2011 Books of the Year

Because I try to stay on top of new theology book releases from Christian publishers, when I choose my books of the year, they are mostly from the field of Christian books. I do read many other books published by “secular” presses throughout the year, but I rarely read them in the same year they are published. This year, for example, I finally got around to reading Laura Hillenbrand’s incredible book Unbroken, although it was a 2010 release. And I do plan to read Walter Isaacson’s 2011 release Steve Jobs, but probably not for another year or so. So when I choose my favorite books for 2011 they are Christian books.

Choosing my top two favorites published in 2011 was no challenge. Here they are:

First, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New by G. K. Beale. The theme of “inaugurated eschatology” is not a new one in theology, but there doesn’t seem to have been many attempts to center a full theology of the Bible around the theme. Enter Beale. Beale’s work is a massive and excellent contribution, arguing that eschatology is not something relegated merely to the future. For Beale, the end-time new creation has already begun, a fact that permeates our Bibles. And he’s spot on.

Second, The Theology of Jonathan Edwards by Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott. In the last few years Yale has completed their online archive of the writings of Jonathan Edwards, so it was only a matter of time before we saw attempts to bring theological synthesis to his writings. This is the first major attempt. I’m certain more will follow in the future, but this one is a gem — readable, enjoyable, and a comprehensive look at the many God-centered facets of Edwards’ thinking. “One might interpret the whole of Edwards’s theology as the gradual, complex outworking of a vision of God’s beauty.” Bingo! In this sense McClymond and McDermott “get” Edwards’s theology.

And here is my full top-ten list:

  1. Greg Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (Baker)
  2. McClymond and McDermott, The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford)
  3. Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (Dutton)
  4. Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way (Zondervan)
  5. Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Abridged in One Volume (Baker)
  6. John Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God (P&R), technically released at the end of 2010.
  7. Jared Wilson, Gospel-Wakefulness (Crossway)
  8. Tim Keller, King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus (Dutton)
  9. Russell Moore, Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ (Crossway)
  10. DeYoung and Gilbert, What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission (Crossway)

On a related note, you can also find my books of the year for 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010.

Interview on Book Reading

By reading his blog and his books over the years I have a deepened respect for my friend Trevin Wax. If you don’t read his blog, you really should take the time to subscribe.

Today Trevin posted an interview with me on the topic of book reading and my new book Lit!. Trevin is an experienced interviewer and asks questions that get directly at important points. He asked questions like these:

  • What are the different ways one should read a book? Why should certain books be read one way and other books read another way? And how can you tell the difference?
  • How much time and attention should we give to classic literature?
  • How have you found classic literature to be spiritually beneficial?
  • You recommend marking up books. Why?
  • Name a few novels that you’d recommend Christians consider reading.
  • How can we read discerningly from Christians in other theological streams?

You can read the full interview here.

Book Recommendations Needed: Sibling Friendships

This request is much different than the last one. In this instance I’m looking for books that were written to help parents foster healthy sibling friendships among their children. I know books on this topic exist because I recall hearing about them long ago in the past, long before I became a parent. It is now apparent that I am a parent.

Special thanks to one well-read friend who suggests that I read the fiction book Enemy Brothers by Constance Savery. It looks really promising, especially for my boys.

Any other suggestions, fictional or otherwise, that will help my wife and I build sibling friendships in our home?