Belgic Confession – Guido de Bres (1561) // One of the Three Forms of Unity for churches in the Dutch Reformed tradition, including the URCNA. Guido de Bres poured his heart and soul into this confession, and it’s a beautiful, stirring, and uncompromising defense of the faith. He was martyred just five years after it’s publication by the Spanish Inquisition.
Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, Owen, and Machen – John Piper (2006) // Brief overview of the lives of three stalwart defenders of the faith through the ages. I was pleasantly surprised by Piper’s chapter on Machen (founder of Westminster Seminary and the OPC), as it was more in depth than I was expecting. Thought the chapters on Anathanasius and Owen could have provided more specific examples of their defending of truth.
The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought – Marilynne Robinson (2005) // Robinson is one of the most gifted writers of the twenty-first century. These essays are loosely themed around the importance of accurate views of history, namely Calvin (he wasn’t evil!), the Puritans (the Puritanical stereotype isn’t accurate!), and Marx (read it to find out!). Main lesson: read the original writers before you claim to understand or criticize them. Much of it was over my head, but I still benefited from her mastery of language.
The Glory of Christ – John Owen (1684) // Stunning in its breadth, beauty, and insight into the glory of Christ as meditated on here on earth and in future glory. Owen touches on the essence and nature of Christ as the Son of God, his atoning and mediating work for us, and his exaltation, among many other topics. My favorite Owen work yet.
History and Fallacies: Problems Faced in the Writing of History – Carl Trueman (2010) // Written mainly for students and writers of history, so somewhat technical in places. But my reading of history will benefit from this book. Helpful examples and discussions related to Marxism, Holocaust Denial, Calvin, and more. See Robinson blurb above, as there are some similarities.
Jayber Crow – Wendell Berry (2001) // Stirring novel where the story takes second stage to the development of place, people, love, and the fictional agrarian community of Port William, Kentucky.
Lifted: Experiencing the Resurrection Life – Sam Allberry (2012) // Short, but packs a punch. Very uplifting and helpful book on an often overlooked topic: the application of the resurrection in believers’ lives. Highly recommended.
The Man Who Knew Too Much – G.K. Chesterton (1922) // Collection of short detective stories. Think Sherlock Holmes meets Chesterton’s nonfiction meets Wodehouse, but a step below all of them. Pretty good.
More: The Vanishing of Scale in an Over-the-Top Nation – Ronald Bishop (2011) // Promising subject matter with poor execution. It’s rambling, Bishop doesn’t define “scale,” and it’s unorganized without a coherent thesis. This title (from an academic press) is surprisingly just a bunch of contemporary media observations strung together with no transitions or analysis. Add the overgeneralized, condescending, extreme liberal bias, and you have one of the few books I have not finished.
Odes to Opposites – Pablo Neruda (1995) // Loved it, more than Odes to Common Things. Some profound poetry in this collection that I will definitely revisit through the years. Highlights for me include Ode to Fall (one of the best poems I’ve ever read), Ode to Fire, and Ode to Thanks.
Standing on the Promises: A Handbook of Biblical Childrearing – Doug Wilson (1997) // Very excellent. As good or better than Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart, as Wilson fills in Tripp’s covenantal gaps. Going into it, I was worried that it would be too law-based, but the first half (or more) is a refreshing exposition of God’s covenant promises to parents in Christ, and exhortations to (duh!) actually believe them. The second half is the natural follow up: how do we parent in light of these promises?
The Four: A Survey of the Gospels – Peter Leithart (2010) // One of the top books I’ve read this year, and up there with the best ever. He brings together biblical history, typology, literature, and the New Testament so clearly while showcasing the immense richness of the gospels. I will return to this book often.