Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top Reads 2016 (in chronological order by category)

Top Reads for 2016 (in chronological order by category)

A few of my favorite reads this year were not published in 2016, but I've included them because they were so impactful and relevant to issues that arose this year. I've broken them into a few separate categories and listed them chronologically (rather than in order of most preferred). I decided to categorize books separately that were written on the topic of women's ministry, as women's Bible studies, or by women with particular interest to women in the church. The books with an asterisk have been reviewed on Good Reads - or will be reviewed soon.
What were some of your favorites? What do you think of my list?

General Theology and Church History:

*The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance by Sinclair Ferguson
*From the Finger of God: The Biblical and Theological Basis of the Threefold Division of the Law by Phillip Ross (Published in 2010)
For a Continuing Church: The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America by Sean Michael Lucas
The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship by Robert Letham (original: 2004, Kindle 2016)
The Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption by J.V. Fesko
Church History 101 The Highlights of Twenty Centuries by Joel Beeke, Michael Haykin, and Sinclair Ferguson
*You are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K.A. Smith
The Triune God (New Studies in Dogmatics) by Fred Sanders (edited by Michael Allen and Scott Swain)
Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification by Sinclair Ferguson

Women's Ministry/Women's Bible Study:

From Garden to Glory: A Bible Study on the Bible's Story by Courtney Doctor
Get Your Story Straight: A Guide to Learning and Living the Gospel by Kristen Hatton
*A Heart Set Free: A Journey of Hope through the Psalms of Lament by Christina Fox
*Unashamed: Healing our Brokenness and Finding Freedom from Shame by Heather Davis Nelson
*None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different from Us by Jen Wilkin
*Transformed: Life-taker to Life-giver (A Gospel-centered Bible Study on Eve, Sarah, and Mary) by Susan Hunt and Karen Hodge
*Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson
*No Little Women: Equipping all Women in the Household of God by Aimee Byrd

Non-Theological Fiction/Non-Fiction:

The Revenant by Michael Punke
*Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
Story of Your Life (Arrival) (from Stories of Your Life and Others) by Ted Chiang

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year - Reflecting on Our Justification in Christ

As I was reading The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin, I was reminded our great redemption - our justification in Christ alone. Then I thought this quote was relevant for a new year and wanted to share it here. God bless!

 If justification is the beginning of love, how can the righteousness of works precede it? Hence John, to put down the arrogant idea, carefully reminds us that God first loved us (1 John 4:10). The Lord had formerly taught the same thing by his Prophet: “I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him,” (Hosea 14:4). Assuredly he is not influenced by works if his love turns to us spontaneously. But the rude and vulgar idea entertained is, that we did not merit the interposition of Christ for our redemption, but that we are aided by our works in obtaining possession of it. On the contrary, though we may be redeemed by Christ, still, until we are in-grafted into union with him by the calling of the Father, we are darkness, the heirs of death, and the enemies of God. For Paul declares that we are not purged and washed from our impurities by the blood of Christ until the Spirit accomplishes that cleansing in us (1 Cor. 6:11). Peter, intending to say the same thing, declares that the sanctification of the Spirit avails “unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” (1 Pet. 1:2). If the sprinkling of the blood of Christ by the Spirit gives us purification, let us not think that, previous to this sprinkling, we are anything but sinners without Christ. Let us, therefore, hold it as certain, that the beginning of our salvation is as it were a resurrection from death unto life, because, when it is given us on behalf of Christ to believe on him (Phil. 1:29), then only do we begin to pass from death unto life. 
-  BOOK THIRD. THE MODE OF OBTAINING THE GRACE OF CHRIST. THE BENEFITS IT CONFERS, AND THE EFFECTS RESULTING FROM IT. Chapter 14, Paragraph 6