First, the new issue of the Themelios Journal (General Editor is D.A. Carson) has now been posted. Usually theological academic journals are a mixed bag with a number of articles that you can skim and then a couple that are worth reading carefully. This edition looks like just about everything is worth taking time to read. There are articles from Carl Trueman, Tim Keller, James Hamilton, and Philip Ryken. I will warn you that like most journals this is primarily written for academics and theological students and so you should not expect anything in here to be light and easy reading. That said there are always a large number of book reviews in this journal and that can be quite helpful. In particular I wanted to highlight a review of Andreas Kostenberger's Quo Vadis Evangelicalism. This book is available on the Shady Grove bookstore table (I have not read it but David Roach from SBTS gives a good summary).
Second, as a follow up to Wednesday's post about reading John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion with the bloggers at Reformation 21, according to this post you can e-mail them to get a reading schedule. If you want to read the Institutes but not follow along with the Ref21 group then here is a link to a reading schedule provided by RTS (warning, .pdf file). Note that the link through the Ref21 post goes to a high cost for the Institutes. It is $20 more than you need to pay. If you need to pick up a copy then use the link to Monergism Books that I've provided (this is also $5 lower than the WTS Books price).
Third, by now many of you have probably heard of or seen the new edition of Newsweek that argues a biblical case for homosexual marriage. Carl Trueman (Church history and historic theology at WTS) has written a brief essay responding to the article. I think that you'll find it helpful.
Finally, one of the topics that never seems to be settled is the relationship of the church and culture. We will be discussing this in the Spring Sunday School quarter when we resume our study of Presbyterian theology. In the meantime, here is an essay from Ron Gleason on the topic. If you're interested in studying this then there are a number of books that you can look at:
- Lectures on Calvinism by Abraham Kuyper - This is probably the single best work that you can pick up on the topic. Kuyper was both a professor of Systematic Theology in the Netherlands for many years and also was elected and served one term as the Prime Minister of that country. This book is a compilation of the Stone Lectures that Kuyper gave at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1898. You can also find this work in downloadable and printable form online for free.
- How Then Shall We Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture by Francis Schaeffer - This is one of the best known books on how to live the Christian worldview in culture that is opposed to Christ. I would still recommend that you read Kuyper but that is not in anyway intended to be a slight against Schaeffer on this topic.
- Christ and Culture Revisited by D.A. Carson - I had very mixed feelings when I read this book. Carson is quite helpful in dealing with many of the problems in Richard Neibuhr's well-known Christ and Culture. You should certainly just read Carson's summary and improvement on Neibuhr rather than wasting your money there. On the other hand, I felt like Carson never really set forth a conclusion and the end of the book does leave the reader hanging a bit. It's still good and worth reading but you'd be better off reading Kuyper instead. The chapter where Carson deals with Kuyper and Dabney (commending both even in their differences) is helpful as many Reformed theologians ignore Dabney on this subject and only read Kuyper. Even though Dabney never experienced the success of Kuyper and was wrong on the issue of slavery in the South (no doubt a major case of how the church is to interact with culture) both he and Thornwell have a number of very helpful points on this subject and Carson does bring that up (another reason I hope to post something on Dabney soon).
- Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch - I have to admit that I haven't read this book. I recommend it because it is highly acclaimed by a number of theologians that I trust. There is a review of it by William Edgar (Apologetics at WTS) in the Themelios link above.