tagged! (good books)

paul_writingMatt just tagged me with a meme (which I thought was something Dawkins invented — you know the ‘selfish gene’?). Apparently I must:

i. List a helpful book I’ve read in each category

ii. Describe why I found it helpful

iii. Tag five more friends and spread the meme love

OK. Here goes:

  1. Theology — John Webster’s Holiness neatly summed up my second and third year doctrine course in brief compass, with some really nice tie ins to the unfolding narrative of salvation-history through his emphasis on God’s sanctifying holiness
  2. Biblical theology — There’s so much to choose from. I’ve been helped tremendously by some of the things Bill Dumbrell’s written. But I’m going to go with Richard Hays’s very stimulating little book Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. While not really a laying the foundations kind of book, it really got me excited about doing justice to the significance of the story of Israel for Paul…
  3. God — Until two weeks ago I would have gone with Byron’s answer and said Church Dogmatics IV/1, but I was blown away by Gregory Nazianzen’s Five Theological Orations — they’re so dynamic and provocatively paradoxical!
  4. Jesus — Richard Bauckham’s slim God Crucified packs a powerful punch as it sets the NT witness to the worship of Jesus within its Second Temple context to highlight both the continuity and the radical newness of Christianity with respect to Judaism…
  5. Old Testament — Barry Webb’s Five Festal Garments (on Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs and Lamentations) is pure gold, and such a delightful model of a careful and attentive Christian reading of the Old Testament. But competing with it is Robert Alter’s The Art of Biblical Narrative has helped my preaching tremendously — from both Testaments!
  6. New Testament — I haven’t read it all yet but I’m going to nominate David Peterson’s new Pillar Commentary on Acts –for my money David’s lectures on Acts are the high point of the biblical studies programme at College: rigourous without crushing imaginative and capacious engagement with the critical issues…
  7. Morals — Surely everyone’s going to say Resurrection and Moral Order but I think I actually learnt to care about ethics from Stanley Hauerwas — as well as a desire to pay attention to the place of community and the significance of making the church a place in which a positive alternative is available to immorality (rather than simply condemning it) — so I’m going to cheat a little and say The Hauerwas Reader, which gives you a good survey of his thinking in all its many splendoured twists and turns…
  8. (Church) History — R. P. C. Hanson’s The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God got me excited about Church History and the early church fathers in particular, and helped me actually understand Arianism for the first time (and why the fathers rightly rejected it)…
  9. Biography — I’m not a big biography reader, but Murray’s Martyn Lloyd Jones: The First Forty Years left a deep impression on me, stirring me up about preaching and pastoral ministry…
  10. Evangelism — OK, not strictly about evangelism (or at least not evangelism alone), but Total Church in a charmingly unassuming and British way manages to be both deeply rooted theologically and expansively practical — doing some great work healing the breach that’s opened up in too much evangelicalism between gospel proclamation and social engagement.
  11. Prayer — Hmmmm… Haven’t read a stack of books on prayer (specifically). Carson’s Call to Spiritual Reformation is a book I’ve often picked up, and then had to put down again because I’ve had too many things to get sorted out to persevere with it. It might be weird to say it but I found reading Church Dogmatics IV/1 a remarkably doxological experience — it drove me to my knees in prayerful awe time and time again…

So then, I’m meant to tag five more to churn out their versions. I’d love to hear from Bek, Sam, Andrew, Andrew and Geoff.


    1. I’ve read about two thirds of it. I kept edging up to mentioning Wright but that would be nailing my colours to the mast, now wouldn’t it?

    1. I’ve read a few of the essays in Conversion — I particularly like his one about ‘Christ ventriloquism’ in the Psalms…

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