Thoughts for Young Men — J.C. Ryle
(September 7, 2020) This book can can only be described as timeless. It is just as relevant today as it was when originally written. Ryle saw the issues plaguing the young men of society and the solution, a strong foundation in Christ. Ryle lays out information in a practical manner, and while he keeps the book brief, he packs a punch that will leave you staggering with the weight of the matter being discussed. I plan on going back and reading this book multiple times to glean wisdom from Ryle, and highly recommend this short read to all young men.
The Baptized Body — Peter J. Leithart
(September 7, 2020) When I picked up this book to read at the suggestion of a friend, I figured this was a book arguing the position of paedobaptism. However, what I found was a book on a different aspect of baptism that I found equally as interesting. This book discusses baptismal efficacy. It bypasses the argument on the means and mode of baptism and asks the question “What does baptism do to the baptized?” Leithart goes on to portray a high view of baptism. He states that the passages in the scripture that say baptism, water, kingdom of God, etc. all mean what they say they mean in a literal sense. If the waters of baptism cleanse you, unite you to Christ, and “save you” then that is what it does. However, this is not a book that argues for baptismal regeneration. It takes a more “reformed” position than that. The book clarifies how baptism relates to membership in the church, what benefits are bestowed, and the reality of apostasy along with the peace given to the saints that their salvation cannot be lost. It was a complex, yet interesting read. In the introduction, Dr. Leithart states that he hopes this book can be looked at in the future, past any theological bickering, and be used by a reader to study the subject of baptismal efficacy. I believe that he has accomplished his goal.
Baptists in America: A History — Thomas S. Kidd & Barry G. Hankins
(July 3, 2020) This book gives a detailed history of the various Baptist theologians, denominations, seminaries, and movements from colonial time to modern-day. The authors did their research and described in great detail the highs and lows of Baptists, from discrimination and persecution in colonial times, the expansion of Baptists congregations in the United States as the spear-headed the movement for religious liberty and separation of church and state. The book talks about the victories as Baptists established denominations and seminaries, and low points from the various denominations not taking strong stances on slavery leading up to the Civil War and the fight for civil rights. They discussed the various ideological vantage points that define the growth of the Southern Baptist Convention and how that led to the current state of the convention. This book combined some of my favorite subjects: history and theology. I thoroughly enjoyed this book
The Theopolitan Vision — Peter J. Leithart
(June 24, 2020) There are many threats facing the modern church including secularism, liberal theology, seeker-sensitivity, apathy, and general sleepiness that wants the church to stay in its’ own lane. “The Theopolitan Vision” offers an alternative to this. This book talks about the church being a community for the worship of God and the fellowship of believers and through this a light to the communities that these churches exist in. That there is a heavenly city coming, and that it starts here with the church and spreads out through the community building a model of the city of God here on earth. Through Christ’s commission, we go out and serve our church, work at our jobs, live in our communities for the Glory of God. By serving Christ, we are builders of this earthly model of the heavenly city. I really enjoy Leithart’s writing style. He has a way of being descriptive but also is able to keep it simple for lay-people to read and understand. I also found a lot of what he said about the Lord’s Supper to be truly inspiring. His discussion of the unity of the church at the Lord’s Supper being both a symbol of unity among believers but a statement to the world about where the church stands culturally. Coming from a Southern Baptist background, there were things in the book that were new to me and that I would not have put in the time think through and thus do not fully adhere to. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and there was a lot to learn and take away from it.
Theopolitan Liturgy — Peter J. Leithart
(March 26, 2020) Many evangelical protestant churches have abandoned what they view as “tired rituals” and instead look to society for the newest fun and exciting promotion to get people into the door. Many have forgotten the objective of The Lord’s Service is meant for renewal of the believer and that the Holy Spirit is who regenerates lost souls and that the gospel is what is needed to bring people into the church and into the Christian faith. Theopolitan Liturgy gives biblical basis that these rituals are actually liturgical steps with a biblical basis that bring us to the objective of renewal on a Sunday. This book provides basis that liturgy is primarily God’s actions with our response. He calls us into his house with a call to worship, he forgives us with a common prayer of absolution and forgiveness, He speaks to us and edifies us with his word, and then the service culminates with God inviting us to his table for the Lord’s Supper. The book pulls its support from both the Old and New Testament. It is a good primer to this outlook on liturgical worship and is a great jumping-off point for those interested in Protestant liturgical history and basis
Ploductivity — Douglas Wilson
(February 13, 2020) This book explores work and wealth, and technology’s relationship with each. Wilson explains that technology is a form of wealth. Our technology stands as assets to us and are products of our wealth and money. Therefore, passages within scripture that discuss wealth and money are helpful in examining our relationship with technology. Technology, like money, is a tool that can drive productivity, entrepreneurial endeavors, and our mission to glorify God with our craft and workmanship. Therefore, we should not reject and hide from technological advances. However, technology can be abused just like money. It can lead to greed and idolatry, and we should not artificially put technology up on a pedestal. Wilson further explores productivity and discusses the benefit of plodding. Time is an asset, and we should not waste it. Even small amounts of time can be used to bring us closer to our goals. We should plod by chipping away at big projects and overtime we can accomplish big tasks in time that we originally did not think that we had. Ploductivity and the value of time also assist us in examining projects. We should prioritize our time in a God-glorifying way, and not view every project as urgent, if every project is urgent, no project is urgent. This book was a good read and it will be a good resource to review in times of business and hectic work schedules.
The Household and the War for the Cosmos: Recovering the Christian Vision for the Family — C. R. Wiley
“Your household is not just a shelter from a war zone; it is the command center from where you launch your attacks. It’s this vision of the world, with the Christian family at the heart, that modern parents desperately need to recover.” — Canon Press
(January 13, 2020) This book explores the biblical basis for the family as the center of the cultural, economic, and societal “cosmos”. The book provides a lot of background detail on it tracing it back to the original Greek and Hebrew language in the Bible. The author describes the shift away from this worldview during at the start of the industrial revolution and gives his basis for a move back to the home being the “cosmos” for society. I enjoyed this book because it went into detail on family structure, but also offered practical knowledge on steps to move back.