Theology and Apologetics Books Online

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Ray Pritchard links to some fairly extensive lists of Christian books online, a few of which I'm very glad to recommend. You can browse through yourself to see the comprehensiveness of what's now online.

F.F. Bruce's The Historical Reliability of the New Testament is the first comparison I know of between the New Testament documents and other literature at the same time, concluding that the standards classicists use for determining authenticity make the New Testament come out as the most likely to be authentic of any ancient documents (where authenticity isn't about the proof of all its content but the reliability of its transmission and the origin in the general time period and setting it claims to be from and therefore its value as a source about early Christianity).

Two works by Jonathan Edwards come with my strongest recommendations. On the Freedom of the Will played a large part in my early thinking on the issue (though my views as they stand are much more informed by contemporary philosophical debate and D.A. Carson's Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility, the best treatment of the Bible (and intertestamental literature) on this issue that I've seen, and R.C. Sproul's Chosen By God was the first work besides the Bible that got me thinking explicitly along these lines).

The other work by Edwards that I recommend highly is A Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections, which came out of his reflections on the Great Awakening and all the spurious conversions amist the genuine ones. His distinction between the two relies on what he calls religious affections, which you might think of as somewhere between what we nowadays call the mind and the heart and include the fruit of the Spirit. A genuine conversion involves a transformation of these religious affections. This is the classic work on that sort of issue.

John Calvin's Institutes on the Christian Religion is a masterpiece of systematic theology, and he doesn't even really get to the doctrines that eventually became labeled Calvinism until the end. Also, all of Calvin's commentaries are online now.

Finally, I'll link to John Piper and Wayne Grudem's Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, though it's with some hesitation. I'm not happy with most of what's been published on this subject, and the stuff I like a lot is mostly at the academic level and not very readable to the average Christian. I've got mixed feelings about this book. The exegetical and theological section is very good, at least most of the chapters (each is by someone different). The introductory stuff is sometimes good but at a number of points makes me cringe, since it doesn't represent very well the position that I think is biblical. I haven't looked at most of the second half of the book, but I suspect some of it is good and some not. My favorite book on the subject is out-of-print, and the contributions by Craig Blomberg and Thomas Shreiner to this book are also very good. Craig Keener and Linda Bellville also have chapters in that book, and they're top-notch biblical scholars who probably best represent the view I disagree with. Anything else I would recommend is either only in scholarly journals or in a technical enough anthology that I wouldn't recommend it to most readers of this blog. I do plan to post on this subject soon, so I'll probably say some more specific things about the literature on the topic then.

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End of Week Roundup from the evangelical outpost on September 18, 2004 3:14 PM

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I'm curious to know what issues you have with the Piper/Grudem book - Recovering... Could you elaborate on a few of these if you have the time.
The book has attained to a "Bible" status in the area. Its a first book that a compy will thump you with.

Also, if you have not read it, you really should. Jonathan Edward's, The End to Which God Created the World, is mind boggling. Absolutely ! It is probably his best work ever. It is also the most rewarding work of his that ANYONE could read. I dont want to tell you what it is about, cuz. that in part ruines the story. Its happened to me.

God Bless,
Raj

Just wanted to add ... the pace with with books are coming out on this topic is pretty incredible. If you havent, you ought to take a look around on amazon to see some of the new works. Of particular interest to you might be, Men and Women in Church, by Sarah Sumner, who graduated from TEDS, and Slaves, Women & Homosexual's by William Webb from Dallas TS.

The 2nd book(egal) has been highly influential ... in my church and also elsewhere. I suspect its something that you would have to have keen mind in order to see the issues therein.

GB,
Raj

The thing that annoyed me the most about Piper and Grudem's introductory material was the stuff about gender roles within the workplace or the civic realm. There's nothing even remotely approaching that within the Bible. Church leadership, in particular teaching men authoritatively, comes up. Husband-wife relations comes up. Nothing else does.

Also, they sound at times as if they're assuming particular ways of how husbands and wives should assign roles are normative, and some of the ones they pick are a little odd, given that nothing biblical supports them. For instance, Americans assume that if you have roles within a marriage then the husband deals with fixing cars, fixing things around the house, and so on, and the wife cooks, cleans, etc. I see no biblical warrant for assigning any particular roles besides loving as Christ loved the church, submitting as Christ submits eternally to the Father and as the church submits to Christ, headship, and that sort of thing.

The third thing that worries me is the scientific portion. If they've read Anne Fausto-Sterling's work explaining how what in actuality is a biological difference could still come from social differences in raising children, and they've been able to meet her criticisms well, then I have no problem with saying that science tells us of real biologically important sex differences. Fausto-Sterling acknowledges some of these anyway, but I've seen complementarians smooth over the distinction between a biologically-determined difference and a socially-determined biological difference. As I said, I haven't read that portion, but that's what worries me.

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