Tag Archives: knowing God

2012 Year In Review: Non-Fiction

Top Ten

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1. THE WAGES OF SPIN by Dr. Carl Trueman
I predicted back in April that this book would probably be “the best piece of non-fiction I read in 2012.” Turns out I was right. This essay collection is short, sharp, challenging, and frequently hilarious: a prime example of why Trueman is one of my favorite writers. Full review
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2. TEN WAYS TO DESTROY THE IMAGINATION OF YOUR CHILD by Anthony Esolen
The title is potentially misleading: this is not a book exclusively for parents. Anybody can (and should) read this book, because anybody can (and will) benefit from it. It’s a witty, gritty, and delightfully subversive assault on the Bastions of Modern Educational Theory and Practice, and Esolen’s satiric flair is worthy of Uncle Screwtape himself. Full review
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3. WORDSMITHY by Douglas Wilson
My favorite writing book. Whether you want to write full time, or merely have a passing interest in it – this slim little volume should be on your shelf. It’s just that good. Full review
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4. BLACK HAWK DOWN by Mark Bowden
One of the ugliest, most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Ugly for its depiction of modern warfare; beautiful for its depiction of the men who endured it. A must-read if there ever was one. Full review
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5. JUST DO SOMETHING by Kevin DeYoung
Want to know what the subtitle is? How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know. Full review
Continue reading 2012 Year In Review: Non-Fiction

Free Not to Be Gracious

“The God of the Bible does not depend on his human creatures for his well-being (see Psa. 50:8-13; Acts 17:25), nor, now that we have sinned, is He bound to show us favor.

“We can only claim from Him justice – and justice, for us, means certain condemnation. God does not owe it to anyone to stop justice from taking its course. He is not obligated to pity or pardon; if He does so it is an act, as we say, ‘of His own free will,’ and nobody forces His hand. ‘It does not depend on man’s will or effort, but on God’s mercy’ (Rom. 9:16, NEB). Grace is free, in the sense of being self-originated and of proceeding from One Who was free not to be gracious. Only when it is seen that what decides each individual’s destiny is whether or not God resolves to save him from his sins, and that this is a decision which God need not make in any single case, can one begin to grasp to biblical view of grace.”

~ J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Ch. 13, p. 132)

On the Bookshelf

Knowing God by J.I. Packer
I can’t believe I’m only now discovering this book. What an amazing read, in every way deserving of the title “classic”. I’m about halfway through it at this point, and it’s quickly becoming a favorite.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre
I started this one primarily because I was interested in seeing the movie (which hits theaters next month). I’ve learned to appreciate it for its own merits, however, and I can honestly say that it’s one of the best espionage thrillers I’ve ever read. The plot is intricate and smart, the tension is gradually built but relentless, and George Smiley is now one of my all-time favorite literary characters.
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
A scathing and profound indictment of a media-drunk society obsessed with being “entertained”. Neil Postman is a brilliant writer, both smart and darkly humorous, and his examination of the cultural effects of show-business and television are eye-opening and thought-provoking.
Knox’s Irregulars by J. Wesley Bush
A sci-fi military thriller set in the 25th century. The author served as an airborne infantryman, military intelligence cryptolinguist, NGO worker, and historian… and he’s also a Reformed Christian. To quote one of the reviewers on Amazon.com, “Take a Tom Clancy novel like The Teeth Of The Tiger… set it in a universe like the one depicted in Firefly… sprinkle in a respect for the sensibilities of the Protestant Reformation, and you’ve got J. Wesley Bush’s new novel Knox’s Irregulars.”
Empire by Niall Ferguson
A well-written account of the rise and fall of the British World Order, as well a fascinating account of its impact – both positive and negative – on the surrounding world. I’m not entirely certain I agree with all of the author’s conclusions (and I don’t believe he’s writing from a Christian perspective), but nevertheless, it’s a superb read so far.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
What can I say? It’s a classic and I should’ve read it years ago. I’m not the biggest fan of Dickens’ – it is my personal opinion that he waxeth a little too verbose sometimes – but I have to say I’m really enjoying this one.
Carry a Big Stick by George Grant
An inspiring little biography of the inimitable Theodore Roosevelt, one of my favorite historical figures. I had to laugh at the Amazon.com reviews denouncing it as a “right-wing Christian propaganda piece”. *gasp* Well imagine that! A book about a Christian man written from a Christian perspective? *double gasp* Preposterous! How dare they…
Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
Who knew economics could be so interesting and fun to study? Hazlitt does a superb job of making even the most complex economic theories easy to grasp, without dumbing them (or the reader) down. Concise, painlessly intructive, and a vigorous contender for free-market capitalism. Definitely recommended.
A Summary of Christian Doctrine by Louis Berkhof
A brief but instructive presentation of the Christian religion written in the 1960s. So far, very little of the subject matter is new to me (one of the advantages of growing up in a Christian home), but I always welcome a good “refresher”.

What’s on your bookshelf right now?

Theological Intoxication

“If we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it… [We must be] interested in truth and orthodoxy, in biblical teaching and theology, not as ends to themselves, but as means to further ends of life and godliness.”

~ J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Ch. 1, pp. 21, 22)