Best Reading & Listening of 2017

Books

A Definitive Look at Oneness Theology: In the Light of Biblical Trinitarianism, (4th Edition — Revised, Updated, and Expanded) by Edward Dalcour

This was a must read for us, considering the context we work in. Oneness Pentecostalism is everywhere, along with Jehovah’s Witness and Liberal unitarians. Reading this book was simply a matter of responsibility. It quickly became a favorite read.

Oneness theology is deadly heresy. To deny the Trinity is to deny God himself, who is Triune, one God in three distinct persons. To deny the Trinity is to deny the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son (co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit) incarnate, the only mediator between God and men. To lose the Trinity is to lose the plan of redemption revealed to us in Scripture. Oneness theology is a very present false teaching and every Christian must be prepared to engage it and refute it. This book is the place to go to help you do that. At the same time, you will be personally edified as you understand the Triune God’s self-revelation better. (Available in PDF)

This is not a popular level book. You will be learning some Greek grammar, which is very useful.

War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles by Paul David Tripp

Read this one with the wifey, and we can’t recommend it enough. No angle of communication was left untouched. This is absolutely essential reading. Paul Tripp gets to the heart of the issue. There are also helpful questions after each chapter.

Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice by Bryan Chapell

Such a wonderful resource. Very needed in a context where worship isn’t understood.

Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry edited by Thomas K. Ascol

I absolutely love pastoral theology. It’s something I’ve always been into. I bought this book a few years ago, but never read the whole thing. It’s a collection of essays (in the form of letters) by several contributors, so there’s no order to read it in. I read the topics I wanted, and never completed it. But I determined to read the whole thing from start to finish. It’s such a good resource. There a dozens of blog posts just waiting to be written.

The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther and The Expository Genius of John Calvin, by Steven Lawson

Since it’s the 500th year of the Reformation. This is the preaching duo. These are great books, and I would make them required reading for a preaching class.In our context, the preaching in churches that claim to be “Reformed” doesn’t even resemble the preaching of the Reformation. The Reformation was a reformation of the pulpit, and the church needs reformation today, and that means a reformation of the pulpit, again. These books will make you hungry for reformational preaching (if you aren’t already).

The Necessity of Reforming the Church by John Calvin

Since it’s the 500th year of the Reformation. And excellent, short read. If you want to know why the Reformation was necessary, then read what one of the Reformers has to say. And then you can compare his record to what’s going on in the church, today.

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer

Now I finally know why this is a classic.

The Presbyterian Conflict by Edwin Rian

FREE. Absolutely essential reading for any Reformed or Presbyterian, in any age. The decline in orthodoxy can happen any time. Knowing how it happened before can help us prevent it from happening, again. Even now, I see this bit of history repeating itself, while professing Presbyterians are blissfully unaware of what’s going on. This should be required reading for a church history class.

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition

FREE. I finally decided to read the Directory of Public Worship, the Form of Presbyterian Church Government, and the Directory of Family Worship. I can definitely see why some denominations have simply adopted the Westminster Standards, along with these subordinate documents (the Directory and Form of Government), as their church constitution. This eBook also includes the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, the Preface by Sundry English Divines, Mr. Manton’s Epistle to the Reader, The Sum of Saving, Knowledge, The National Covenant, The Solemn League and Covenant, and The Acknowledgment of Sins.

How Can I Be Blessed? by R.C. Sproul (Crucial Questions Series)

In a context where everyone (i.e., in the church) thinks of “blessing” in exclusively materialistic terms, this book was so refreshing. R.C. Sproul expounds the Beatitudes. And I finally figured out where that word actually comes from (hint: it’s not “attitude”). Even though it’s a short little book, it is so rich. Read it, because it’s free.

How Should I Think About Money? by R.C. Sproul (Crucial Questions Series)

Also free. A really helpful book about something few Christians understand, myself included.

Foundations of Christian Education: Addresses to Christian Teachers by Louis Berkhof & Cornelius Van Til

I had read all of this, except for two of the chapters by Berkhof. A friend finally gave me a hardcopy of this book. It’s excellent, and essential reading for anyone that has any kind of educational responsibility. Especially for Christian teachers in a school context.

Podcasts

The Jerusalem Chamber

God’s providence brought 2017 a brand new podcast: The Jerusalem Chamber.

Anybody who takes Christianity seriously should be listening to this podcast. Four pastors discuss the Westminster Confession of Faith, paragraph by paragraph. Any who want to learn more from the Confession should be listening to this podcast. I taught the Westminster Standards twice last year, and so I read several commentaries on the Confession. But, to my surprise, this podcast hits notes that none of the commentaries do. It’s quite impressive, and extremely helpful. I highly recommend this podcast. Make it a top priority.

Theocast

Funny fact: I was reading Byron Forrest Yawn’s blog way back in 2010-2012, when I was still in an evangelical non-denominational denomination. So when I discovered this year that he was doing a podcast, I started listening immediately.

I have a lot in common with the guys on this podcast. A background of fundamentalist, evangelical pietism. And then making the slow, difficult journey to confessional, Reformed orthodoxy. They subscribe to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, and that’s okay. There’s so much here for confessional Presbyterians to profit from. Especially if you weren’t born Presbyterian. Their older episodes on pietism and coming out of evangelicalism are quite good. I have really enjoyed the latest episodes dealing with ministry. I made it a goal to listen to every episode, but I forgot if I caught up yet.

Classes

The Lord’s Prayer — R. Albert Mohler (Ligonier)

This is one of the things I did for “private exercise” on the Lord’s Day. Albert Mohler is such a joy to listen to on any subject. The Lord’s Prayer is so common that it’s always good to study it further. I highly recommend this teaching series. I can’t wait to read his forthcoming book: The Prayer That Turns the World Upside Down.

Educational Ministry of the Church — John Muether (Reformed Theological Seminary)

Being in the educational world now, I take opportunities to continue to learn. This seminary class was helpful. There was a proper emphasis on catechizing. I especially liked the guest teacher. Lot’s of good stuff for further thought.

Doctrine of God — K. Scott Oliphint (Westminster Theological Seminary)

Very good. On a personal note, I really like Oliphint’s teaching style, tone, and sense of humor. Not everybody does (I did talk to a former student of his). I thought he was hilarious.

Reformation Profiles — Stephen Nichols (Ligonier)

We decided to watch this because 2017 marked the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. And I love biographies. This was such a great series. Nichols teaches the 5 Solas of the Reformation, and how each sola was “fleshed out” in a person during that time, from Martin Luther to Lady Jane Grey. Such a great class. I highly recommend it as an introduction to the Reformation.

A Survey of Church History, Part 1 (AD 100-60) — W. Robert Godfrey (Ligonier)

Excellent class. Church history is so important, so the wife and I watched this together. He teaching style is simple, easy to understand. I recommend this.

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