Books that have most influenced me

(In no particular order of importance)

Dostoevsky, Fyodor.  The Brothers Karamazov.  I don’t know how many times I’ve read this.    Probably had the most impact on me than any other book.

Dante, The Divine Comedy (particularly the Sayers edition).  Made me fall dangerously in love with medievalism.

Bavinck, Herman.  Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena

Wright, N. T.  Jesus and the Victory of God.   Wright even kindly autographed my copy.  The important point of this book’s inclusion is that it made the Synoptic gospels exciting again.  Let’s be honest, we Reformed types implicitly privilege Paul over the gospels.  I’m not fussing; it’s just a fact.  Everyone has a “canon within a canon.” That’s fine.  Even when we do like the Gospels, it is usually John over the Synoptics, since John allows for an easy move to God from Jesus.    Wright shows how the Synoptics can be the most exciting books in the Bible.

Murray, John.  Anything by him, but notably Redemption Accomplished and Applied.

Hodge, Charles.  Systematic Theology.   When van Tillianism became super popular in the 1980s, and with the publication of Frame’s Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, Hodge soon became scorned and a whipping boy among young Turks.   Yet, Hodge is superior on all points, even on those he is laughed at.

Asselt, Wilhelm van.  Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism.  Not only does it teach you the basics of Reformed scholasticism, it also teaches you how to think through theological topics.

Purves, Jock. Fair Sunshine

Turretin, Francis.  Institutes of Elenctic Theology.  Turretin’s genius is in identifying precisely the question at stake and answering only that question.  When young Calvinists debate Arminians, they often let the Arminian define the terms.  Unfortunately, this leads the Calvinist to defend positions which aren’t really Reformed.  Turretin (perhaps excepting Rutherford) is the best argument for Reformed theology.  If you think you have refuted Reformed theology but you haven’t read Turretin, then you have not refuted Reformed theology.

Muller, Richard A. Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, volumes 1 and 2 (I would include volumes 3 and 4, but Baker Academic hasn’t seen fit to publish them separately.  Thanks Baker!).  From 2009-2012 I operated with a faulty view of the Reformed tradition which I had gotten from Anchoretic apologists.  Muller’s works, by contrast, thoroughly and gently corrected every misunderstanding. Far from being stodgy, the Reformed Scholastics are a field of delight.

Calvin, John. Institutes of Christian Religion

Reid, Thomas.  Inquiry and Essays.  Most Reformed Kuyperians who bash common-sense realism haven’t dealt with it in any serious manner.  The fact that you just understood the sentence you read demonstrates the truth of CSR.

Muller, Richard A.  Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms.  This is the most important theological work I own.  If you spend a few minutes every day studying this book, you will know more theology than any seminarian of two years.

Shakespeare, William.   Any of his plays.   He writes with a “manly” rhythm.

Horner, Barry.  Future Israel:  Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged.  Far from being a Zionist tract, Horner is sensitive to the dialectic in Romans 11 and exposes some of the crasser movements in anti-millennial eschatology.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s