2017 – A Year in Books

The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
The Law – Bastiat
I, Pencil – Read
The Creature from Jekyll Island – Griffin
Economics in One Lesson – Hazlitt
The Road to Serfdom – Hayek
Frankenstein – Shelley
The Magician’s Nephew – CS Lewis
Plutarch’s Lives vol 1 – Plutarch
Lion Witch and Wardrobe – CS Lewis
Chosen by God – RC Sproul
The Great Divorce – CS Lewis
The Odyssey – Homer
The Lions of Lucerne – Thor
Path of the Assassin – Thor
Euthyphro – Plato
Apology – Plato
Crito – Plato
Empires of Dirt – Wilson
State of the Union – Thor
The Best Things in Life – Kreeft
Dumbing Us Down – Gatto
Screwtape Letters – CS Lewis
Insanity of God – Ripken & Lewis
The Geranium – Flannery O’Connor
The Holiness of God – RC Sproul
Flags Out Front – Wilson
His Excellency – Ellis
Out of the Ashes – Esolen
The Fellowship of the Ring – JRR Tolkien
Jesus Continued – Greear
Confessions – Augustine
Augustine on the Christian Life – Bray & Nichols
The Significance of J. Gresham Machen Today – Woolley
On the Incarnation – Athanasius
This Changes Everything – Crowe
Postmillennialism, an Eschatology of Hope – Mathison
A Case for Amillennialism – Riddlebarger
The Christ of the Covenants – Robertson
Secularized Education – Dabney
Studies on Saving Faith – Pink
Core Christianity – Horton
A Primer on Pietism – Haskins, Litts, Moffitt, & Yawn
Just Do Something – DeYoung
Leisure: The Basis of Culture – Pieper
Dispensationalism – Ryrie
Paul’s Letter to the Romans – Kruse
Romans – Schreiner
Romans – Stott
Romans – Calvin

I admit that, when I got into March or April and saw how many I had already read, I pushed myself with the new goal of 52. I thought it would be nice to average a book a week. I didn’t quite get there, and not all of these are huge tomes, but I am still pretty proud of my year on the whole.

However, I don’t think I’m going to try for this many again as my other hobby, board gaming, took a big hit this year. Both are time hungry hobbies and I think I want more balance. To that end, I think I’m just going to try for two books a month next year. I also skipped my normally annual readings of A Christmas Carol and Norms & Nobility so I will try to get those back in next year.

So, what did you read this year? And do you have any suggestions for me for next year? Let me know in the comments.


Who Killed Jesus?

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

One of my friends who used to be a pastor in Illinois was preaching to a group of prisoners in a state prison during Holy Week several years ago. At one point in his message, he paused and asked the men if they knew who killed Jesus.

Some said the soldiers did. Some said the Jews did. Some said Pilate. After there was silence, my friend said simply, “His Father killed him.”

That’s what the first half of Romans 8:32 says: God did not spare his own Son but handed him over — to death. “This Jesus [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23). Isaiah 53 puts it even more bluntly, “We esteemed him stricken, smitten by God. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he (his Father!) has put him to grief” (Isaiah 53:4, 10).

Or as Romans 3:25 says, “God put [him] forward as a propitiation by his blood.” Just as Abraham lifted the knife over the chest of his son Isaac, but then spared his son because there was a ram in the thicket, so God the Father lifted the knife over the chest of his own Son, Jesus — but did not spare him, because he was the ram; he was the substitute.

God did not spare his own Son, because it was the only way he could spare us. The guilt of our transgressions, the punishment of our iniquities, the curse of our sin would have brought us inescapably to the destruction of hell. But God did not spare his own Son; he gave him up to be pierced for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities, and crucified for our sin.

This verse is the most precious verse in the Bible to me because the foundation of the all-encompassing promise of God’s future grace is that the Son of God bore in his body all my punishment and all my guilt and all my condemnation and all my blame and all my fault and all my corruption, so that I might stand before a great and holy God, forgiven, reconciled, justified, accepted, and the beneficiary of unspeakable promises of pleasure forever and ever at his right hand.

From Future Grace, pages 110–111

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

Frédéric Bastiat, The Law (1850)


“Looking back on the rise and influence of the Christian right in American political life in the latter part of the twentieth century, Jerry Falwell said, “I was convinced that there was a moral majority out there among more than 200 million Americans sufficient in number to turn back the flood tide of moral permissiveness, family breakdown, and general capitulation to evil and foreign policies such as Marxism-Leninism.”

Thirty years later, the mood has changed. Three books have appeared almost simultaneously that assume the opposite of what Falwell believed: America is populated by an immoral majority. Not only is its leadership class dominated by progressive elites, but the American public more generally has been corrupted by constant saturation in a media of skepticism and irony, pervasive consumerism, unavoidable pornography, and incessant distraction fostered by entertainment centers in every person’s pocket. America has lost its faith, and so the faithful have begun to question their belief in America.”

Read the rest at First Things.

Why Papa of The Shack Is not Aslan of Narnia

“What Narnia teaches by analog is generally consistent with the historic Christian faith and meant to create confidence in it; what The Shack teaches using literal characterization is subversive of the Christian faith and meant to undermine it. My counsel, then, is to enter Narnia but stay out of The Shack.”

A new article from Tim Challies about the difference between Narnia and The Shack.

More about the problems in The Shack: