Over on the right of this screen, I have put together a few book lists to point people to further resources on various topics. I recently added a new list of some of the best books on marriage available. You can see it here or over on the sidebar.
I previously posted about the importance of Dr. Wellum's chapter in Schreiner and Wright's recent book on baptism. Justin Taylor has it posted on his website (probably for a limited time). You can find it here. If you want to know why Baptists do not sprinkle babies, this is the chapter to read. The relationship of the covenants is at the heart of the debate, and Dr. Wellum's essay is excellent.
I am fairly new to the study of apologetics. I read my first book in May of this year, and fell in love. As an appendix to the series of posts on apologetics, I wanted to commend the study of apologetics by showing the many disciplines that are involved in apologetics.
Virtually all fields of study are informed by exegesis. If you are not interpreting the Bible rightly, all else will go sour from that point. The same goes with apologetics. Scripture must inform the imperative and methodology for apologetics. Systematic Theology is also a necessity for apologetics. We must put together the data we gain from doing exegesis to answer vital questions like: What is God like? What is humanity like? How has sin affected humanity? Do all need to hear about Jesus? Who was Jesus? What did he do? and so on. Biblical Theologyis also required for apologetics. Our metanarrative must be informed by Scripture's metanarrative. We must gain our worldview from the Bible's worldview. We approach the Word as it is presented to us. We mustn't impose foreign worldviews upon the text of Scripture. We also find a philosophy of history by studying Biblical Theology. Obviously, Worldview Studies is essential for apologetics since so much of apologetics is a clashing of worldviews. Cultural Engagement is a necessity for apologetics as well. Apologetics is at the heart of Missions and Evangelismsince in today's cultural climate, you will not have a conversation about Jesus without questions and objections coming. Apologetics is clearly informed by Philosophy, and Historysince so much of philosophy is studying the history of ideas and great thinkers throughout history and the consequences of the ideas on the culture at large. Apologetics is also necessary for Practical Theology, because Christians gain assurance when convinced of the truthfulness and relevance of the Christian faith. It is also practical in the sense that you are out in the midst of a crooked generation sharing the gospel and defending and commending its veracity. These are just some of the disciplines that come to mind when studying apologetics. In my mind, it is a worthwhile endeavor.
Mark Driscollposts a short reflection on the summer, and God's good gifts. At the end he writes:
Overall, the summer has been good. I also got in a ton of writing this past week and am on pace to publish seven books with Crossway in 2008.
I am looking forward to seeing what he has written. I know he has written a book on the atonement (Death By Love, I think) and am guessing something on church leadership (male elders), and gender issues (complementarian). I am sure they will all be enjoyable and helpful reads.
Sam Storms has weighed in on the baptism issue, and asks how 'together for the gospel' we really are (ensuring he will never teach at Southern Seminary):
My question, then, is this: How can we claim to be "together" or "united" for the sake of the gospel and turn away a brother or sister from the very expression and proclamation of that gospel that is so central to the life and testimony of the church?
John Piper has written a book responding to N.T. Wright's view of justification. I think it is due out in Nov. for the ETS meetings. Here is what D.A. Carson, the evangelical pope, has to say about it:
The so-called 'New Perspective on Paul' (NPP) has stirred up enormous controversy, especially, but not exclusively, in the English-speaking world. The issues are so complex that it has taken time to mount a careful evaluation. During the last decade many have undertaken the task, often with helpful contributions. John Piper’s work may not be the last word on the subject, but it brings to Christian leaders everywhere five enormous strengths: (1) By focusing on N. T. Wright, by far the most influential writer of the NPP, Piper brings to bear a badly needed focus. (2) Despite the interlocking complexities of the debate—Tom Wright has an amazing capacity to move theological and exegetical pieces around, creating such a new tableau that words have shifted in meaning and theological notions their conceptual location—Piper has written with admirable clarity. (3) Better yet, John has engaged Tom with simultaneous depth and courtesy. That is a rare but wholly admirable combination. (4) Certain parts of John Piper’s book have quietly broken new ground—not least his handling of “righteousness” and “justification,” their connection with the “gospel,” and his careful insistence that making the words mean different things for the Judge in God’s law-court and for the defendant in that law-court really cannot be sustained in the light of Scripture. (5) John Piper sees the moral and spiritual implications of what he is seeking to explain. Are men and women saved, on the last day, on the basis of the whole life lived? But if not, what is the nature of the connection between justification and good works? The issues are not secondary, and, pastor that he is, John Piper will not allow believers to put their trust in anyone or anything other than the crucified and resurrected Savior."
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary continues to bolster its biblical counseling program with the addition of several renowned authors and scholars as visiting faculty. Paul David Tripp, president of Paul Tripp Ministries and a counselor for 25 years, and David Powlison, faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF), have both been added to Southern’s faculty as visiting professors.
Sounds like I may be using some electives when these guys come to town.
For this last post, I wanted to recommend a few books for the study of presuppositional apologetics. Many go by the label presuppositionalist (Henry, Schaeffer, Nash, Clark), but I have been advocating the Van Tilian type, which is different is significant ways. Here are some resources:
--The Great Debate: Bahnsen v.s. Stein: Must-listening! You can buy it here or get it free here. Greg Bahnsen was taught by Van Til. Bahnsen shows Stein the bankruptcy of unbelief using the transcendental argument, focusing on the laws of logic.
--Always Ready by Greg Bahnsen: This is a great book to start with. Bahnsen is crystal clear.
--Apologetics to the Glory of God: Frame is good, and this is an introductory text. Frame is critical of Van Til is some places, but still helpful.
--Van Til's Apologetic by Greg Bahnsen: This is the best resource available. 800 pages of readings from Van Til with analysis from Bahnsen. This book is simply phenomenal! Also, you get lots of Van Til's work without having to buy each separate book.
--The Battle Belongs to the Lord by K. Scott Oliphint: Oliphint teaches apologetics at Westminster, where Van Til used to teach. This book is mostly an exposition of texts relevant to the apologetic task. Pretty easy reading.
--Every Thought Captive by Richard Pratt: This book was written for high school and college students.
--Revelation and Reason by Oliphint and Tipton: After coming to grips with the method, this book is great. It is a collection of essays under girding Van Til's work with exegetical, theological, and historical weight.
--Reasons (for Faith) by K. Scott Oliphint: This is weighty reading for those with philosophical background, but worth the effort. It is an offensive apologetic.
--Christian Apologetics by Van Til: Similar to The Defense of the Faith but shorter.
--The Defense of the Faith by Van Til: Essential.
--Persuasions by Douglas Wilson: This is a fantastic and short fictional read between Evangelist and several objectors to Biblical Christianity. All praxis with no theory.
--Pushing the Antithesis by Greg Bahnsen: Haven't been able to read this one yet, but I am sure it will be great.