New & Noteworthy Books in 2015

A list of books that may be worthwhile and significant in 2015

“Christian children’s books are legion but good children’s books that captivate as well as educate are rare. Getting a pastor-theologian to take up the challenge is encouraging and I’m eager to see what DeYoung and Clark have in store for us. This is a book that promises a biblical-theological approach, connecting the dots throughout Scripture and showing our young ones the wonderful tapestry of the Bible.”

 

We’re on the eve of a new year and I thought it might be fun to post a list of books to look out for in the upcoming year. Undoubtedly my doing so is dabbling in the realm of wishful thinking, especially since there are plenty of books that I have yet to read from 2014. Nevertheless, I offer you, the reader, an opportunity to see some books that I think will be worthwhile and significant in 2015. Where I had opportunity, I was able to inquire with some of the authors about their respective books. So, if there happens to be some credit left on those amazon gift cards received from loved ones over the holidays, here are some tempting suggestions to help populate your book shelves:

Michael Allen & Scott Swain, Reformed Catholicity (Baker, January)

Swain and Allen continue the recent push for retrieving the tradition as a way of renewing contemporary theology. This book stands out because it’s written by two Reformed theologians who are plumbing the depths of their own theological tradition, appealing to principles drawn specifically from Reformed theological prolegomena and ecclesiology to show a Protestant account of how tradition operates in our theology. This is a bold but welcome move – to enter in to a conversation inhabited largely by Roman Catholics, who have been labouring in this field for years. Do Protestants have an underdetermined account of tradition based on their insistence on sola Scriptura, leaving them subscribing to something like solo Scriptura? Enter Allen and Swain…

Carl Trueman, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom (Crossway, February)

Crossway’s series, Theologians on the Christian Life, has not disappointed. Matching some of the Church’s most beloved saints with some of today’s best evangelical writers, the series puts forth books that both edify and inform. 2015 promises John Bolt on Bavinck, Bray on Augustine, Haykin and Matthew Barrett on Owen, and Trueman on Luther. It’s difficult to pick just one of them, and while I’m giving Trueman on Luther the nod, all four books have to be added to the library. Here’s what Trueman says about his own volume and it’s hard not to get a little bit excited about what’s in store:

‘This is the book I have always wanted to write: a study of Martin Luther’s theology which is connected directly to his life as a Christian and his calling as a pastor. Personally, I owe as much to Luther as to any historical Christian figure. Further, I have become increasingly irritated in recent years with the way his name is bandied about by people who clearly do not know who or what they are talking about. So much of the pop-evangelical Luther is based on the selective reading of a few texts which actually presents a picture of the Reformed which I do not think Dr Martin himself would recognise. Thus, I wanted to correct some of the caricatures of him in evangelical circles and offer him as a model of pastoral ministry and of Christian discipleship to the current generation. Was he perfect and should we follow him in every detail? Absolutely not. His errors, when he made them, were often egregious. But his focus on Word and sacrament is a real antidote to the mega-conference, Top Men and brand-dominated culture which has unfortunately swept across conservative evangelicalism in the last decade’.

Todd Billings, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ (Baker, February)

Todd Billings is a young theologian who has written a number of very important books in recent years. At the age of 39, however, Billings was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable cancer. With the kind of rich theological exposition that’s become his trademark, Billings puts his theology to work, asking the tough questions in the face of deep physical and spiritual trials. Avoiding the thin and saccharine theology that comes all too easily from evangelicals in times of difficulty, Billings gives us a heartfelt reflection that takes the depths of suffering seriously, but even more so, Rejoicing in Lament looks to the expansive comfort and peace that can only be found in the presence of the Suffering Saviour.

Keith Clements, The Moot Papers: Faith, Freedom and Society 1938-1944 (T&T Clark, February)

Ok, I’ll be honest, this is a stretch. The hardback, all 750 pages of it, is being advertised at the lofty price of $250. But, if you’re interested in what happens when a group of intellectuals – a group that included John Baillie, Alec Vidler, Donald Mackinnon and T.S. Eliot, with many others besides – get together to discuss how religion can influence and shape modern society, then look no further. These days we have the elephant room and some other popular versions of chat-style conferences on which to eavesdrop. Here we have the opportunity to listen in on some incredible conversations from luminaries at a time when Britain faced, arguably, unprecedented cultural upheaval.