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The Mysteries of Christianity: Revealed Truths Expounded and Defended
Thomas Crawford (1812-1875) was a theology professor at the University of Edinburgh. He carefully proves the mystery inherent in Christian teachings arises from the nature of theological subjects, not from God’s failure to speak clearly. His treatment of the Trinity, the incarnation, and the atonement are superb examples of how to do theology carefully. Crawford invariably wrestles with the heart of the issue. Previously out of print since 1874, his book offers clear thinking, cogent arguments, and an inflexible commitment to saying only what is certainly known. Read him.
Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification
Sinclair B. Ferguson
What does the Bible say about becoming holy? Ferguson carefully expounds 10 key New Testament passages that describe the believer’s union with Christ and shows repeatedly that the reality of being “put into” Christ is the basic factor in Christian holiness. The Bible calls Jesus-followers “Christians” three times but describes them as “in Christ” more than 120 times. Are you in Christ? Then you should be getting more obedient to God. Ferguson’s work contains powerful encouragement to become set apart exclusively for God by constantly elucidating the gospel’s logic: Live a holy life because God has completely saved you.
Reflect: Becoming Yourself by Mirroring the Greatest Person in History
Thaddeus J. Williams
If Jesus is really the way we Christians say He is, then shouldn’t we show that in how we speak about Him? Shouldn’t our books reason carefully? Shouldn’t they, like Jesus, be passionate, gracious, and artistic? That’s Williams’ plea, and that’s how he does theology. He describes Jesus in order to urge readers to reflect Jesus. Look at Christ’s creativity, His passion, His grace, His logic, says Williams. Don’t you see how beautiful He is? Appendix B is worth the price of the book. There Williams reveals his agenda. He wants to do his theology like it’s true (because it is).
Know Why You Believe
K. Scott Oliphint
Instead of repeating philosophical arguments and dredging up historical facts, Oliphint relentlessly takes readers back to the gospel. Why believe in life after death? Because Jesus came back from the dead. Oliphint recognizes that unbelievers’ objections are fundamentally moral and relational, not intellectual, so he deals with the big questions along similar lines. He believes that people reject philosophical and historical evidence all the time, and more evidence isn’t the answer. The best approach is minimal argument and maximum evangelization (literally, “sharing good news”). That’s what Oliphint does, and he’ll make you want to do it too.
In The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together (Baker, 2017), Jared Wilson puts his focus on Jesus rather than the spiritual disciplines and habits that books on discipleship usually cover. The book has a confessional tone, so he begins with a discussion of Romans Chapter 7: “I do things that I know are bad and I avoid doing things that I know are good.” That self-knowledge, he writes, “makes me uniquely and distinctly qualified for the hope Paul offers” in Romans 8: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” While the book focuses on the grace of the gospel, it doesn’t have a cavalier attitude toward sin. In talking of his own struggle with porn, he writes, “What eventually served to cure my taste for this shiny death was not ‘getting my act together’ but finally, truly seeing the glory of my crucified Savior.” —Susan Olasky