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Discussion in 'The Literary Forum' started by InSlaveryToChrist, Dec 27, 2010.
Luther and Calvin
Could someone tell me which book is better for a good introduction to Calvinism?
Lectures on Calvinism - Abraham Kuyper
What is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics - R. C. Sproul
I have not read the Kuyper, but I did not care for the Sproul.
Why don't you go with Warfield for an explanation of Calvinism? The Plan of Salvation is short and stunning; delete the statement that God saves as many people as is consistent with his attributes and it's a wonderful book.
Any good books on anthropology and ecclesiology?
I read somewhere on the board that Hoekema's Created in God's Image would be a good treatment on anthropology. As to ecclesiology, Michael Horton's book People and Place was recommended. I also heard of "Bannerman", though I don't know whether that's the name of the author, or the book itself. What do you think of these recommendations?
I just realized I have read this book before (about 1 year ago)! And yes, it was a great book, indeed! I had underlined some stunning objections from Warfield against universal atonement,
"Christ did not die in the sinner's stead, it seems, to bear his penalties and purchase for him eternal life; he died rather to make the salvation of sinners possible, to open the way of salvation to sinners, to remove all the obstacles in the way of salvation of sinners. But what obstacle stands in the way of the salvation of sinners, except just their sin? And if this obstacle (their sin) is removed, are they not saved? Some other obstacles must be invented, therefore, which Christ may be said to have removed (since he cannot be said to have removed the obstacle of sin) that some function may be left to him and some kind of effect be attributed to his sacrificial death. He did not remove the obstacle of sin, for then all those for whom he died must be saved, and he cannot be allowed to have saved anyone."
I have both the Horton and the Bannerman. I prefer Bannerman hands down. The book is The Church of Christ by James Bannerman. You can read parts of it on google books if you want to read a bit before buying.
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On Horton, if you think People and place will be like his Putting Amazing back in Grace or God of Promise you will be mistaken. People and Place is written on a much higher level.
Just speaking as a lay-person, R C Sproul's books were accessible and easy to understand for a lay-person new to reformed theology, or new to theology period! The earlier title of "What is Reformed Theology" was "Grace Alone, the Heart of Reformed Theology". I think it is perfect for the person new to reformed theology who isn't at the point of reading a systematic theology or Calvin's Institutes! We bought a copy for a new believer in our church last year.
If you want to get the essentials first I think you also need some reading on Baptism and the Lord's supper. Two that I have read that have been helpful are Peter Jeffery "The Lord's Supper"
and Fred Malones Baptism of Disciples Alone
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And for understanding the church a great introduction for me was Mark Dever's "9 Marks Of a Healthy Church" Sinclair Ferguson's The Christian Life is a great intro christian doctrine, R.C. Sproul's The Holiness of God is a great book for learning more about God and His character. Tell The Truth Great work on evangelism. Foundations of Grace one of the best books I have read on the doctrines of grace. Just a few more good reads to add to the list. Also check out sinclair ferguson's "Read any Good books?".
Which book do you prefer on God's holiness:
R.C. Sproul's The Holiness of God
J.C. Ryle's Holiness
Should I get both?
If you want a study of God's Holiness, that's what Sproul deals with. Ryle's Holiness isn't about "holiness" in particular, except in one essay (the one entitled "Holiness"), and in that, it's personal holiness that's dealt with, not God's attribute.
Ryle's essays are short expositions of important topics, and I think he's well worth getting. Sproul's book is very introductory, but is a classic, and especially good for sharing with folks who don't understand that God's being a Holy God has impact on everything we do and on how we ought to think about life, the universe and everything.
So I guess I'm saying don't put these books as opposites, or alternatives, because they are really VERY different and treat very different subjects despite the similarity in titles.
A Reformed Reading List
What a great list!
I'm with Lane Keister, for warmth of treatment and intentionality of application, don't miss a'Brakel.
Remember that Turretin (in the Latin) was the staple at Princeton until Hodge.
Berkhof is Bavinck in a more compact and accessible form (albeit somewhat less exciting).
Owen writes in a style that is often viewed as difficult by American readers due to his excessive "Latin" approach to writing. There are other books to read before buying ALL of Owen. But, how can you pass on the Death of Death?
Be sure to include enough histories of the Reformation and post-Reformation period!
Owen's vol 5 on justification is wonderful.
Agreed... without parallel.
If I could only read three treatments of justification, they would be Owen, Buchanan, and Hodge (briefest). In the century since Buchanan, there are simply no books I know of that come close to replacing Buchanan. And, Owen is still my fav.
But, with the FV and that controversy, authors are producing some very good material on justification (including PB's own R. Scott Clark and Lane Keister!!!).
Thanks for the vote of confidence, brother Dennis, though completely undeserved (certainly not condignly merited, nor congruently merited, nor pactumly merited, I assure you). As for justification, Owen and Buchanan are certainly standard. I think, though, that Fesko's new book on justification deserves a place alongside Owen and Buchanan. It is fantastic.