July 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm #19997
Recently Tom Woods’ post on the Civil War descended into a partly theological debate in the comment section. I was wondering if Prof. Woods or any other could recommend any books?July 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm #19998
Hi, Samgheb. It largely depends on what you’re looking for. I had the opportunity to study at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University and I can tell you there is no end to the variety of perspectives and topics you can get in theological literature. For books aimed at a more general audience, I’d recommend anything from C.S. Lewis – “Mere Christianity”, “Miracles”, and “The Great Divorce” are especially well done works. Some of the best, most beautifully written, and interesting books I’ve read recently have been by Rob Bell, who is the author of “Love Wins” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About God”.
For more in-depth stuff, I’d recommend anything by William J. Abraham. He comes from the Methodist tradition and I had the opportunity to study under him at SMU. His work on Canonical Theism is particularly fascinating and very important. I come from the Orthodox tradition, so I’d also recommend the work of Fr. John Behr and Fr. John Romanides – their work on Patristic theology is especially good. Finally, from an Orthodox perspective, I can’t recommend the work of Archbishop Lazar Puhalo enough. While his books are in need of editing, you can find Kindle versions at amazon.com. “The Evidence of Things Not Seen: Orthodox and Modern Physics”, “The Nature of Heaven and Hell According to the Holy Fathers”, and “Freedom to Believe” are all very important works.
Hope this helps!July 26, 2013 at 1:10 am #19999chadMember
Dig in to covenant/reformation theology. Its a small remnant here in the west, though it was our roots. The people completely in line with reformational thinking today have political views that would be considered libertarian or anarchic, in the orderly sense of the term. They were the christians who backed Ron Paul, while the majority are blinded by a red white and blue rag cheering for statists like Santorum. If your a listener, check out http://againsttheworld.tv and https://www.youtube.com/user/americanvisiontv/videos?view=1&sort=dd&shelf_index=5
If your a reader look for books by Rushdoony http://amzn.to/17TeRNL , or older works by Calvin. Though probably avoid most modern “Calvinist” works, since they are as far from Calvin as most Christians are far away from Christ.July 31, 2013 at 1:49 am #20000woodsParticipant
Can you remind me about the thread? Then I could make recommendations.August 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm #20001
Not sure what you mean by that Prof. Woods?August 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm #20002gutzmankParticipant
Samgheb, I think Dr. Woods’ point is that “books about theology” is a gigantic category. Care to be more specific?August 12, 2013 at 8:08 am #20003
Ok, thanks for the clarification.
I meant books defending the existence of God. I know Prof. Woods reviewed The Last Superstitution by Edward Feser for example.August 15, 2013 at 12:40 am #20004woodsParticipant
Feser’s book Aquinas is more advanced but also useful. Richard Swinburne is also good. But again, this is not easy reading.August 16, 2013 at 9:51 am #20005
Is there no easy books like say a Economics in One Lesson but in theology? Surely some good theological defences must have been written in a popular format, no?August 16, 2013 at 10:55 am #20006gutzmankParticipant
Defenses of what? I need a specific topic.
I could refer you to defenses of icons, of veneration of the God-bearer, of the word “God-bearer” as her title, of episcopal governance, of Orthodox ecclesiology, of the doctrine of the Trinity, of the homoousion, etc., but I don’t know what you want.
Typically, short introductions are going to be from one confessional perspective (Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Fundamentalist, etc.) or another. Again, please be more specific.
It’s a big question, and to ask it as you have is a bit like saying, “Can someone please give me a recommendation of an introductory book on knowledge?”August 20, 2013 at 7:15 pm #20007
If you’re looking for theological works aimed at a more general audience, I’d recommend the works of C.S. Lewis – “Mere Christianity” and “Miracles” are especially good and I think they’re helpful in regards to what you’re looking for. Rob Bell’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About God” and “Love Wins” are also very good.August 31, 2013 at 5:50 pm #20008
I meant a defence of the existence of God.September 3, 2013 at 1:24 pm #20009maximilian_boehmMember
I second Mere Christianity by Lewis. I’d caution against Rob Bell’s books. He is what would be considered to be outside of mainstream, historical Christianity.
I’d add “Has Science Buried God” by John Lennox, where he argues against Dawkins.
This one’s also pretty interesting and quite entertaining: http://www.collisionmovie.com/
You can find lots of interesting things on youtube by searching “christopher hitchens wilson”
Other Christian debaters of whom you can find good material on youtube or through an internetsearch are Greg Bahnsen and James WhiteSeptember 6, 2013 at 12:13 am #20010
Rob Bell writes in “Love Wins” that his views are taken from a long stream of Christian thought. If only he knew how long and deep that stream runs! In fact, I’m working on research that will demonstrate that Bell is actually closer to ancient Christian teachings on heaven, hell, and the nature of God and sin and man than most “mainstream” Christians in the West give him credit for. A reading of the Fathers of the Church (particularly the Eastern Fathers) will demonstrate that Bell is much closer theologically to what the Apostles taught than your average evangelical pastor here in the States. As for more modern comparisons to Bell’s work, one need only read C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce” to see that Bell is far from being alone. Outside the mainstream of Western Christianity he may be, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong.
And samgheb, as for the existence of God, one need not get caught up in debates on His existence. Ultimately, the best proof is firsthand experience. So read the Bible, read sermons and letters from the Fathers of the Church, go to Church services, and above all, pray. We see the invitation written in scripture: “Come and see!”September 6, 2013 at 10:51 am #20011maximilian_boehmMember
Of course, Bell’s views are by no means anything new. But whatever the church fathers’ position may be, that doesn’t tell us anything about the apostles’ views. It only tells us, how certain church fathers dealt with what the apostles have left behind. This is kind of an inside quarrel about the relationship between scripture and tradition. Of course I ultimately agree that samgheb has to get involved in all the things you’ve mentioned. Just from (inter-)personal experience I nevertheless find debates immensely useful for people who have a strong intellectual drive. Read the Bible learn how to read it on it’s own terms, and don’t give up before your questions get answered! There’s lots of help available.
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