Six Contemporary Theology Books That Deserve Wider Reading

I don’t read a whole lot of contemporary theology books these days. I tend to buy more “reference” books like commentaries when I have money for books. And when I have time for free reading, I tend to like reading older “classics” (like something in the Puritan Paperbacks or Popular Patristics series) or something outside of the field of theology altogether. Of course, there are some modern day theological books that I have benefited enormously from, as many others have—books like J.I. Packer’s Knowing God or Tim Keller’s The Reason for God, or so many of D.A. Carson’s expositions of…

Looking Back At Favorite Blog Posts and Series

I’ve been blogging for just over 6 years now. Its been a far more enriching experience than I had expected. My primary purpose in blogging has always been my own learning: I find that I learn best in a dialogical, two-stage process of both (1) reading and (2) writing. Stage 1 typically involves carefully reading a book with my pen in hand, making notes on the pages and inside the back cover as I struggle with how to place and understand the book. (Sometimes, of course, it could also be an article, movie, etc.) The key in this stage is…

(Re)recovering the Scandal of the Cross

Our first book for my seminar on the atonement was Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in the New Testament and Contemporary Contexts, by Joel Green and Mark Baker (IVP Academic, 2000, 2nd ed. in 2011). I learned a lot from reading it, and it certainly generated a great discussion in class last week. But on the whole I found the book’s criticism of penal substitutionary atonement (PSA) to be unconvincing and at times unfair. While the authors rightly emphasize the importance of interpreting texts and events within their cultural narrative, I felt they downplayed the extent to which…

Concluding Thoughts on DeYoung’s Hole in our Holiness

I’m grateful for Kevin DeYoung’s thoughtful response to my review of his The Hole in our Holiness. Instead of responding line-by-line, I wonder if it might be more helpful to comment more generally and more briefly on some things I’m learning through this discussion. 1) First, I just want to state my gratitude for the blessing of charitable dialogue among brothers in Christ. I think sometimes in the body of Christ we are so afraid of being or appearing divisive that we avoid frank discussion of different leanings we may have. Obviously, divisiveness is a real danger to be avoided;…

The Glory of the Atonement

Continuing with my atonement reading, I just finished reading The Glory of the Atonement: Biblical, Theological, and Practical Perspectives, ed. by Charles E. Hill and Frank A. James III (IVP Academic, 2004), a collection of essays on the atonement in honor of Roger Nicole. Its a fantastic book, one of the best contemporary theological books I have ever read. Its quite dense, nearing 500 pages with 20 essays, consistently of good quality. It examines the atonement from three angles: the Bible, church history, and practical theology. In the biblical section, the essays by J. Alan Groves on Isaiah 53, D.A….

Some Thoughts on Ruth Rosen’s Called to Controversy

I just finished reading Ruth Rosen’s Called to Controvesy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus (Thomas Nelson, 2012). It was a fascinating read which I found difficult to put down. In fact, I stayed up late last night, and woke up early this morning, to finish it. The book tells the story of Moishe Rosen, the founder of the evangelistic ministry Jews for Jesus, from the vantage point of Moishe’s daughter Ruth. One of the things that struck me was how honest Ruth was concerning her father’s shortcomings and flaws. (At times, in fact, I…