Helpful Book Reviews – 05-11-13

Humble Orthodoxy: Holding the Truth High Without Putting People Down by Joshua Harris – … “humble orthodoxy” grows in the rich soil of God’s grace with an unrelenting focus on the glory of God and the welfare of others. Arrogant orthodoxy and humble heterodoxy have one thing in common: they flourish best when focused on your own interests. A doctrinal stalwart who’s proud and condescending is usually just concerned with being right; a person who’s too nice to say anything confrontational is only worried about self-preservation. Neither was an option for the apostle Paul. “For Paul, [preservation of Christian orthodoxy] wasn’t about proving someone else wrong, winning an argument, or adding people to his little club. For Paul, orthodoxy made the difference between life and death, heaven and hell” (9). So “truth matters,” Harris writes, “but so does our attitude” (12). – Derek Brown

Confident of Better Things: Essays Commemorating Seventy-Five Years of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church edited by John Muether and Danny Olinger – This book isn’t a detailed history of the OPC – although it does contain some OPC history.  Between these covers you’ll find the authors explaining the truths of Scripture, the doctrines of Reformation theology, the power of preaching, the motivation for missions, the beauty of the gospel, and the importance of the confessions.  More specifically, here are the titles of a few essays: “The Legacy of Charles Hodge,” “Tongues Today?,” “Was Adam Historical?” “Catechetical Instruction in the OPC,” “Called to the Ministry,” and “The Ruling Elder in Church Planting,” among others.  So far I’ve enjoyed the article on tongues by Gaffin and the discussion of missions by Mark Bube.  I’m also looking forward to reading the chapter on redemptive historical hermeneutics as well as Godfrey’s article on the OPC/URCNA relationship (perhaps he’ll rightly tell the URC to aim towards a more Presbyterian polity!  Stay tuned….).  Actually, most of the articles look like good reading.  I hope to read them over the course of the summer. – Shane Lems

Pilgrim Theology by Michael Horton – What I found most helpful was his organization of thoughts and the ease of which he approaches different subjects. Many people, including Horton himself, say that this text is a gutted version of his larger systematic work, Christian Faith. Though gutted by about half the depth as his larger work (Horton took out ~500 pages), Pilgrim Theology is a steller introduction to systematics. Pertinent theological terms are highlighted, typically given their own special attention off to the side, and included in the glossary at the back of the book. Following the glossary, Horton has supplied his (visual) readers with a chart that takes students from the Scriptures to application in an array of concepts (in the same format that he has written his entire systematic theology in, from Drama —> Doctrine —> Doxology —>  Discipline). The chart is followed by Scripture, Subject, and Author indexes. –

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