After completing the 2017 reading goal of a hundred books, I decided to scale back in 2018 to make more time for other works. Although my reading time was diminished, I am quite thankful for what I was able to read, and the fruit that God has grown in my family and our ministry. Here is a list of what I read in 2018:
1. No Other God: A Practical Look at a Personal God by Pierre Viret
This book by the puritan Pierre Viret, who is garnering more attention as of late, is an explanation of the theology and application of the 1st Commandment. What makes this book stand out is that it is set in a fictional conversation of back and forth questions and answers.
This was an enjoyable issue of JCR. My favorite chapter was on Satan and himself by Greg Bahnsen. The most encouraging section was on the limitation of his kingdom regarding presence and power.
I have read a lot of books on Christian economics before this issue of JCR, so it was a quite slog to read.
4. Theonomy: An Informed Response (edited by Gary North)
This is one of the three books written in response to the embarrassing effort to refute Theonomy in the book Theonomy: A Reformed Critique. It was amazing to have the defamatory statements by Tim Keller exposed in the chapter written by Ray Sutton. If you are not theonomic in your Christianity, I do recommend reading the chapter by John Maphet where he deals with the backlash of the vilification of those who hold to Theonomy in the wake of Theonomy: A Reformed Critique.
5. Prophecy Wars by Gary Demar
As is his specialty, this is another little book that shows the excellencies of postmillennialism over other “end time” views. The first part of the book is follow up of sorts to the 3-way debate between Demar, Hamilton, and Waldron. The second deals with prophetic fetishes, such as “blood moons.”
6. Have you ever thought? by Fred R Swarbrick
This was an easy read, but worth a quick read over some coffee or tea in the morning. It is a collection of fictional conversations over various topics such as the existence of God. My favorite “talk” was between two Christians over the false teaching that we are to be unconditionally forgiving to others, even when they have done wrong against us.
Enjoyable, but not exactly my cup of tea as far as JCR volumes are concerned. Although, the essay by Ellen Meyers on the Russian Church and its thinking between 1900-1917.
This volume was stellar due to the chapter by Stephen Perks on limited liability, especially regarding the differences between him and Gary North on limited liability and the local church.
9. The Origin and Destiny of Man (The Coronation Series, #1) by Francis Nigel Lee
To mention one thing, I love when Lee brought up the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I have always heard that since Adam, man has always had the ten commandments, and the author put that on display when he showed how eating from the tree broke all ten of the commandments.
10. In the Midst of Your Enemies: Exposition and Application of 1 Samuel by Joel McDurmon
There are not many reformed and applicable commentaries out there, but this is one of them. His section explaining jury nullification in the case of Jonathan being sentenced to death for breaking his father’s stupid law was encouraging. A great read if you are privileged to get wrangled into jury duty.
11. Biblical Doctrines by B.B. Warfield
Chock-full of theological goodness. My favorite chapter in this volume of Warfield was Prophecies of St. Paul, in which his postmillennialism shines brightly. Here is just a tidbit from it:
“The method of Christ’s attack on the principalities and powers and world-rulers of this darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness, and the means by which He will work His victory, are declared at Ephesians 6:12; from which we learn – as we might have guessed from Romans 11:25, sq. – that Christians are His soldiers in this holy war, and it is through our victory that His victory is known.”
12. John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings (Vol 1) by John M. Frame
It was an okay read with little chapters ranging from various facets of generally reformed thinking.
13. Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen
Machen is considered a theological giant, and even though the content can make one go, “Really?” The things he is dealing with were raging debates at that time.
14. Biblical Solutions to Contemporary Problems: A Handbook by Rus Walton
A typical theonomic book covering large topics, laying down principles from Scripture, and then giving a couple of applications. For historical interest, it was written after the great disappointment that was Ronald Reagan.
15. Thine Is The Kingdom: Studies In The Postmillennial Hope (edited by Kenneth L. Gentry)
A collection of essays from various authors covering different facets of postmillennialism. My two favorite chapters from the book were “Psalm 110 and the Postmillennial Hope” by William O. Einwechter, and “Practicing Postmillennialism” by Jefferey A. Ventrella.
16. God’s Law In The Modern World: The Continuing Relevance Of Old Testament Law by Kenneth L. Gentry
The was a little book, coming in just under 100 pages. There are much better introductions to Faith for All of Life Christianity, such as A Conquering Faith listed below.
17. The Late Great Evangelical Church by Colonel Vaughn Donor
This book is a historical walkthrough to show how pietism had cropped up through Church history, and in what ways it has contributed the culturally irrelevant institutional churches of today.
18. The Samaritan Strategy: A New Agenda for Christian Activism by Colonel Vaughn Donor
A book calling for the Christians to engage in service to others as the means of dominion.
19. Ethics & God’s Law: An Introduction to Theonomy by William O. Einwechter
See the next book.
20. Walking in the Law of the Lord (Updated version of the book above) by William O. Einwechter
For those who want a beginner-academic level intro to theonomy, I would definitely recommend this title.
21. A Conquering Faith: Doctrinal Foundations for Christian Reformation by William O. Einwechter
This may be one of the best intros to the Christian religion. It’s short, concise, and calls the reader to an active faith.
22. An Eschatology of Victory by J. Marcellus Kik
My edition had the forward written by Rushdoony. I would recommend it to some looking for a preterist interpretation to Matthew 24 and Revelation 20.
23. English Bible Translations: By What Standard? by William O. Einwechter
A very short book arguing for the supremacy of the KJV, but does not fall into the fundamentalist KJVO camp. Honestly, not one of the best books defending the KJV, even though it is my preferred manuscript tradition.
24. Power of the Blood: A Christian Response to AIDS by David H. Chilton
This book was stunning. The gutsiness David Chilton had to deal with uncomfortable information, interpret it through a Biblical lens, and call for Christians to help those infected with AIDs. His approach to the subject was by far superior to Rus Walton’s treatment in his book listed above. This was written in the 80s when a lot of information was still coming out, so even though some of the medical findings have been found inaccurate, it doesn’t diminish the value of the work.
25. Infallibility: An Inescapable Concept by RJ Rushdoony
The author shows that infallibility is never non-existent, it is merely transferred to a different idol.
Lays down an intellectual foundation for defying tyrants that lift their wills above God’s.
27. Faith on Earth?: When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on earth? (Luke 18:8) by Lou Poumakis
Gives an excellent explanation to a passage of Scripture often misunderstood. He follows lock-step with Rushdoony’s school thought regarding eschatology.
28. Thy Will Be Done: When All Nations Call God Blessed by Ronald W. Kirk
Paints a picture of what a Christian community might look like if it followed its prayer of, “Thy will be done.” One of the most devotional books I read in 2018, even though it wasn’t intended for that use.
29. Be Keen to Get Going: William Carey’s Theology by Thomas Schirrmacher
Shows how the work of Carey was motivated by postmillennialism.
30. World Mission: Heart of Christianity by Thomas Schirrmacher
Fabulous, I would give this to churches currently, or thinking about supporting missionaries. Even missionaries themselves would benefit much from it.
31. Faith & Life by B.B. Warfield
After reading the more academic Biblical Doctrines, Faith & Life gave the opportunity to read Warfield’s pastoral teachings.
32. Musical Instruments in Worship: A Critique of the Non-Instrumentalist Position by Phillip Kayser
Does away with the myth that musical instruments are barred from New Covenant worship.
33. Universal Suffrage: A History and Analysis of Voting in the Church and Society by Phillip Kayser
Critiques pure democracy in the church and government. Phillip Kayser also argues against women voting.
34. The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie
Another Puritan work arguing for the “great interest” of asking, “Am I Saved? How do I know?” Not really on a recommendation list, and probably won’t read it again.
35. Sunday as a First-Day Sabbath by Philip Kayser
Argues for the Sunday Sabbath.
36. Has God Indeed Said?: The Preservation of the Text of the New Testament by Phillip Kayser
A defense of the manuscript tradition behind the KJV and various other translations that I fully recommend to those wanting to know more about the Greek behind their Bible.
37. The Impulse Of Power: Formative Ideals Of Western Civilization by Michael W. Kelley
Shows how power religion has always had some of its wicked levan in the development of Western Civilization, even in the Church. I was fascinated with his section on the Bishop and its absorption of a Roman community benefactor (read savior).
38. Deflation and Liberty by Jörg Guido Hülsmann
Coming in under 100 pages, the author argues very ably that deflation must happen, even when some libertarians argue that deflation should be avoided at all costs.
39. Was Calvin A Theonomist? by Gary North
Shows how Calvin believed that God’s Law should be enforced in modern society.
40. Introduction to the New Testament by Louis Berkhof
A good intro to the books of the New Testament.
41. Tithing and Dominion by Edward A. Powell & Rousas John Rushdoony
The absolute best book on financing the Kingdom of God in history. Teaches the 3-tithe system found in God’s Law, that they are still binding on Christians, and how we can apply them today. If there is one book I would plead Christians to read this year, Tithing and Dominion would be it.
42. The Disintegration of Islam (1916) by Samuel Zwemer
Shows how Islam was ready to keel over and die before Christianity, and also called governments not to do what they did, place Islamic rulers and their laws in authority when the Empire pulled out. Statist governments supported the dying Islam for their own gain and received terrible puppets as a result.
43. Missio Dei by Thomas Schirrmacher
Teaches that God is the first missionary. Schirrmacher attempts to lay out a foundation for missiology that is rooted in the character of God.
44. Christianity and the State by Rousas John Rushdoony
As far as Rushdoony books go, the title gives away what the content is about, the relationship between Christianity and the civil government. His chapter on the Edict of Milan was refreshing.
45. The Changing of the Guard: Biblical Principles for Political Action (Biblical Blueprint Series, #8) by George Grant
Good book, but seriously dated when it comes to a handful of the suggested tactics.
46. Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting by Johnny Carr
Cool title, some useful statistics, tear-jerking stories, but sorrowfully disappointing regarding his call to actions.
I have read his commentary on James (super long), but this book was a more manageable size. He spends a long time dealing with the Jurrasic Park novels and its focus on the Choas Theory.
48. The Canon of Scripture: Biblical Presuppositions of Canon by Phillip Kayser
The best book on the Canon of Scripture to date. Written from an unabashedly biblical-presuppositional framework. I couldn’t put it down, and it was finished in one day. Make sure you read the updated version (~500 pages).
49. PsychoHeresy: The Psychological Seduction of Christianity by Martin Bobgan
Compares what God’s Word offers for a cure to mental issues compared to the offers of Jung, Skinner, and many others. It also calls out specific people and ministries that capitulated to humanistic psychology.
50. The American Indian by Rousas John Rushdoony
This little book attacks and destroys a lot of ungodly views. The idolization of the “noble savage,” myths regarding American Indians, dehumanizing of modern anthropology, and the subjugation of a people to sub-standard and backward living due to a Statist desire to “preserve culture.”
51. Larceny in the Heart: The Economics of Satan and the Inflationary State by Rousas John Rushdoony
Any healthy economic system must start here. Only God is God, and don’t operate on greed.
52. Our Threatened Freedom: A Christian View on the Menace of American Statism by Rousas John Rushdoony
53. Revolution via Education and other Essays by Samuel L. Blumenfeld
The first few chapters were fantastic, but it really dragged on as the book continued. After being 3/4 of the way through the book, I was more excited to finish than I was engaged by the writing.
54. The Incredible Scofield and His Book by Joseph M. Canfield
Read it. The man was a scoundrel who made orphans and a widow by deserting his family, forged signatures to get loans and left others to pay the tab, lied under oath to become a politician, lied regarding his service in the Confederate army to gain support in the South, and many more morally reprehensible actions.
55. The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Adult Education by Kenneth O. Gangel
Had some helpful organizational information, but bombed it on the philosophy of education.
56. God Is Too Much by Joel H. Nederhood
Many examples were dated, but still an intriguing devotional on the Apostles Creed.
57. Ancient Rome: How It Affects You Today by Richard J. Maybury
A book in the Uncle Eric series discussing the “Roman disease” which infects statist governments, and slowly hollows them out from the inside until they collapse.
58. Keeping the 10 Commandments by J.I. Packer
Parker was a mixed bag on this book. Has some refreshingly good things to say on some of the commandments, but others seemed to detract from the moral authority of the commandment. It could be good to go through while correcting along the way.
59. Classical Me, Classical Thee: Squander Not Thine Education by Rebekah Merkle
A book oriented to classically trained students. Meh. That’s about it.
60. Standing For Christ In A Modern Babylon by Marvin Olasky
Meh. Wouldn’t read it again or recommend it.
61. Thy Kingdom Come: Studies in Daniel and Revelation by Rousas John Rushdoony
Excellent, I would recommend this book to every Christian. Although he is not partial-preterist, he still holds to a final apostasy before Jesus comes back in this book. As Rushdoony matured in his ministry, his position changed to progressive victory with no great apostasy (Warfield).
62. Mises on Money by Gary North
A primer on Mises.
63. Honest Money: The Biblical Blueprint for Money and Banking by Gary North
Intro to Christian Economics.
64. The Seven Deadlies: Poisons and Antidotes by Douglas Wilson
Fun little read. My thought is the same for the book below.
65. European Brain Snakes: Postmodernism as a Species by Douglas Wilson
See book above.
I had never thought about the martyrdom Antipas’ is an argument for the late-date view of Revelation. Anyways, Demar crushed it.
67. How to Be an (A)theist: Why Many Skeptics Aren’t Skeptical Enough by Mitch Stokes
An interesting approach to undoing Atheism; trying to be a consistent atheist while still holding to logic and morality. Still, probably not going to convince an atheist if you gave it to him.
68. The Burden of God: Studies in Wisdom and Civilization from the Book of Ecclesiastes by Michael W. Kelley
The best commentary to date on the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes a covenantally faithful exposition of the uselessness of humanistic wisdom running a nation.
69. Fool’s Talk: Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion by Os Guinness
Not what I thought it would be, but it did make some good points on how to be a convincing conversationalist regarding Christianity.
70. Exodus: God And The King of Kings: The Case For God, Moses, And The Exodus by Mike A. Robinson
This author is a mixed bag, as can be seen in his book defending the Christianity of Trump. There is so much reaching at times. This one is better, but it is very repetitive and everything good he said here can probably be found in another one of his 10 books. I much prefer his book on Islam, even if takes a more conspiracy theorist approach at times regarding the historicity of Muhammad.
71. Preaching?: Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching by J. Alec Motyer
Another book on preaching will probably be lost in the ever-growing pile of preaching books published. It’s not bad by all means, but it is nothing special.
72. Autonomy and Stagnation: Economic Commentary on Ecclesiastes by Gary North
Great points along the same vein as the Michael W. Kelley on Ecclesiastes mentioned above, but very repetitive. The book could have been easily halved.
73. Predictability and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Job by Gary North
This one is much better the one by North mentioned just above, but I would still recommend Toby Sumpter’s commentary on Job over this one.
74. A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth #1) by Piers Anthony
Brain candy. Read sixteen books in this massive fantasy series one summer when I was 15. Still enjoyable. It made a few good points here and there, but it definitely did the sensualization of female breasts often found in 80’s & 90’s fantasy. Nothing pornographic though.
The final work of Kik before his death, he was actually not able to finish it before his passing. It is always interesting to see the concerns of man for the Church not too long before his death. He made excellent points here and there, but also what I might qualify as blunders. It might be hard to find if you want to read it.
76. The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization by Vishal Mangalwadi
This book was a breath of fresh air. Historical honesty, hopeful eschatologically, and fire under our bottom to keep building God’s Kingdom for His glory and the blessing of the nations. Of course, there were things that I would hotly contest, but those things were minimal compared to the gold found within Vishal’s book. The backdrop of India was the most fascinating aspect.
Reading projects for the new year
Quite a few books are lining the docket for 2019. Here is the list, and feel free to call me out if these are not on my finished list for 2019 next year.
- Puritan Theology by Beeke
- A Christian Survey of World History by RJ Rushdoony
- Omnibus Vol.1
- Mystery of History: Ancient World
- An Informed Faith Vol. 1-3 by RJ Rushdoony
- More Warfield
- 2-3 Systematic Theologies
Into the New Year
Hopefully, this list will spur you to do some reading this new year. May God make us more and active and better Christians for it. If you haven’t seen, this past year I also wrote a small booklet introducing the concept behind service being the duty of Christian and not the State. Feel free to download it here and share it around.
Matt is a husband, father, and avid reader. If you want to support his writings, Kindle books are always appreciated!