One of my favorite posts of the year! Enjoy and happing reading! Note: Not all of these books were published in 2020, and I am not ranking them from favorite to least favorite.
Carl R. Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to the Sexual Revolution. If you want to understand how our culture has arrived at its current moment, this is a must read. Anyone who reads this blog, knows that Trueman is one of my favorite authors. This book may end up being his magnum opus.
Rod Dreher, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents. An informative and inspiring book. Dreher surveys how certain segments of the church have responded to, and lived under, totalitarian regimes. He draws upon these insights and shows how Christians might respond to the coming wave of “soft totalitarianism” in the United States.
Scott R. Swain, The Trinity: An Introduction. If the Trinity controversy of 2016 taught us anything, it’s that most Christians—including some professors at evangelical seminaries—need some remedial training on the doctrine of the Trinity. Look no further than Swain’s volume. This is a beautifully written, concise, thoroughly biblical, classical treatment of the doctrine of the Trinity. A must read for every Christian, in my judgment.
Lewis Ayers, Nicaea and Its Legacy: An Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology. For those wanting a deep dive in understanding pro-Nicene Trinitarian theology, then this is for you. Note: This is an advanced treatment that goes well beyond Swain’s volume above.
Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—And Why This Harms Everybody. Written by two self-described “left wing academics”—one of whom identifies as an atheist (James Lindsay), the authors lay out, in great detail “how activist scholarship made everything about race, gender, and identity—and why it harms everybody, as the title suggests. A fairly depressing read that doesn’t give me much hope for the future.
Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society. Former Marxist turned conservative intellectual, Sowell does it again. He unveils why left-wing intellectuals think as they do. Again, if you want to understand the academic guild, the media, and why trust in these institutions is at an all-time low, read this.
James E. Dolezal, All That Is in God: Evangelical Theology and the Challenge of Classical Christian Theism. This volume sparked my interest in classical theism, which eventually lead to my lengthy essay that I posted earlier this year. While it requires some background knowledge in theology and philosophy, I think his points are sufficiently clear for all readers. His chapter on the substantial unity of the divine persons is worth the price of the book alone.
Brandon J. O’Brien, Writing for Life and Ministry: A Practical Guide to the Writing Process for Teachers and Preachers. O’Brien demystifies the writing process, providing a helpful guide for me to follow. You don’t have to be a preacher or teacher to benefit from this book.
Thomas Watson, All Things for Good. If you know me, you know I love me some Thomas Watson (1620–1686). This is him at his best: Theologically weighty and practically pungent.
Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 2, God and Creation. Simply a masterpiece. Given the size of the book (600-plus pages), most Christians will not read it. However, you should seriously consider reading the section on God and feel free to skip over his section on creation. I say this not because his treatment of creation is poor—Bavinck leaves no stone unturned!—but to point out that readers do not need to feel pressured to read the entire book.
Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading in 2021:
Joshua Mitchel, American Awakening: Identity Politics and Other Afflictions of our Time.
Carter Snead, What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics.
James Eglington, Bavinck: A Critical Biography.
Peter W. Wood, 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project.
Allan Jacobs, Breaking Bread with the Dead.
Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.
Craig A. Carter, Contemplating God with the Great Tradition: Recovering Trinitarian Classical Theism.
Winn Collier, The Authorized Biography of Eugene H. Peterson.
Eric Peterson and Eugene Peterson, Letters to a Young Pastor: Timothy Conversations between Father and Son.