Why November Can Overwhelm Me

I have a love/hate relationship with November. With the advent of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature comes an onslaught of academic books. As if I don’t have enough to read November provides a feast of new books both academic and popular. In just the past couple of weeks my reading list has added the following titles (in no particular order):

Miracles by Eric Metaxas (Dutton) – I’ve read parts of this since it came out and so far I really like it.

A New Heaven and a New Earth by J. Richard Middleton (Baker Academic) – I just finished this book and it is very, very good. Here is excellent scholarship made accessible. The Bible never ties the Christian hope to “going to heaven.” The goal is a restored Earth and believers will be resurrected to live and reign on that earth.

Vainglory: the Forgotten Vice by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung (Eerdmans) – I loved her book Glittering Vices (Brazos Press) and look forward to reading this.

The Holy Trinity in the Life of the Church edited by Khaled Anatolios (Baker Academic) – Anatolios’ book Retrieving Nicaea was an impressive work and was widely praised. This newest entry in the Holy Cross Studies in Patristic Theology and History series will surely be well received.

Did God Really Command Genocide? by Paul Copan and Matthew Flannagan (Baker Books) – This issue has become a hot topic due in part to the arguments posed by many of the new atheists. Also, many evangelicals have asserted that the God of the Old Testament and the ethic portrayed is sub Christian.

Engaging the Doctrine of Revelation by Matthew Levering (Baker Academic) – I’m almost done with this and Levering does a masterful job. Those who think the church suffered an early demise only to be recovered by the Reformation need to read this.

Sanctification edited by Kelly Kapic (IVP Academic) – Contributors to this volume include Henri Blocher, Bruce McCormack, and Michael Horton. Two chapters immediately got my attention: “Sanctification by Faith?” by Henri Blocher and “Sanctification after Metaphysics: Karl Barth in Conversation with John Wesley’s Conception of ‘Christian Perfection.'” by Bruce McCormack. Speaking of conversations with Barth look at the next two titles.

Theology’s Epistemological Dilemma: How Karl Barth and Alvin Plantinga Provided a Unified Response  by Kevin Diller (IVP Academic) – Anything on Plantinga has my attention.

Confessing Christ for Church and the World by Kimlyn J. Bender (IVP Academic) – I have only late in life come to gain an appreciation for Karl Barth. I’ve read parts of his Church Dogmatics but not very much. So most of my reading is secondary as in this work. George Hunsinger says of this book: “He [Bender] will help American evangelicals to see that Karl Barth, whom they once regarded as a fearsome enemy, is actually their best friend.”

Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin edited by Hans Madueme and Michael Reeves (Baker Academic) – I’ve read some of these essays and done a couple of posts on them. Thought provoking, well written, and deeply engaging.

The Lost Way: How Two Forgotten Gospels are Rewriting the Story of Christian Origins by Stephen J. Patterson (HarperOne) – I have an inordinate interest in all matters concerning Q. Patterson deals with Q and the Gospel of Thomas. On the one hand I haven’t see much new from what I’ve read so far but I still like reading about both. I remain unconvinced with what the Jesus Seminar (Patterson is a Jesus Seminar scholar) has tried to make of both of the these “gospels”. (I don’t like calling Q a gospel.)

Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? by Guy Consolmagno and Paul Mueller (Image) – You have to love this title. Written by two Jesuit scholars who work at the Vatican observatory the book engages some of the most frequently asked questions that they get. In addition to the question in the title we have: “Biblical Genesis or Big Bang?”, “What Happened to Poor Pluto?”, “What Happened to Galileo?”, and “What Was the Star of Bethlehem?”. The book is written in a dialogue form between the two authors. It is interesting that the book was already under contract and the title assigned that Pope Francis said this: “Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and big nose like a child’s drawing, and he asked to be baptized. How would you react?” Did someone send him an advance reading copy?

The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina (Image) – I love reading Cardinal Wuerl. Whatever he writes–I read.

Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi by Richard Rohr (Franciscan Media) – I’m not a big fan of Rohr but the topic of Francis is always interesting. Rohr makes me laugh, think, and sometimes just groan. I just finished reading Jon Sweeney’s book When Saint Francis Saved the Church (Ave Maria Press) so it will be nice to read something else while this is fresh in my memory.

The Gospel of the Lord by Michael F. Bird (Eerdmans) – Bird is always interesting to read. With his finger on the pulse of the scholarly scene Bird writes, “‘Gospels’ is very probably the next big thing in biblical studies.” (vii)

Gay and Catholic by Eve Tushnet (Ave Maria Press) – When I met Wesley Hill earlier this year he told me about this book (which wasn’t out yet) and highly recommended it. If Wesley liked it I’m sure I will enjoy it.

Not God’s Type: An Atheist Lays Down Her Arms by Holly Ordway (Ignatius Press) – I heard Holly on the radio and was intrigued by her story. The book was first published by Moody Publishers in 2010. It has now been picked up by Ignatius Press. I suspect this was due to her conversion to Catholicism.

A Change of Heart by Thomas C. Oden (IVP Academic) – I like Oden. This is a biographical account of his move from theological liberalism to conservatism. I didn’t know this but his Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture came after a meeting with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Benedict XVI) where the seeds for the series was first planted.

God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth by G.K. Beale and Mitchell Kim (IVP Academic) – Beale always impresses me. The Temple and the Church’s Mission is one of my favorites. Just got it in this week. No time to look at it but I can’t even think I would be disappointed.

The American Catholic Almanac by Brian Burch and Emily Stimpson (Image) – This is a 365 page-a-day history of “patriots, saints, rogues, and ordinary people who changed the United States.” I won’t start this formally till next year but I’ve already dipped into it here and there.

I did read an advance reading copy of John Walton’s The Lost World of Adam and Eve (due out March 2015). I don’t like to comment too much on forthcoming books since it really isn’t final but I will say Walton is at his finest. You can get an idea of his position in Four Views on the Historical Adam (Zondervan).

I could go on (and on) but I must bring this to an end. I said at the beginning “no particular order” but really I’ve saved the best for last. Hot off the press is the latest in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series: 1-2 Thessalonians by Jeffrey A.D. Weima. There is no containing my enthusiasm over this series. It is quite simply one of the finest commentary series available. No doubt you’ll be seeing posts from this new volume.

Now you see why November can seem overwhelming! Where do I begin? So many books . . . so little time. I want to say thank you to my many publishing reps who are so generous in providing me with free copies. If it weren’t for you this list would be considerably smaller and my bank account equally low. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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About Louis

I am a 1997 graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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