Suggested Reading for 2013
The following are some of the books I plan to read/re-read through 2013. Where possible I have provided a link to a FREE PDF/EPUB copy of the book. Those that either have or will have the PDF/EPUB option I will notate with a PDF/EPUB “button” next to each title. If the PDF/EPUB is not available, then I’ll add a direct link to Amazon/Barnes&Noble. Hopefully you’ll add some of them to your list for this year.
Presuppostitional Apologetics: Stated & Defended
Publisher’s note: What once was lost, now is found! Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen, the definitive champion of Cornelius Van Til’s revolutionary Reformed apologetical method, wrote this systematic treatise and defense of Biblical apologetics many years before his untimely death. Dr. Bahnsen received the typeset proofs for editing, but due to the unfortunate accidents of history the only copy was lost. The work, consequently, was never published.
In the Lord’s Providence, after some twenty years, Covenant Media Foundation discovered the lost proofs. They recently sent them to American Vision where their enthusiastic editors busily began preparing the work for publication. Finally, their work has paid off!
This magnum opus of apologetics lays out the Biblical presuppositional method, provides rigorous Biblical proof, and defends the uniqueness of the method. This is the work we all longed for Bahnsen to write, yet never knew that he already had written it! Now rescued from the dustbin of history, this monument of apologetics will provide must-reading for Christian defenders of the faith for generations to come.
“This book is an important part of the historical record. It is authentic Bahnsen, vintage Bahnsen. It displays brilliantly his intellectual gifts and his devotion to the Lordship of Christ in all areas of life. Despite my differences with Bahnsen, I revere him yet today as a great blessing of God to the church and as one of the most brilliant apologists I have known. He seeks to set forth the comprehensive lordship of Christ over the human mind as over everything else, and he does that effectively. In that goal we should all be in agreement, and we should seek Bahnsen’s help to become more consistent in our commitment to the Lord. So I commend this book to all who seek to think God’s thoughts after him.”
—Dr. John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL
Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings & Analysis
“This is the late Dr. Bahnsen’s testament to today’s defenders of the truth. It is an encyclopedic synthesis of the thought of Cornelius Van Til, who was arguably the most original apologist of the twentieth century. In the grand tradition of the Sentences of the fathers, this study will be a standard for years to come.”
“. . . You must have this book, if you are serious about trying to understand Van Til’s thought.”
“It is most welcome … to have this massive volume of readings and analysis of [Van Til’s] publications by his former student and a first-rate thinker in his own right.… This book will be of great benefit to mature theological students who wish to engage secular and other pagan ideologies in contemporary society.”
E. EARLE ELLIS SOUTHWESTERN JOURNAL OF THEOLOGY (FALL 2001)
“Bahnsen does a masterful job of systematizing the central themes in Van Til’s thought and follows them with carefully selected passages from Van Til’s books, essays, syllabuses, articles, lectures and so on.”
How to Develop A Perfect Memory by Dominic O’Brien
Available at Lybrary.com. Click on the book cover.
Dominic O’Brien is the eight times winner of the The World Memory Championships and has a number of entries in the Guinness Book of Records including the memorisation of 54 packs of shuffled cards after just a single-sighting of each card. How does he do it? What is his system and how can it help YOU remember names, faces, telephone numbers, pass exams, learn languages, win at Trivial Pursuit and clean up at the Blackjack table? How to Develop a Perfect Memory will show you in simple language and easy stages.
We have an exclusive on this ebook from Dominic O’Brien. The book is long out of print. You can find second hand copies being sold in the $100 to $400 range. It is considered one of the best books on memory ever written. Everyone should have read this one. It is enlightening.
first edition, 1993 by Pavilion Books Limited; 174 pages.
The Art of Memory by Frances A. Yates
One of Modern Library’s 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century
In this classic study of how people learned to retain vast stores of knowledge before the invention of the printed page, Frances A. Yates traces the art of memory from its treatment by Greek orators, through its Gothic transformations in the Middle Ages, to the occult forms it took in the Renaissance, and finally to its use in the seventeenth century. This book, the first to relate the art of memory to the history of culture as a whole, was revolutionary when it first appeared and continues to mesmerize readers with its lucid and revelatory insights.
Biblical Logic: In Theory & Practice by Joel McDurmon
In the so-called marketplace of ideas, Christians face countless attacks on and challenges to their faith, many of which engage in subversive rhetoric and logic in order to undermine the whole counsel of God. Whether coming from skeptics, atheist, leftists, cults, or even other Christians, poor logic and dubious reasoning deserve exposure and correction. In his new book, Biblical Logic, Joel McDurmon returns to God’s Word to recover logic and critical thinking from the hands of the enemy, and to expose the fallacies of unbelief and unbiblical ideas. But is the Bible really the place to turn for logic? Is not logic the domain of scholars and philosophers? The British philosopher John Locke long ago answered this common misconception: God has not been so sparing to men to make them barely two-legged creatures, and left it to Aristotle to make them rational. In other words, logic existed and people reasoned and used the critical faculties of their minds long before any philosopher came along to teach about it. God created logic and reasoning as He created man, and He created it for man, and therefore we should find it reasonable that God’s Word has something to say – if not a lot to say – about logic, rationality, and good judgment. Christ has made us priests and kings (Rev. 1:6). He has determined that His saints shall judge the world, and even judge angels (1 Cor. 6:23), and He has thoroughly equipped us to perform these tasks. God’s Word sets the standard of reasoning and law by which we shall judge, and the Bible teaches us this standard – a standard we must follow and to which we ourselves must give account. This new book, Biblical Logic, returns to Gods word to find that standard, and to recover the God-given directives for faithful logic and critical thinking. By this standard, and by this example, Gods saints – you – can indeed discern and judge the world as God has commanded.
A Concise Introduction to Logic by Patrick Hurley
Unsurpassed for its clarity and comprehensiveness, Hurley’s A CONCISE INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC is the #1 introductory logic textbook in the market. In this Eleventh Edition, Hurley continues to build upon the tradition of a lucid, focused, and accessible presentation of the basic subject matter of logic, both formal and informal. Hurley’s extensive, carefully sequenced collection of exercises continue to guide students toward greater proficiency with the skills they are learning.
“What I like perhaps most about Hurley’s text is the organization of the material. His book introduces the material in step-by-step way building off of what was just learned the section before and adding just enough information to each section to simplify the whole process of learning logic.” – David Weise, Gonzaga University
“This is the “gold standard” of introductory logic texts.” – Frank Ryan, Kent State University
“It is the clearest text, with the best technology available.” – Stephanie Semler, Radford University
“Hurley’s text provides a methodical introduction to the strategies and techniques usually covered in an introductory logic course, including both formal and informal topics. Numerous exercises provide plenty of opportunity for students to practice the skills they have learned.” – Allyson Mount, Keene State College
“Hurley’s book is thorough and very accessible to instructors and students. One of the best logic texts on the market.” – Paula Smithka, University of Southern Mississippi
About the Author
Patrick Hurley was born in Spokane, Washington in 1942. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics (with a Physics minor) from Gonzaga University in 1964 and his Ph.D. in philosophy of science with an emphasis in history of philosophy from Saint Louis University in 1973. In 1972 he began teaching at the University of San Diego where his courses have included logic, philosophy of science, metaphysics, process philosophy, and legal ethics. In 1987 he received his J.D. from the University of San Diego and he is currently a member of the California Bar Association. He retired from teaching in 2008, but he continues with his research and writing. His interests include music, art, opera, environmental issues, fishing, and skiing.
With Good Reason by S. Morris Engel
A concise, easy-to-read introduction to informal logic, With Good Reason offers both comprehensive coverage of informal fallacies and an abundance of engaging examples of both well-conceived and faulty arguments. A long-time favorite of both students and instructors, the text continues in its sixth edition to provide an abundance of exercises that help students identify, correct, and avoid common errors in argumentation.
The books recommended under textual criticism are broken down into two categories: Orthodox & Heterodox/Heretical.
The Revision Revised by Dean John William Burgon
The importance of this book cannot be underestimated. There is no one book that exposes Westcott and Hort’s false Greek Text and false Greek theory behind that text any more thoroughly and convincingly than The Revision Revised. Dean Burgon defends the traditional text of the New Testament. He shows clearly the defects in both manuscript “B” (Vaticanus) and manuscript “Aleph” (Sinaiticus). It is very important to see the arguments contained in this historic volume because virtually the same Greek text of Westcott and Hort (1881)
The Majority Text: Essays & Reviews in the Continuing Debate by Dr. Theodore P. Letis
Reviewed by Louis F. DeBoer
The “majority text” position is a mediating position between the traditional view that embraces the Textus Receptus and the critical view that remains in search of the true text of the Greek New Testament, while confessing that it believes the search to be hopeless as to ever settling the issue with any finality. Like the defenders of the Textus Receptus they believe in divine preservation of the text, but reject the Textus Receptus as the text that God has providentially preserved. Rather they view the true text as being that which is supported in every reading by a majority of all the extent manuscripts and authorities. Hence the position is logically termed the Majority Text position. Since the vast majority of the texts are of the Byzantine family, of which the Textus Receptus is a particular example, they are therefore proposing a text that is very similar to the traditional or received text and are therefore allies against the critical text forces. However, like the critical text people, they are in search of a text, and on a quest to develop a text that truly is the “Majority Text.” This is an ongoing quest whose resolution is not nearly as simple as it may seem, and will engage in devotees in many years of what else, except of course ongoing “textual criticism.” If they were therefore ever to achieve the ascendancy and dominate the Bible publishing industry we could probably continue to look for an ongoing series of Bible translations based on ever improved (?) versions of what purports to represent the true majority text. Therefore although such Bibles would be much purer representatives of God’s inspired word, having rejected the horrible corruptions of the critical texts, they would not necessarily resolve the confusion of what precisely is the word of God nor terminate the instability that currently plagues the Bible publishing industry.
The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament by Dr. Bart Ehrman
Victors not only write history: they also reproduce the texts. Bart Ehrman explores the close relationship between the social history of early Christianity and the textual tradition of the emerging New Testament, examining how early struggles between Christian “heresy” and “orthodoxy” affected the transmission of the documents over which many of the debates were waged. He makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the social and intellectual history of early Christianity and raises intriguing questions about the relationship of readers to their texts, especially in an age when scribes could transform the documents they reproduced. This edition includes a new afterword surveying research in biblical interpretation over the past twenty years.
The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th Edition) – Dr. Bruce Metzger
This thoroughly revised edition of Bruce M. Metzger’s classic work is the most up-to-date manual available for the textual criticism of the New Testament. The Text of the New Testament, Fourth Edition, has been invigorated by the addition of Bart D. Ehrman–author of numerous best-selling books on the New Testament–as a coauthor. This revision brings the discussion of such important matters as the early Greek manuscripts and methods of textual criticism up to date, integrating recent research findings and approaches into the body of the text (as opposed to previous revisions, which compiled new material and notes into appendices). The authors also examine new areas of interest, including the use of computers in the collection and evaluation of manuscript evidence and the effects that social and ideological influences had upon the work of scribes. The standard text for courses in biblical studies and the history of Christianity since its first publication in 1964, The Text of the New Testament is poised to become a definitive resource for a whole new generation of students.
Theonomy in Christian Ethics by Dr. Greg Bahnsen
The position which has come to be labeled “theonomy” today holds that the word of the Lord is the sole, supreme, and unchallengeable standard for the actions and attitudes of all men in all reas of life. It also teaches that since the fall it has always been unlawful to use the law of God in hopes of establishing one’s own personal merit and justification. Commitment to obedience is but the lifestyle of faith, a token of gratitude for God’s redeeming grace. Jesus said, “if you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Moreover, we will strive to teach others to observe whatever He has commanded us (Matt. 28:18-20). Such healthy and necessary moral standards are surely not burdensome to the believer who bows to Christ as the Lord (1 John 5:3). Dr. Greg Bahnsen left this world for His eternal reward in Christ on December 11, 1995. We that remain are grateful to him for his labor, scholarship, love, and most of all, for his faithfulness to Christ. “Theonomy in Christian Ethics” started as a quite masters thesis in fulfillment of a Master of Theology degree from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1973. First published in 1977, this volume unexpectedly shook the theological establishment in its call for a return to God’s law as the only perfect standard of righteousness for civil ethics. Twenty-five years later it continues to challenge the church to unashamedly embrace the “Word of God, contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the only rule of faith and life.” This 25th anniversary edition of “Theonomy in Christian Ethics” offers a third preface by Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., a larger, reformatted page over previous editions, and a few minor changes and added notes. The inclusion of the CD rom with this book offers not only an e-book form of “Theonomy”, but also many other resources by Dr. Bahnsen related to the topic of Christian ethics.
Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics by John Murray
Now back in print with a new foreword by J. I. Packer, this classic study clearly shows the organic unity and continuity of the biblical ethic. Murray addresses ethical questions relating to such topics as marriage, labor, capital punishment, truthfulness, Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, law and grace, and the fear of God. Though the Ten Commandments furnish the core of the biblical ethic, Murray points the reader again and again to all of Scripture as the basic authority in matters of Christian conduct.
A Body of Doctrinal & Practical Divinity by Dr. John Gill
Having completed an Exposition of the whole Bible; I considered with myself what would be best next to engage in for the further instruction of the people under my care; and my thoughts led me to enter upon a Scheme of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity. Doctrine has an influence upon practice, especially evangelical doctrine, spiritually understood, affectionately embraced, and powerfully and feelingly experienced. Where there is not the doctrine of faith, the obedience of faith cannot be expected.
John Gill (23 November 1697 – 14 October 1771) was an English Baptist, biblical scholar, “Jehovist”, and held to a staunch Calvinistic Soteriology. Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11. He continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew, his love for the latter remaining throughout his life.
A Christian’s Reasonable Service by Wilhelmus à Brakel
First published in 1700, The Christian’s Reasonable Service (De Redelijke Godsdienst) ran through twenty Dutch editions in the eighteenth century alone! The title is derived from Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” It expresses what God requires from man, and particularly from the Christian, that he serve Him in Spirit and in truth—intelligently, rationally, and in harmony with and response to God’s revelation of Himself, His Word. With a decidedly Puritan flavor and representing Reformed experiential religion at its best, Wilhelmus à Brakel systematically moves through the major doctrines of the Bible in hopes of seeing the minds of God’s people renewed for the purpose of promoting godliness. Throughout his work, but particularly in the practical application of each doctrine, à Brakel strives unceasingly to exalt the name of Jesus as the name that the Father has given above every other name—there being no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Author Wilhelmus à Brakel was born on January 2, 1635 in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. He studied theology at the universities in Franeker and Utrecht and was particularly influenced by his mentor, Gisbertus Voetius. He served four congregations in his native province of Friesland: Exmorra (1662–1665), Stavoren (1665–1670), Harlingen (1670–1673), and his birthplace, Friesland’s capital, Leeuwarden (1673–1683). His Friesland period, however, proved to be a preparation for the great task the Lord had laid away for him in Rotterdam—his final and longest pastorate (1683–1711). After a fruitful ministry of forty-nine years, it pleased the Lord to take this eminent divine—affectionately referred to by the godly as “Father Brakel”—home to Himself in 1711 at the age of seventy-six, to receive the reward of a faithful servant.