Help me decide which set to get.

Discussion in 'The Literary Forum' started by Reformed Bookworm, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. Heinrich Bullinger's Decades

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. The Works of James Henley Thornwell

    1 vote(s)
    3.4%
  3. Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics

    14 vote(s)
    48.3%
  4. Vos' Reformed Dogmatics

    5 vote(s)
    17.2%
  5. The Works of Stephen Charnock

    3 vote(s)
    10.3%
  6. A few commentaries on Romans

    2 vote(s)
    6.9%
  7. Other. Please leave a comment

    2 vote(s)
    6.9%
  8. Robert Rollock's Works + Johannes Cocceius "Doctrine of the Covenant and Testament of God."

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. John Owen on Hebrews

    2 vote(s)
    6.9%
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  1. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    Good evening. My wife and mother go in together to get me a set of books each Christmas. I am stuck on which set to get. I am praying to start seminary in the fall next year with the end goal of ministry. Which of the sets in the poll above should I absorb myself in next year? I will also be going through Richard Sibbes' works next year, that is why he isn't listed.
    I added Bullinger and Thornwell because they are harder to find and happened to come across them.
     
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  2. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I haven't read much of Bavinck, but in my church circle he seems to be the most highly esteemed and talked about.
     
  3. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    I have enjoyed what I have read, "Saved by Grace" and "Doctrine of God." His Reformed Dogmatics has been high on my list. The only reason he isn't the first pick at the moment is that Thornwell's works and Bullinger's "Decades" are hard to find, especially new.
     
  4. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I am almost positive @greenbaggins would advise against Vos, as he doesn't really care for Vos that much. :p

    Seriously, though, all of these are good. If I were choosing one, it would probably be Bavinck simply because it contains a lot of historical information, although Vos is much easier to use as a reference and is highly valuable in terms of demonstrating precision in theology and exegesis, all while being very concise. I have both Bullinger's Decades and the works of Thornwell; Bullinger is wonderful to read devotionally, as the Decades are sermons on a host of topics, while Thornwell is a really good writer and gives the reader a good peek into Southern Presbyterian theology. However, he did not write a full systematic theology as did Dabney. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with Charnock.

    You know what? Now that I have thought about it while writings this post, I think I would actually go with Vos. I'll vote for him.
     
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  5. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    I was waiting for him to chime in with a vote for Vos.
    Thanks for the above insights. Do you find Dacades to be as devotional as other sermons considering his targeted audience?
     
  6. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    I echo what Taylor said. Vos isn't necessarily easy to read, though it's not as though any Systematics are. Full disclosure, though I've looked up particular topics in his other volumes, the only volume I've fully read (and thoroughly studied) is Volume 2 on Anthropology. But that single volume is absolutely worth its weight in gold. Vos is an expert at unpacking the tough questions in the Mosaic Covenant. He does it better than I've read from any other Systematics writer I've come across. This is true, even though as Taylor mentioned, his volumes are quite concise compared to others. I think he tends to be helpfully concise on issues that should be left concise, but unpacks issues with more depth and clarity of thought that need unpacking. He also does an outstanding job unpacking the specifics in dealing with the question of infants in the covenant.

    So I would definitely go with Vos. But having said that, it might not be helpful to try to get through him in a year. Some of his thoughts are absolutely brilliant but it takes time to get what he's saying. Sometimes you have to read through a paragraph or section two or three times to make sure you're tracking with him. So my recommendation would be to go with Vos, but to make it your goal to maybe just get through the first 2 volumes next year. The final three will be waiting for you on your bookcase later when you're ready!! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
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  7. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I mean, it's not like reading a sermon by Jerry Bridges or anything, but I found that they were easy to read. For example, I was reading his exposition of the civil law (which in my research is a rare thing for a theologian to address at all, much less at the length Bullinger does in his Decades), and I was engaged the whole time. In other words, I wasn't bored, and there were some gems in there, as well. Bullinger was no slouch as a theologian.
     
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  8. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Muller Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics
     
  9. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    In this instance, I am going to go for Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics. The primary reason is that they are not available online either for nothing or at a reduced price, whereas the rest of the works on your list are online. I would strongly advise you to start to learn how to read books online, especially via archive.org and the Google Play facility via Google Books. While there is no substitute for hard-copies, you cannot buy everything as you have limited finances and space (especially if you are going to seminary).
     
  10. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    I was really tempted to add this.
     
  11. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    You are absolutely correct. I need to get over my stubbornness with ebooks. I am going to have to break down and get Logos. I have been dabbling more with online books. My pastor gave me Still Water's Puritan and Reformation Bookshelves on cd before he took his new call in CA.
     
  12. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    If it is still available, do you think Dr. Morton Smith's Systematic Theology should be a contender on my list? Simply for the fact that it is going to be close to impossible to acquire once it sells out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  13. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator

    I'll attempt to resolve the Taylor Paradox :) I voted for Bavinck. I agree with Taylor that it contains a lot of important historical information. Bavinck also has an excellent Prolegomena - one of the very best I have read. So I would suggest Bavincks Reformed Dogmatics then Vos Reformed Dogmatics.
     
  14. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator

    I wonder if some of the modern Reformed Baptist discussions of the Mosaic Covenant have taken Vos seriously?
     
  15. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    I've asked Santa Claus for John Flavel's Works. But I'm not sure he'll deliver - I have a suspicion that Old Saint Nick is a snivelling Pelagian.
     
  16. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    I would start with Vos. As others have said, he's concise and is comparatively easy reading compared with some of the others. Plus, his catechetical structure makes him easy to follow. Once you've done Vos, you're probably ready for Bavinck.

    Morton Smith is out of print and probably won't be back in print for some time, I'm guessing.

    I'd stay away, for now, from Owen on Hebrews unless you're ready to get really, really, really, really deep in the weeds on Hebrews (it's quite technical).
     
  17. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Oh, yes! I would highly recommend his ST. Green
    Presbyterian Theological Seminary still has maybe 5-10 sets available. You should get it regardless of whatever this poll decides.
     
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  18. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    I went with Bavinck. I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have read by him thus far, BoT's "Doctrine of God" and "Saved by Grace." His RD has been really high on my list for some time. I'll probably use my end of year book fund to supplement it with a collected works or commentaries. Thanks for the input, everyone.
     
  19. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    Can you message me who you contacted to line up a set?
     
  20. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    I agree it may be a bit much now with my current reading schedule. I have been on an Owen binge working through seven of his works. My main concern is the Hebrews set going out of print.
     
  21. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I would contact Mr. Zachary Groff.
     
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  22. gjensen

    gjensen Puritan Board Freshman

    Thornwell is underappreciated. Had he lived longer then, we would speak more of him now.
     
  23. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I win. :cheers:
     
  24. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    If one has Berkhof, Bavinck can be postponed since Berkhof "channeled" Bavinck's Dutch work before it was made available in English. Berkhof gives you the terse basics found in their splendor in Bavinck's original—the full course meal.

    In the interim, Vos should be acquired to combine with Berkhof. Once both have been digested, then Bavinck is an appropriate acquisition.
     
  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Bavinck, but start with volume 2, 3, or 4. Read volume 1 last.
     
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  26. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator

    But make sure you get the edition including Berkhof's "Introduction to Systematic Theology". Eg, Erdmans 1996 edition. If your edition excludes this, you may want to read Bavinck's Prolegomena alongside Berkhof.
     
  27. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    I have Berkhof. I am ready for the main course. Thanks for your feedback.
     
  28. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Sophomore

    I have the edition with the introduction.
     
  29. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator

    Given the Presbyterian discussions going on in the Theological forum at present, it may not be wise to read Owen. I have heard 'horror' stories of Presbyterians reading John Owen and becomming Reformed Baptists :rofl:
     
  30. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I suspect that is probably because they have been erroneously taught that his covenant theology (indeed, even that officially set out in the Westminster Standards) is the "Reformed Baptist" view. It is decidedly odd to me that the notion that only the elect are, properly speaking, in the covenant of grace is such a misunderstood position among Presbyterians.
     
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