Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Reading Meme

There's a "meme" going around the blogosphere. I guess in some ways it's just a more formal version of an email forward (the nice name) or spam (depending on your mood!). Friend and fellow bibliophile Joshua Sowin of Fire and Knoweldge "tagged" me to be it. Since Josh has an involuntary tick whereby he immediately starts sputtering cynicism whenever he gets spam and yet he decided to fill it out anyway, I figured that the least I could do was respond in kind. So here goes:

Number of Books I Own

I haven't counted for a few years now. My best guess is maybe 800 volumes. But I'm really not sure.

Last Book I Bought

Tonight I bought The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timeby Mark Haddon. It's gotten rave reviews--but it's not for me. It's for my dad for Father's Day. And since my dad neither knows how to type nor even how to turn on a computer, I'm not too worried that announcing it here will ruin the suprise. The last book I bought for myself was The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925, by Herbert Gutman--a book that, according to the cover blurb by Charles Silberman, "makes obsolete almost everything that has been written or said about the Black experience in the United States."

Last Book I Read

The last book I finished was John Piper's pre-pub manuscript for God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself. I'm curently reading Paul Helm's The Providence of God and Richard Lints' The Fabric of Theology.

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me

  • The Bible. "Every word of God proves true" (Prov. 30:5). "The words of the Lord are pure words" (Ps. 12:6). "The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Heb 4:12). Recommend translation: ESV. Recommended edition: The Reformation Study Bible.
  • Desiring God and The Pleasures of God by John Piper. Both were paradigm-shaping works for me in college as I was introduced to Christian Hedonism, the glory of God, and the doctrines of grace.
  • Temptation and Sin by John Owen. This is the title of Banner of Truth's collection of Owen's three works (Mortificaiton of Sin, Indwelling Sin, and Temptation of the Believer). J. I. Packer wrote of Mortificaiton: "I owe more to John Owen than to any other theologian, ancient or modern; and I owe more to this little book than to anything else he wrote. John "Rabbi" Duncan told his students before they were to read Indwelling: "Prepare for the knife." And Andrew Thomson wrote of Temptation: "Whole passages flash upon the mind of the reader with an influence that makes him feel as if they'd be written for himself alone." I am currently under contract with Crossway Books to reprint these three works in a new edition, complete with outlines, introductions, new headings, extensive glossary, indexes, etc.
  • Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem. It was the first ST textbook I read, and I find myself continuing to return to it often. Grudem's writing is clear, bibilically sound, and generally persuasive. It's one of the few books that I would assign to every Christian if I had such power to do so.
  • The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God and The Doctrine of God, by John Frame. These are the only two volumes published thus far in Frame's projected four-volume series on a Theology of Lordship. (The next volume will be Doctrine of the Christian Life, followed by Doctrine of the Word of God.) I've never fully understood why a number of Reformed scholars have hesistations about Frame's work. I consistently find them to be deeply biblical, thoughtful, persuasive, and insightful. These are two of the few books I've read more than once--and plan to do so again.

Who’s Next?

As Josh wrote, "I hate spreading this virus to someone else, so I give my apologies in advance to" . . . Phil Johnson.