I’m going to try to start a regular reading listing (monthly or quarterly, who knows) of the books I’m going through. At any given time I’m going through a handful of books (too many, my wife tells me ;))
Anyways, here’s what I’m going through at the moment. Links are included above the book descriptions:
Delivered from the Elements of the World: Atonement, Justification, Mission, AMAZON
I’ve always been a fan of Peter Leithart. He is a Presbyterian and Federal Vision guy. He’s always been a bit of a controversial character, but his writing is never disappointing. This book is (mainly) about the atonement and its corollary doctrines. The thrust of this book is to espouse a comprehensive theory of atonement that also works as what he calls “social theory”. Leithart has a very rich, multifaceted understanding of the cross, which I like: he brings in Anselm, Aquinas, the Eastern fathers, fiddles a bit with penal substitution and new perspective. Put broadly, he understands the cross to be a deliverance from the “elements” of the fallen world.
A Theology in Outline: Can These Bones Live? AMAZON
Robert Jenson is a Lutheran scholar famous for his ecumenical work on the Lutheran understanding of forensic justification, known as the “Finnish interpretation of Luther”. This book is a transcript of lectures that he gave as an overview of Christianity. It’s a great “Christian basics” book, and would be good for newer (as well as older!) Christians.
Christus Victor, AMAZON
Gustav Aulen is another Lutheran scholar, known for his emphasis on Patristic theology, and famous for his espousal of what he called the Christus victor view of the atonement. In his estimation, satisfaction/juridical views of atonement are insufficient, and the Christus victory is more a comprehensive theory because, as Aulen says, it is not simply a theory, but rather a drama of God’s victory over sin and evil. He borrows from the patristics and argues that the Fathers (contrary to popular opinion) had a comprehensive view of cross and atonement.
The Gospel and the Catholic Church, AMAZON
Anglican Michael Ramsey, at one time the Archbishop of Canterbury, writes this book in order to integrate high liturgical ecclesiology with the gospel. In his introduction, he explains that many perceive high liturgical church life as stiff or ritualistic; against the evangelical freeness of the gospel. He makes an effort to understand the church as the mystical body; and that through the church life one participates in the cross and resurrection of Christ. Christ is the church, and vice versa, and thus the best way to experience the evangelic nature of Christianity is to experience the church.
Christian Dogmatics: Reformed Theology for the Church Catholic, AMAZON
Drs. Scott Swain and Michael Allen have compiled a brilliant collection of essays from various Reformed theologians in this volume. The book is, however, not simply Reformed dogmatics; the uniqueness of this volume is that each essay borrows from the entire tradition of the church: patristic, medieval, Reformational, so on. This makes these essays particularly rich and informative, and even at times surprising! This is a great book that both bolsters the greatness of the Reformed tradition and challenges some of its particulars.