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Random Book Reviews & Topics > What are you reading now?

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message 1: by Heath (new)

Heath (heathcates) | 95 comments Mod
In order to get some discussions going I would like to invite everyone to simply list a book they are currently reading with some thoughts on it so far. If any particular book discussion seems to gain some traction we can split its conversation to a new topic.

message 2: by Heath (new)

Heath (heathcates) | 95 comments Mod
I'll start with a light one. I just finished The Voyage of the Dawn Treader this week and thought it was a fun book. It was light and adventurous and quite enjoyable.

I did however make the mistake of immediately watching the movie version. Not to completely trash the movie but it was one of the worst book to screen attempts I have seem as far as accuracy goes.

message 3: by Trice (last edited Apr 07, 2013 12:59AM) (new)

Trice I found the film rather forgettable (really! I keep having to think about whether I watched it or not, but then I remember the film versions of Eustace and Reepicheep) - maybe I should rewatch it - but I do remember it falling far short of the book. I suppose that shouldn't be surprising but there's always at least a small hope when a film version of a book comes out that they'll do something remarkable in translating between media. Dawntreader is so episodic though - maybe it was too difficult.

re: the book - even though the end is very dramatic, and now that I think about it, very powerful, the part that stands out strongest in my memory is Eustace's retransformation. It probably stands close to my favorite part of the Narnia books which is in The Horse and His Boy, (view spoiler)

message 4: by Heath (new)

Heath (heathcates) | 95 comments Mod
The movie adds two notable plot points not even in the book and rearranges the "episodes" in a way that was distracting. They make some things dark that are not dark in the book and they leave out some parts of the book that had the most resonance for me.

Also, (view spoiler)

I am also reading Practicing Affirmation: God Centered Praise Of Those Who Are Not God which has been great so far. I started a post on it here:

message 5: by Josh (new)

Josh (joshuadparker) I'm currently reading Future Grace (Piper), Overcoming Sin and Temptation (Owen), and Pilgrim's Progress (Bunyan). Future Grace is fairly long at 400+ pages, but it's been particularly beneficial as both a theoretical and practical piece of theological writing. OC&T is difficult, but it's well worth the effort. And Pilgrim's Progress is so well known that I believe I don't need to say much about it.

message 6: by Heath (new)

Heath (heathcates) | 95 comments Mod
Joshua, I haven't tackled Future Grace yet but I hope to eventually. When you finish it up be sure to post a blurb about it.

I have Overcoming Sin and Temptation by Owen and have read one of the contained books on the mortification of sin and it was a great help. I love Owen and he has been the best I have read on that subject personally. I agree that to read it is a labor, the best way, and the effort it takes is a rewarding one.

It has been almost 10 years since I read the Pilgrim's Progress and I need to revisit it.

Overall, it sounds like you have your hands full with some good books.

message 7: by Andreas (new)

Andreas  Jongeneel (anderejas) I'm reading a work of Calvin, a Dutch translation of De aeterna dei praedestinatione(Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God) and Consensu Genevensis and two sermons in one book.

message 8: by Greg (new)

Greg Balzer | 2 comments Systematic Theology by Grudem and Desiring God by John Piper. Now that Spring has arrived my fear is that my reading time may diminish.

message 9: by Heath (new)

Heath (heathcates) | 95 comments Mod
Greg, how are you tackling Systematic Theology? Straight through as you have time, with a reading plan?

message 10: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 38 comments I am currently reading Heaven: A World Of Love by Jonathan Edwards. On the weekends I've been reading Nehemiah by James Boice to study through the book of Nehemiah. I am rereading You Can Change: God's Transforming Power For Our Sinful Behavior And Negative Emotions by Tim Chester with a friend of mine from church for fellowship and accountability.

I recently finished Who Is Jesus? (Crucial Questions Series) by R.C. Sproul and Five English Reformers by J.C. Ryle.

message 11: by Greg (new)

Greg Balzer | 2 comments Heath, straight through as time allows without a real plan. I'm working through it with a friend which seems to be holding me accountable. I find Grudem pretty straightforward to read, so I'm less apt to lose my momentum on this book as compared to others. I've found finishing a book to always be more difficult than starting.

message 12: by Josh (new)

Josh (joshuadparker) Daniel, is Five English Reformers worth the purchase?

message 13: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 38 comments Joshua:

It's a tough call. I love J.C. Ryle and am a huge Ryle fan, but honestly I didn't like it quiet as much as Holiness, Thoughts for Young Men and A Call to Prayer. I don't typically read biographies. I prefer to read theology, but I think will read more biographies in the future.

Like most of his books, the chapters are originally articles complied together. Some of the content is a bit repetitive, but each of the biographies given were powerful examples of those died for the sake Gospel truth. Each example was both convicting and encouraging. With that being said, Ryle quotes John Foxe's Book of Martyrs in each chapter for a couple pages.

To answer your question, it depends on what you are looking for. If you want to read a few brief biographies of a few reformers, then get it. It's only $6.40 at WTS Bookstore. If you want more biographies that go more in depth into their lives, then just get Foxe's Book of Martyrs.

message 14: by Troy (new)

Troy (troyalasseigne) Owen and Piper are always good. How about Michael Horton (Pilgrim Theology) and Joel Beeke (Puritan Thelogy)?

message 15: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Dunn (kkdunn) | 10 comments I have just started Horton's Pilgrim Theology

message 16: by Travis (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments I just finished "Reasons For Faith" by John Gerstner. I'm currently reading "The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon" by Steven Lawson.

message 17: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Dunn (kkdunn) | 10 comments Travis, I am most interested in your comments

message 18: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Dunn (kkdunn) | 10 comments ...regarding Lawson's book on Spurgeon.

message 19: by Travis (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments Kelly, it is an incredible book! I've always loved Spurgeon. In an age when the vast majority of Baptists don't even know what the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith is (let alone agree with it), it's invigorating to recall a time when Baptists once held to Reformed biblical teaching. Spurgeon may not have been formally trained but he had such a way with words. He had a heart for the lost yet a tongue that could slice right through heretics.

I've been posting a lot of Spurgeon quotes from this book on the Facebook page of my own book. You can see some of them at

I typically post quotes on that page from books I'm reading.

message 20: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Dunn (kkdunn) | 10 comments I am a SBC credentialed minister who embraces the Doctrines of Grace. There are those who believe that those of us who are reformed in our doctrine as a "Blight" with in our denomination.

message 21: by Travis (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments That's because they are ignorant and don't know their roots. Sounds harsh but such is the truth sometimes.

message 22: by Heath (new)

Heath (heathcates) | 95 comments Mod
Travis, I just started following the fb page.

Also, Kelly, it should be interesting to see the results of the "Committee on Calvinism" that is planning to make a proposal on how to deal with the current rift in the SBC.

message 23: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Dunn (kkdunn) | 10 comments I am waiting for the result of the committee's findings as well. l would not surprised if the SBC splinter into three groups: "Traditional" Southern Baptists, "Reformed" Southern Baptists, and "Cooperative Baptist Fellowship" Southern Baptists.
I must admit my heart has been grieved ever since the 1985 SBC at Dallas - what a mess that was... I was there and was embarresed and heart broken.

message 24: by Travis (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments Heath, glad to hear you are following the page. While I'm mainly using it to post quotes from books I'm reading, I'll be shifting back into promotion mode soon as the release date of my latest book gets closer. In the meantime, feel free to check out some other lessons I've written. They can be seen at

As for the division, I'm not certain what will come out of it. It's been an area of contention for years but it has been viewed as secondary for the longest time. However, as the modern reformation has been growing, it is an escalating issue. In a way, I think it might be helpful to split. However, in another way, I would like to see reconciliation. Unfortunately, I don't see that as happening. While it may seem secondary, I do believe there are too many core issues at stake as the doctrines of grace are not secondary in any sense.

message 25: by Heath (new)

Heath (heathcates) | 95 comments Mod
To me the SBC is the cooperative program. It is there to help support missionaries. Most churches never think about anything else they do even if they are members. It is important to keep up the discussion but I don't see the division as a reason to split.

There are other groups we can connect to inside the SBC ranks, like the founders ministry, to keep together on the Doctrines of Grace side.

message 26: by Travis (last edited Apr 16, 2013 08:36AM) (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments I can agree with that. If we really look at it, the SBC is actually just a convention that happens once a year. While there are positions within it and things that happen, most of it is upon individual churches that are united by the group. Our church is only involved in it because they see it as the most effective way to be involved in missions. Apart from that, there is really no involvement or ties to it. A position of beliefs isn't really criteria to join it. So long as you have the paycheck, you can be a member.

message 27: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Dunn (kkdunn) | 10 comments Travis, I hope I am mistaken, but I doubt it. I have heard vitriolic dialogue that was difficult to listen to. I also understand that TECHNICALLY the SBC is a "Convention of Churches" except for the fact that there are five seminaries to choose from. For example Southwestern Seminary is quite different than Southern Seminary -- I do apologize if I am stirring the pot. it certainly is not my intention, I am quite confident that my personal library will look different from many SBC pastors. Frankly, I am considering mailing my Ordination Certificate to the Church that conferred it.

message 28: by Travis (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments Yes, there are definitely other benefits that go along with being a part of the SBC. The conference is only once per year. However, there are also local conferences that occur at the state and regional level periodically. Apart from that, there are "projects" that are sponsored by the SBC as a whole. The seminaries are a part of that as are missions. I've heard the seminary in Kentucky (not sure of the names of any of them) is fairly Reformed whereas the rest typically are not. This all goes back to it being a somewhat secondary issue so far as the SBC (in the generic sense) is concerned.

message 29: by Heath (new)

Heath (heathcates) | 95 comments Mod
I was at a SBC church before my current one and we did a decently long study covering the Baptist Faith and Message which is the document the SBC uses as its broad confession. If I remember correctly it was quite solid. And yet, many SBC churches that affirm it probably haven't read it and might disagree with it. That is one of the reasons I see the divide as less violent. It is easy for people to be afraid of the scary Calvinist but when we confront the bible and ever the BF&M there are more solid similarities than differences. There may be some that are big differences but that is where the SBC has gone as it has gained a liberal faction over the last hundred years or so. There is a desire to clarify and even reform the SBC but that doesn't make it useless in my opinion.

message 30: by Travis (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments We did an in-depth study of the BF&M at my last church (which was not Reformed). It is a solid document but it really doesn't talk about a lot of the controversial differences. It leaves them out completely. I prefer the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.

message 31: by Heath (new)

Heath (heathcates) | 95 comments Mod
My current church is a 1689 BC. One of our elders actually just finished a modernization of it. It modernizes the language and attempts not to change anything else. It's the second book listed for this month.

message 32: by Travis (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments There are definitely some words used that have changed in meaning over time. It's helpful to have an original Webster's dictionary available. My biggest challenge is the constant run on sentences. The entire paragraph is one sentence in most sections.

message 33: by Travis (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments It's the same challenge I face when reading Jonathan Edwards.

message 34: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 38 comments I recently finished reading Truth For All Time Gift Edition by John Calvin. It's the first edition of Calvin's Institutes so it is much smaller (only about 130 small pages) than the two volume edition. I read it to get a flavor of Calvin's writing and it was excellent. I highly recommend it. The chapter on prayer alone is worth the price of the book. It was short but profound. I'm amazed how much truth is packed in such few words. And it wasn't a difficult read either (like Edwards or Owen). I was a bit intimidated at the longer edition of Calvin's Institutes, but now after reading this shorter version I really want to read the longer version.

message 35: by Greg (new)

Greg Baughman | 3 comments Daniel wrote: "I recently finished reading Truth For All Time Gift Edition by John Calvin. It's the first edition of Calvin's Institutes so it is much smaller (only about 130 small pages) than the two volume ed..."

Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Calvin is an excellent writer, so I think you will find that the final version of the Institutes are not as intimidating as it seems at first glance. For others interested in the first edition of the Institutes check out Institutes of the Christian Religion: Embracing Almost the Whole Sum of Piety, & Whatever is Necessary to Know of the Doctrine of Salvation: A Work Mo This volume, translated by Battles, has a great introductory essay, and includes 4 great appendices(most notably, Cop/Calvin's "Academic Discourse" which led to his exile from France), and a few good indices(such as a comparative table of the 1536 and final 1559 editions).

message 36: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 38 comments Thanks Greg.

I currently have Institutes of the Christian Religion which a Henry Beveridge translation. Some people recommend the John T. McNeill edition. Do you recommend the Battle translation or the Beveridge translation? Or one by a particular editor/publisher? If so, I'd like to hear why you prefer a particular translation/publisher.

message 37: by Greg (new)

Greg Baughman | 3 comments Daniel wrote: "Thanks Greg.

I currently have Institutes of the Christian Religion which a Henry Beveridge translation. Some people recommend the John T. McNeill edition. Do you recommend the Battle translation o..."

I would go with the McNeill/Battles edition. My edition is from Westminster/John Knox Press. McNeill's notes are very helpful for understanding the references to classical literature and the Father's. There are also helpful notes about the various additions and rearrangements that Calvin made to the Institutes through its 4 Latin editions. The Beveridge translation is fine, but it is dated (from the middle of the 19th century) and it does not have the notes by McNeil, of course. The McNeil/Battles edition is the current standard.

message 38: by Troy (new)

Troy (troyalasseigne) Ditto on Jonathan Edwards, and I would add John Owen. I like the modern version, Overcoming Sin and Temptation

message 39: by Cheri (new)

Cheri | 3 comments I'm real enjoying the book "The Rest of the Gospel When the Partial Gospel has worn you out" by Dan Stone. It is about us living the abundant life. Has anyone else read this book?

message 40: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Dunn (kkdunn) | 10 comments I just completed "Amazing Dad: Letters from William Wilberforce to His Children" by Stephanie Byrd, (Profoundly Excellent!) I just received "John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace" by Jonathan Aitken.

message 41: by Chuck (new)

Chuck (anselmherman) | 5 comments I've been reading Peter Enns' books, Inspiration and Incarnation, and The Evolution of Adam. I wrote a goodreads review for Inspiration and Incarnation, and plan to do one for The Evolution of Adam. Regarding Inspiration and Incarnation, Enns noted that his critics said he had conceded ground to liberal, biblical scholarship and said: “I think they are actually right.” He commented that he wasn’t the first evangelical to address these issues, but his book brought them together for popular consumption. He does a similar thing with The Evolution of Adam.

message 42: by Travis (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments I'm reading "Parenting By God's Promises" by Joel Beeke. So far, I disagree with everything up till page 59 but that's because he's setting the foundation on the Presbyterian concept of Covenant Children which, as a Reformed Baptist, I reject.

message 43: by Cheri (new)

Cheri | 3 comments I'm currently reading "The Rest of the Gospel when the partial Gospel has worn you out" by Dan Stone. I highly recommend it!

message 44: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 38 comments @Ebony

The Attributes of God by Pink is excellent. One of my favorite books. His other writings are good as well.

message 45: by Travis (new)

Travis Rogers | 14 comments I agree that The Attributes of God is amazing. I recent read The Total Depravity of Man by him. My favorite work of his though is The Sovereignty of God.

message 46: by James (new)

James Tessin (JamesClareTessin) | 3 comments Everyone should read Pink's book "The Sovereignty of God." :-)

message 47: by James (new)

James Tessin (JamesClareTessin) | 3 comments I'm reading "Puritan Political Ideas" edited by Edmund S. Morgan.

message 48: by Polarbear (last edited Jun 10, 2013 06:27PM) (new)

Polarbear (PolarBearEverywhere) | 6 comments Daniel wrote: "Thanks Greg.

I currently have Institutes of the Christian Religion which a Henry Beveridge translation. Some people recommend the John T. McNeill edition. Do you recommend the Battle translation o..."

I would second what Greg had to say in response to your Question Daniel. The Extra Notes are truly helpful.
Wow, I am encouraged to see some great titles being read here.
Currently I have taken a break from all Non-Fiction Reading Activities and found something somewhat irrelevant. Completely Secular By Lois Lowry The Giver and Gathering Blue I have finished reading over the last couple of weeks and have started the third of the Four books in the series. I was shocked to learn that these are considered Good Reading for Youth (LOL)
Well, I don't know what to say about them except to that I have found them to be suspenseful, apart from Pilgrim's Progress and Holy War Both By Bunyan,they would be the only Novels I have been able to actually finish reading.
I saw a comment about Pink's Sovereignty of God, and would also say that it is a must read for every Christian Wonderfully insightful and a good resource to help one to plunge into the Bible to Discover how precisely God is Sovereign.

message 49: by David (new)

David | 4 comments I'm reading Marsden's biography of Jonathan Edwards.

message 50: by Alex (new)

Alex | 15 comments I'm reading a biography called: Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy by Paul Gutjahr. Also reading some critical essays: Charles Hodge Revisited

Can anyone recommend a book on biblical interpretation?

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