The Best Books of 2015 together with those that deserve Honorable Mention3
For those of you who may have missed the posting of my Best Books of 2015, here is the list one more time with no editorial comment. These are followed by a few that didn’t quite make the top ten but deserve Honorable Mention. Continue reading . . .
For those of you who may have missed the posting of my Best Books of 2015, here is the list one more time with no editorial comment. These are followed by a few that didn’t quite make the top ten but deserve Honorable Mention.
(1) The Spurgeon Reader, edited by Tom Nettles (Louisville: SBTS Press, 2015), 423 pp.
(2) The Joy Project: A True Story of Inescapable Happiness, by Tony Reinke (Minneapolis: Desiring God), 122 pp.
(3) The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts, Joe Rigney (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), 271 pp.
(4) J. I. Packer: An Evangelical Life, Leland Ryken (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), 431 pp.
(5) ESV Men’s Devotional Bible, edited by Sam Storms (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015).
(6) Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness, Richard B. Hays (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2014), 155 pp.
(7) The NIV Zondervan Study Bible, edited by D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 2,880 pp.
(8) Killjoys: The Seven Deadly Sins, edited by Marshall Segal (Minneapolis: Desiring God, 2015), 97 pp.
(9) Edwards the Exegete: Biblical Interpretation and Anglo-Protestant Culture on the Edge of the Enlightenment, Douglas A. Sweeney (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 391 pp.
(10) Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification, Thomas Schreiner (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 288 pp.
And now for a few that almost made the list and are certainly deserving of your close reading.
Two of my honorable mention books concern Martin Luther:
Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer, by Scott H. Hendrix (New Haven: Yale University Press), 341 pp.
Brand Luther: 1517, Printing, and the Making of the Reformation, by Andrew Pettegree (New York: Penguin Press), 383 pp.
Rodney Stark continues to produce works of counter-intuitive and counter-cultural insight. One need not always agree with his conclusions to be challenged and instructed. His most recent work is:
The Triumph of Faith: Why the World is More Religious than Ever, by Rodney Stark (Wilmington: ISI Books), 258 pp.
The dust jacket provides these comments to let you know where Stark is coming from:
“Believe it or not, the world is more religious than ever before. Everyone seems to take it for granted that the world is getting more secular – that faith is doomed by modernity. Scientists, secularists, and atheists applaud the change; religious believers lament it.
But here’s the thing: they’re all wrong – and the bestselling author and influential scholar of religion Rodney Stark has the numbers to prove it. . . .
Stark’s bracing book is full of insights that defy the conventional wisdom. With vigorous prose he reveals:
• Why Islam is not overtaking Christianity
• How four out of five people worldwide now belong to an organized religion
• How 50 percent have attended a worship service in the past week
• Why claims about Millennials’ lack of religion are overblown and historically ignorant
• Why atheists remain few, anywhere – despite all the talk of the ‘New Atheism’
• Why much-ballyhooed findings from the Pew Research Center and others get the religious landscape wrong
As Stark shows, secularists have been predicting the imminent demise of religion for centuries. It is their unshakable faith in secularization that may be the most ‘irrational’ of all beliefs.”
I haven’t gotten very far into this new biography of Augustine, but I look forward to reading,
Augustine: Conversions to Confessions, by Robin Lane Fox (New York: Basic Books), 657 pp.
Fox openly acknowledges in the Introduction that he does not share Augustine’s faith, so I don’t expect a biography that is affirming of its subject. But it promises to be an exhaustive treatment.
Here’s another one for your consideration:
Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, by Mary Norris (New York: W. W. Norton & Company), 228 pp.
If you are among the countless multitudes who mistakenly think it should read, “Between You and I,” please read this book. Norris spent more than three decades as copy editor for the New Yorker and brings her mastery of English grammar and good prose to bear in this book. Warning: she can be outrageously profane at times.
I’ve only just started dipping into this new biography of John Knox, but I’m convinced that this will be the standard on his life for years to come:
John Knox, by Jane Dawson (New Haven: Yale University Press), 373 pp.
Here are several others worthy of your consideration:
Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism, by Timothy Keller (New York: Viking), 309 pp.
Understanding Prophecy: A Biblical-Theological Approach, by Alan S. Bandy and Benjamin L. Merkle (Grand Rapids: Kregel), 264 pp.
Medieval Christianity: A New History, by Kevin Madigan (New Haven: Yale University Press), 487 pp.
Defending Substitution: An Essay on Atonement in Paul, by Simon Gathercole (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic), 128 pp.
SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard (New York: Liveright Publishing Company), 606 pp.
What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung (Wheaton: Crossway), 158 pp.
Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator, by Oleg V. Khlevniuk; translated by Nora Seligman Favorov (New Haven: Yale University Press), 392 pp.
John le Carre: The Biography, by Adam Sisman (New York: Harper Collins Publishers), 652 pp.