The Reformation for Dummies

Review of Reformation Theology: A Systematic Summary Edited by Matthew BarrettIn a year that has seen (and no doubt will continue to see) many, many books on the Reformation released to the public, Reformation Theology is certainly going to be one of the most thorough. It is a systematic theology that walks through the thought of key Reformers on topics ranging from predestination to baptism to the Trinity. (And of course, while it is for laymen, it's not really for dummies.) Here are a … [Read more...]

Coyle’s Best of 2016

As with previous year's recaps, these are the best books I read this year, not necessarily the best books I read that were published this year, or even the best books written this year in general. And as with previous years, the twin dragons of "work" and "family" have killed most of the time that I might otherwise have used to write extensive reviews. So apologies in advance for the brevity here. Also, I've not included re-reads, children's books read to the kiddos, or most of the long list of … [Read more...]

Does the Reformation still matter today?

Review of Why the Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves and Tim ChesterOctober 31, 2017 will be the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. (The "quingentesimus", if you care about the fancy name for that particular anniversary.) As a result we have seen and will no doubt increasingly see a spate of books on the market celebrating or decrying the Reformers and the work God did through them. One of the best introductions to that reforming work so far is Why the Reformation Still … [Read more...]

A Peculiar Book

Review of A Peculiar Glory by John PiperJohn Piper's A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal their Complete Truthfulness is unlike any other book I've read on the subject of whether or not the Bible is reliable and accurate. More traditional approaches like those of F.F. Bruce, Josh McDowell, or Richard Bauckham argue that Scriptures are historically correct because they stand all the tests for accuracy that honest historians can throw at them. The problem in this approach should … [Read more...]

John Owen for the Modern World

Review of Owen on the Christian Life, by Matthew Barrett and Michael HaykinJohn Owen was a terrible writer. Don't get me wrong: I suspect he is the greatest of the Reformed theologians (so far, at any rate). In part, this is due to his habit of engaging his theological opponents by taking on their strongest arguments, rather than by setting up straw men and then declaring victory by easily knocking them over. Likewise, he is absolutely unhurried in dealing with theological matters. Owen is … [Read more...]

Games Without Rules is a Winner

Review of Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan, by Tamim AnsaryGiven the length of the American attention span, it's useful to remind people from time to time that American forces are still deployed in Afghanistan. Despite (unwise?) campaign promises, President Obama has not only not removed troops from the ground in Central Asia, but has dedicated us to at least another two years there. While this is not the reason I originally started to Tamim Ansary's … [Read more...]

Best Books of 2015

You've probably noticed that the Schaeffer's Ghost folks have gotten busy over the past twelve months. (I blame the overlord, Paul Miller.) But just because we haven't had time to write many reviews doesn't mean we haven't had time to read. So once again here are the best books I have read in the past year.Disclaimer 1: As with 2014's list, these are the best books I've read in 2015—not the best that were published in the last year. Except, of course, for those books that were.Disclaimer 2: I … [Read more...]

Firefly is just lukewarm

Review of Firefly (2002) and Serenity (2005), created by Joss WhedonAt the risk of infuriating my fellow nerds, I present the following truth: Firefly is massively overrated.Don't get me wrong, I see the potential for it to have become an excellent show after a few seasons, and I love me some Nathan Fillion, and I've appreciated some of Joss Whedon's other work. But a boatload of potential and a well-cast show is not the same thing as a show that is actually good. Firefly is—despite all i … [Read more...]

It’s not a paranormal conspiracy if they’re really out to get you

Review of The Paranormal Conspiracy by Timothy J. DaileyThis review is part of the Patheos Book Club."The fearful abounding at this time in this country, of these detestable slaves of the Devil, the witches or enchanters, has moved me, beloved reader, to dispatch in this post, this following treatise of mine, not in any wise (as I protest) to serve for a show of my own learning and ingenuity, but only (moved by conscience) to press thereby, so far as I can, to resolve the doubting hearts … [Read more...]

The Ups and Downs of “Redeeming Sex”

Review of Redeeming Sex by Debra HirschThis review is part of the Patheos Book Club.The single most culturally divisive issue facing contemporary Christians is how the church ought to think about and relate to homosexuality. In Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations about Sexuality and Spirituality, Debra Hirsch draws on her years of experience from within both communities (the church and the gay community) and offers advice for Christians on how relationships might be built between these … [Read more...]