifying and educating. 

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