"To love God fully, we must first hear from him clearly—not from culture or the latest religious trends or our feelings, but from him—precisely how it is that he wishes to be loved..... Similarly, we limit our knowledge of God, when we limit our pursuit of theology and sound doctrine, we likewise limit our ability to love him rightly." - Sauls
"What if we Christians want to influence public life, public policies? Then we have to search for and find middle axioms. These are ethical principles that have something in common with our Christian worldview but do not require full blooded and authentic Christian faith—to see their rightness. But this is not really 'public theology.'" - Roger Olson
"Americans assume that people will make the right choices and believe the right things for them given the right conditions. Human nature is sufficient to guide us into personal truth. Thus, at the salad bar of beliefs, objective claims about God or morality violate the fundamental principle that life is a salad bar, and you are the rightful creator of your plate." - LifeWay
This post will be the last set of recommendations for those whom one might call “beginning students.” I had said that I would do Church history and biography, but first let me say something about the apologists Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis. Surveying some of the works of these men does not mean that I endorse everything about their methodology or substance, but the importance of their work speaks for itself.
Francis Schaeffer wrote small but thoughtful books about worldview. His style requires a little effort to adapt to, but his concerns are of great relevance today. The first works by him that you should seek out are those which comprise what is known as The Trilogy. Those are, The God Who Is There, Escape From Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent. They can now be purchased in a single volume. These books deal with the consequences of abandoning Truth and Reason, and the reality of God. Yes, you’ll have to put your thinking caps on.
Read Part 1.
I said in the last post that I would continue where I left off, so let me say something about books covering other aspects of Systematic Theology first.
The doctrine of man and sin require some strong representation in these days. Since the books by Ryrie, Stott. Lightner and Boice already mentioned treat these issues well I shall not add any other books to the list with the exception of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s The Plight of Man and the Power of God, and Jeremiah Burroughs’s The Evil of Evils. Yes he’s a Puritan, but he is one of the easiest Puritans to read so there’s no excuse. Thomas Watson (another Puritan!) wrote a small book called The Mischief of Sin which I also recommend. For those who want to think through the craziness that is gender and body politics today and want to be grounded in truth I recommend Nancey Pearcey’s Love Thy Body.
What about the Church? I don’t much care for Mark Dever, but his little book on The Church is good. If a person wanted one book on the doctrine of the church I would direct them to Robert Saucy, The Church in God’s Program.
I received this question recently:
Thank you for all the material you put out. I have benefitted quite a bit. Do you have a list of books/reading that you would recommend as “must read” for someone wanting to grow theologically? I am a part-time worship pastor and full-time elementary music teacher. Previous experience as lay/part-time church planter, youth pastor, and young adult pastor. No seminary, relatively studied, conservative theologically.