Some new theology books

As much as Hearts & Minds is oriented towards helping folks read widely across the spectrum of life’s topics, relating faith and work, politics, family, or culture, thinking Christianly out of a coherent, Biblical worldview, we do really stock a lot of theology, proper. Interestingly, we sell more theology books to laypeople, it seems, than we do to pastors. Let’s hope that they are keeping up their theological chops somehow. I read a piece just this week where John Piper was citing Ron Sider–gotta love that!—reminding us all that we must teach to our youth good doctrine. “Good Doctrine Makes Better (Teenage) Saints.” I agree.

We just got in the eagerly anticipated third serious volume by Michael S. Horton, Covenant and Salvation: Union With Christ (Westminster/John Knox; $34.95.) It is the follow up to the solid paperbacks Covenant and Eschatology: The Divine Drama and Lord and Servant: A Covenant Christology. Here, Horton examines Christian salvation from the perspective of covenant theology. It is clear that he goes into serious depth, looking at the relationship of law and gospel, union with Christ, justification, the very meaning of salvation. He is fluent in a wide range of views, and draws upon insights both classical and contemporary.

Blurbs on the back come from world class theologians like Colin Gunton and David Kelsey, from King’s College in London, and Yale Divinity School, respectively. Fellow Pennsylvanian John Franke (Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, PA) writes,

Michael Horton has done more to demonstrate the ongoing vitality of Protestant orthodoxy for contemporary theological reflection than any other current writer.

He continues on, saying this book is “pivotal.” J. Todd Billings (from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI) says his synthesis of biblical, historical and systematic argumentation is “stunning.”

From Radical Orthodoxy to Eastern Orthodoxy, from the covenants at Sinai and Zion to the controversial new perspective on Paul, Horton is clear, passionate and offers a vital view. One wouldn’t have to read all three volumes, either, although all are clearly important contibutions to the theological conversations in our day. I must say I am particularly happy that a mainline denominational publishing house (W/JK) does this important work of a seriously Reformed evangelical. Check out more about the elequant and fiesty Horton by checking out the journal he has edited, Modern Reformation. Check out his radio show, the amazingly thoughtful White Horse Inn,

Here is another fabulous new book, one that I cannot say much about yet. Not Ashamed of the Gospel: Sermons From Paul’s Letter to the Romans by Fleming Rutledge (Eerdmans; $19) just arrived. You may know her—I might describe her as one with the elequance and charm and insight as Barbara Brown Taylor, but with a more rigorous commitment to historic orthodoxy. She is now known as one of America’s finest preachers, and all of her books are fabulously interesting and edifying. She is not like Horton, in perspective, really, and, mostly, because she is not a professional theologian, but a preacher of the Bible.
As a NYC Episcopal priest, she has held forth well, preaching hard truth in relevant, sophisticated ways. With endorsements on the back from William Willimon—he plays with the (Biblical) word that Rutledge uses (she calls Romans “theological dynamite”) and goes from there—and Beverly Roberts Gaventa, from Princeton, her mainline bone fides are well-established. Yet, she is surely preaching nothing but the gospel of God’s grace and victory. Dunamis, indeed.

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