2. Can I Know God's Will by RC Sproul (1984). This book deals with human freedom and divine sovereignty and although dense at times, helped me to understand will a bit better. The part that I appreciated most, however, was the information provided about God's will for vocation and marriage. Immensely practical and wise. 4 stars.
3. Parenting is Your Highest Calling and 8 Other Myths that Trap Us in Worry and Guilt by Leslie Leyland Fields (2008). We read this book on parenting as a part of our small group and had a chance to interact with the author. I appreciated her gospel centered approach to parenting in opposition to the common canned psychobabble that is so common in Christian bookstores today. This book reminded me a lot of William Farley's
4. The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther (Henry Cole, translator, 1525/1823). I once heard RC Sproul say about Luther in an interview, "he's one of ours," meaning reformed. After reading The Bondage of the Will, I can definitely see what he meant by that. Luther, in his vigorous response to Erasmus, presents a strong view of God's sovereignty. Luther strongly defends total depravity and unconditional election unapologetically. I can clearly see why this book is available from all of the reformed bookstores.
Practically, this is a dense read. I am quite certain I missed half of what Luther was saying, but what I did capture, I appreciated deeply. He clearly loves God and understands that all things are for God's glory! 4 stars.
5. Love Not the World: A Prophetic Call to Holy Living by Watchman Nee. Watchman Nee writes a book here that helps us to understand what it means to be in the world, but not of the world. He calls Christians to live holy lives rather than worldly lives. In general, the book was a worthwhile read. There were definitely some good "sound bites", though I think his theology was off in places. For example, he has one chapter devoted to baptism where he suggests that baptism is required for salvation. He builds his case based Mark 16:16, which reads, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Although a simple reading of this verse may lead to that conclusion, the conclusion doesn't fit against the backdrop of the full counsel of scripture which tells us that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Further, Mark 16:9-20 were not in the earliest manuscripts and one should be careful about building their theology on isolated verses from passages that may have been added later. 3 stars.
6. Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God's Word by Nigel Benyon & and Andrew Sach (2010). Benyon and Sach provide the reader, who wishes to know their Bible in a deeper way with a toolbox. Sixteen different tools for making sense of scripture are discussed. Right at the outset, the author's put forth the tools of "Author's Purpose" and "Context," which they appropriately give significant credence. I was particularly intrigued with the "Structure Tool" however, which discusses how authors structure their writing. They discuss the structure of a chiasm, which is a commonly employed technique in the Old Testament--where the writer puts the punch line in the middle of the story, unlike modern writing. Notice the pairs of sentences flowing out from around a common theme (e.g., first/ last; 2nd/2nd to last; etc.) For example:
Now the whole earth
had one language and the same words...
they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
And they said to one another, "Come let us make bricks..."
Then they said, "Come let us build ourselves a city,
and a tower...
And the Lord came down
to see the city and the tower, which the children of men had built.
And the Lord said..."Come, let us go down
Therefore its name was called Babel, because there
the Lord confused the language
of all the earth.
All in all, this book is an easy read that gives the reader a number of helpful tools to understand his word in a deeper way. 4 stars.
7) Healing Life's Deepest Hurts by Edward M. Smith (2002). I read this book as a way to try to understand Theophostic Prayer Ministry better. This is an approach to counseling that encourages people to go back and confront lies with the idea that we do not accomplish true change, not because of sin, but because of lies we believe. Although I agreed with Smith at points, I can see many dangerous parts to his teaching and would urge caution. 2 stars.