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Home: Recommended Resources: Recommend Reading

Apologetics

"Kingdom of the Cults"
Walter Martin
This classic was probably the first comprehensive study of the major cults ever to be published. Dr. Martin provides an historical overview of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and other groups like the Baha'i Faith and Zen Buddhism, and his study makes for compelling reading. He also examines the main theological errors of each cult and interacts with their teachings from a biblical perspective. Subsequent re-prints have updated some of the material, as well as added new reviews of different cults.

"Understanding the Times"
David Noebel
Noebel's massive study of the philosophical foundations of secular humanism, Marxism and biblical Christianity. He examines how each of the worldviews approach all the major areas of society and demonstrates the superiority of biblical Christianity. He covers 10 main topics: theology, philosophy, ethics, biology, psychology, sociology, law, politics, economics, and history. I would prefer that his defense of Christianity be better grounded in the text of scripture, but overall, this is one of the best works available exposing the anti-God presuppositions and their deterimental effects upon our world.

The Doctrines of Salvation

"Beyond Five Points"
Ernest Reisinger and D. Matthew Allen
Written by two SBC pastors who desire to see the Southern Baptists return to their historic, Calvinistic roots. The authors write charitably, with a heart of love for the SBC denomination, even though they present some pointed critiques of how the SBC has slid from solid orthodoxy. They begin by documenting how Calvinism had been the affirmed conviction of all the founding men of the SBC. They then move to a biblical study and devote a chapter to each of the five points of doctrine. Following their discussion of each of the individual points, they present a study of the Arminian viewpoint and the heretical theology of open theism. They also answer all the objections leveled by their non-Calvinist detractors who currently oppose them and their work among Southern Baptists. This is a great introductory book for those interested in studying the Doctrines of Grace.

"The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended and Documented"
David Steele and Curtis Thomas
This short, little book has introduced generations of Christians to the biblical doctrines of grace, what has historically been nicknamed as "Calvinism." The two authors give a brief overview of the history behind the debate between Calvinists and their theological detractors, the Arminian Remonstrants. They outline all five heads of Calvinistic doctrine: man's inability, God's sovereign election, Christ's definite atonement, God's effectual grace, and the perseverance of the saints. After their discussion, each of the doctrines are fully documented with all of the relevant scriptural passages being listed. The book has recently been revised and updated and now includes an extensive bibliography listing all the major books written that address Calvinism.

"No Place for Sovereignty: What's Wrong With Freewill Theism"
By R.K. McGregor-Wright
This probably hands down the best book that addresses the core distinction between monergism and synergism. The author explores all the avenues of the freewill theory and interacts with all the key objections the system raises against its detractors. For example, the supposed dilemma between divine sovereignty and human responsibility and the so-called problem of evil. The opening chapter of the book provides a fabulous historic overview of the development of freewillism throughout Church History, something that is overlooked by other books addressing this debate. Furthermore, each chapter ends with a selective bibliography that recommends other books and journal articles that address each of the specific subjects studied by the author. There is a helpful glossary of terms to aid those who may not be initiated in historic theology.

"The Potter's Freedom"
James White
A well written rebuttal to Norman Geisler's horribly muddled book, "Chosen, But Free." Dr. White defends the biblical doctrines of saving grace against Geisler's modified synergistic Thomism that teaches man must co-operate with God to secure their salvation. Through the course of his rebuttal, he highlights all the major doctrines of salvation and places them in their biblical context. A person doesn't need to read Geisler's book in order to benefit from White's. It is an excellent introduction to the historic debate between Calvinism and their various non-Calvinist detractors. It is both well argued, and easy to read.

General Theology

"A Body of Divinity"
Thomas Watson
I cannot recommend highly enough the published sermons of Thomas Watson. This 17th century pastor is the most readable of all the Puritans in print. The word pictures he employs to illustrate theological truth makes the biblical text come alive. His sermons are convicting to the heart, penetrating to the soul, and his approach is to bring theology into the practical realm of the Christian walk. A Body of Divinity is Watson's sermons on the Westminister Confession of Faith and the entire book is a rich storehouse of biblical preaching on the attributes and nature of God, man, sin and the work of Christ on the cross. For those who are uninitiated in the works of Thomas Watson, I would also recommend two shorter sermon collections, All Things for Good, which is an exposition of Romans 8:28, and The Godly Man's Picture, Watson's series of messages highlighting the true marks of a spiritual Christian.

"Profiting from the Word"
A.W. Pink
The writings of A.W. Pink have been a blessing for me since early in my Christian walk. Profiting from the Word was the first Christian book that I read, and it exposed me to his wonderful pen. It is a short, but penetrating book, that discusses how the Christian should be gaining spiritually from the study of scripture.

"The Sovereignty of God"
A.W. Pink
This book alone did more to shape my thinking about the great and awesome God that saved me and to whom I owe allegiance. I believe many of the theological errors, as well as individual anxieties that often consume individuals, have a root in wrong-headed thinking about God and His sovereignty. This book is a remedy to this wrong thinking. I would recommend picking up the Baker Book House edition, because it contains the full, original work by Mr. Pink. There is another edition by The Banner of Truth Trust, but they take the liberty to remove a couple of chapters from the original work, because they wrongly believe they reflected Mr. Pink's immature, theological thought.

Christian History

"Hunted Heretic: The Life and Death of Michael Servetus"
Roland Bainton
Roland Bainton is one of the few Christian historians who writes in an engaging style. Though this is one of his lesser known works on the history of the Reformation, is is one of his more interesting. Hunted Heretic is the biography of Michael Servetus. Servetus has become something of a folk hero to those individuals opposed to Calvinism and the Doctrines of Grace. People from a fundamentalist background erroneously hold up Servetus as a Bible-believing Christian martyred by a monsterous regime enslaved to its unyielding systematic theology invented by the tyrannical John Calvin. The reality, however, as Dr. Bainton describes in his account, is that Servetus was a disturbed genuis who dabbled in a myriad of academic pursuits that involved new age patheism, astrology and a variety of other anti-Christian heresies. He was a brilliant medical student who tended toward emotional instability (to the point of "stalking" Calvin) that brought him into conflict with many of his teachers, employers and other state authorities and eventually his execution for heresy in Calvin's Geneva. The book is currently out of print, but may be available from a used book dealer. If it can be secured, it is a tremendous study of one of Church History's more bizarre characters.

"Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and The New Evangelicalism"
George M. Marsden
George Marsden's fascinating work detailing the founding of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena California, its abandonment of biblical inerrancy, and its slow, spiraling demise into unorthodoxy. Marsden captures all the history behind Fuller's original intention to break from the shackles of separatism and legalism that charactericized early 20th century fundamental Christianity in America. He then tells the dramatic story about the various personalities on the faculty and all the tension, disagreements and feuds that arose between them due in part to the encroaching compromise of biblical truth by some of the professors. Eventually, we watch the total departure of the seminary from biblical inerrancy as those professors remaining loyal to the authority and integrity of scripture are squeezed out by those professors who willing reject those truths so as to maintain respect in the so-called community of scholars and academia. The book is emotionally wrenching to read, and I actually reached a point where it was difficult to turn the page out of sorrow, however, it is an excellent study that documents the serious ramifications upon our Christian faith when biblical inerrancy is rejected.

"Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism"
Iain Murray
A fascinating story of the people and events that shaped the first and second Great Awakwenings in early American history. The specific account of the theology of Charles G. Finney and the negative impact his revival ministry had upon the evangelical perspective of the American church is particularly eye-opening. The book is insightful, as well as an easy read that provides a riviting snapshot of early American Christianity.

Secular Non-ficition

"The Arms of Krupp"
William Manchester
The late William Manchester's masterfully written account of the Krupp dynasty and the pivotal role it played in shaping European history as Germany's weapon's manufacturer. The book is massive, but it is a richly detailed account of the Krupp family that started in the late 1500s and spanned all the way to 1968. The most engaging sections are the biographies of Alfred and Alfried Krupp. In the 1800's, Alfred turned the family business into one of the world's largest weapon's dealers with his use of steel canon. His great-grandson, Alfried, was a confidant to Hitler, and during World War 2, sanctioned the use of slave labor in his factories. The book may be overwhelming for some readers, but Manchester was a superb story teller who brought to life some of the most eccentric people who have ever lived. A must read for World War 2 buffs.

"D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944"
Stephen Ambrose
In my opinion, this is Ambrose's best historical account of World War II. The author and his son interviewed nearly 1,500 Allied veterans of the invasion of Normandy, along with several of the German defenders. He then masterfully weaves together all of their personal testimonies to present one of the most vivid pictures of the preparation of D-Day, and the actual invasion on the 6th of June, 1944. He fully documents the paratrooper drop the night before and all of the beachhead invasions by the American, British and Canadian troops. A good quarter of his book is devoted to the gruesome events that took place on Omaha beach. Some of the horrific testimony by survivors raised bumps on my arms. Ambrose's sequel, Citizen Solider, is also a worthy read. He uses the same style of veteran testimony, and details the liberation of Europe to the fall of Berlin nearly a year later. Both books are unforgettable.

"Skunk Works"
Ben R. Rich and Leo Janos
The historical account behind Lockheed's top secret aircraft facility nicknamed Skunk Works. The late Ben Rich served as one of the chief engineers working under director Kelly Johnson and his retelling of the development of the U-2 spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth fighter, reads like a fast paced Tom Clancy novel, but it is the real thing. Interspersed with the historical narrative, the authors provide personal, testimonial highlights from many of the pilots who flew the remarkable machines that add a rich texture to the history behind these aircraft. A person does not have to be an aviation buff to appreciate Mr. Rich's book; anyone will love the declassified history it provides. This book is especially dear to my heart because several of the volunteers who have worked for me over the years are retired from Skunk Works. I have loved hearing their stories behind the stories Ben Rich tells.


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