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Culture Books

This and that


This and that

“A magnificent compendium.” That’s what theologian David Wells calls Thy Word Is Still Truth (edited by Peter Lillback and Richard Gaffin, P&R, 2013), and he’s right. Its 1,392 pages contain 500 years of great writing on the doctrine of Scripture, including excerpts from Luther and Calvin, Reformation sermons from Zwingli and Bullinger, Reformed confessions (Belgic, Heidelberg, Helvetic, Westminster, and more), and Puritan writings from Owen, Edwards, and others. And wait, wait—there’s more: Bavinck and Berkhof, Hodge and Warfield, Machen and Wilson, Van Til and Murray, Stonehouse and Clowney, Ferguson and Frame, all the way to a recent Westminster Theological Seminary controversy. 

Time now for me to characterize approvingly some other new books:

An excellent overview: Larry Schweikart and Dave Dougherty’s two-volume A Patriot’s History of the Modern World (Sentinel, 2012 and 2013) is the best politically incorrect 20th-century world history survey I’ve seen since Paul Johnson’s Modern Times 30 years ago. Another counter to conventional teaching is Angela Kamrath’s The Miracle of America (American Heritage, 2014), which shows how biblical understanding influenced the founding of the United States. Homeschooling parents will find it a valuable reference.

A great gift for teens who need to choose wisely: James Anderson’s What’s Your Worldview? (Crossway, 2014) is structured like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, where the outcome depends on the choices readers make. Doesn’t each generation stumble upon new ways to learn about God? Francis Schaeffer taught truth to many who stumbled into Switzerland and are now old, but he doesn’t appeal to many young folks today, so try Anderson.

A no-nonsense examination of all the Middle East “peace plans” that U.S. liberals offer: Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick is the Israeli journalist I learn the most from, and her book The Israeli Solution (Crown Forum, 2014) is coming out this month with “a one-state plan for peace in the Middle East.” Her proposal will receive virtually universal international condemnation, in part because it just might work. 

A no-nonsense dissector of domestic delusions: David Horowitz’s multi-volumed The Black Book of the American Left continues to emerge. Volume two (Second Thoughts, 2013) eviscerates leftist products of our education system (and perpetuators of its nonsense) like Bill Ayers and Angela Davis. 

A scholarly look at religious liberty around the world: The Future of Religious Freedom, edited by Allen Hertzke (Oxford University Press, 2013), includes thoughtful looks at developments in China, Russia, Eastern Europe, and Turkey, and assessments of the previously understood, now forgotten connection of religious freedom and global security. 

For those who enjoy our WORLD Q&As with authors: Three whose interviews readers enjoyed have new books to offer. Two put forth common sense, which is now sadly uncommon: Cal Thomas’ pithy What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America (Zondervan, 2014), and Betsy McCaughey’s Beating Obamacare 2014 (Regnery, 2014). One praises supernatural sense: Tullian Tchividjian’s One Way Love shows the truth of its subtitle, Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World (David C. Cook, 2013).

Short and long

The New School by Glenn Reynolds (Encounter, 2014) succinctly analyzes our higher education bubble and shows how we’re moving toward cheaper, more flexible, and more parent-friendly education, over the strong opposition of entrenched interests. Seeking the City by Chad Brand and Tom Pratt (Kregel, 2013) connects biblical teaching and Reformation applications to 20th-century American history. A top editor could have streamlined its 905 pages to half that length, but the authors have pulled together millennia of material into a coherent package. 

Lois Tupyi’s Redemptive Compassion (2012, available at is an excellent way to get started in helping the poor locally. A novel by Doc McKay, New World Tribe (Locem, 2012), alternates the stories of Spanish conquistadors invading Mexico and contemporary Americans trying to make contact with an isolated jungle tribe in Honduras. The naïveté of the modern characters painfully shows how easy it is to get in over our heads when we leave our cozy homes. —M.O.