Article by: Fred Zaspel
Editors’ note: On average, we publish around 150 book reviews a year at The Gospel Coalition. Ecclesiastes 12:12 rings true: “Of making many books there is no end.” It’s impossible to read, let alone review, each one. But in addition to our steady line of reviews, we want to highlight other books you should know about. This is our monthly installment of brief book notices from Fred Zaspel, TGC editor for online learning. You can check out more book notices, reviews, author interviews, and book summaries at Books At a Glance.
Peter J. Gentry
Peter Gentry has been studying—and teaching—the Old Testament prophetic books for a long time, and in his new little volume he shares some of his learning in simple terms. The function of the prophets, their major themes, the leading traits of their prophecies, their points of reference, and their interpretation all are presented clearly and accessibly to the lay reader. A valuable introduction to this prominent yet often-neglected portion of Scripture. (Read TGC’s full review.)
Michael P. V. Barrett
Reformation Heritage, 2017
In this revised edition of his earlier work (2000), Barrett lays out the basics of Christian salvation, examining the leading aspects of the gospel (reconciliation, justification, sanctification, conversion, assurance, and so on). His treatment of each aspect is both warm and in-depth, and—best of all—is careful to show how each aspect is related directly to Christ (hence the title). A helpful study of these glorious themes, easily accessible to all readers.
Evangelical Press, 2017
This book is a superb example of the value of historical theology. It’s also an example of how historical theology can be an enjoyable area of study. Gatiss focuses on key moments in church history when critical areas of soteriology were in dispute, presenting the debates in their historical context and zeroing in on the major issues in the disputes. The “moments” and issues are well chosen—Martin Luther on the freedom/bondage of the will, John Calvin on union with Christ, and John Wesley’s Arminian campaigns, to name a few. Not all will agree with every perspective (e.g., John Owen on infant baptism), but the chapters are consistently illuminating both historically and theologically. A welcome read.
Teaching Truth, Training Hearts: The Study of Catechisms in Baptist Life (revised edition)
Thomas J. Nettles with Steve Weaver
Founders Press, 2017
I was so pleased to see the release of this new edition of Tom Nettles’s excellent book on catechisms in church life. His enthusiasm for the catechism is contagious (his introduction alone is worth the price of admission). The bulk of the work displays seven catechisms that have been prominent in Baptist life over the centuries, each with an excellent historical introduction. This new edition includes an initial chapter by Steve Weaver on Hercules Collins’s An Orthodox Catechism. Church leaders would do well to familiarize themselves with the proven value of this tool of instruction—and not for children only!
Our generation ought to be thankful for the many Bible-related resources for children becoming available that are actually very good. I’m not sure how to rate them anymore, but this one had me excited as I read through—a guided tour of the Bible’s story and message traced out from Genesis to Revelation in daily readings of just a few verses for 52 weeks. Intended for children with their parents and laid out in easy chunks focused on “the main thing” throughout. This was a great idea and is a wonderful—simple yet valuable—resource for parents to use with their children.
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Fred G. Zaspel (PhD, Free University of Amsterdam) serves as a pastor at Reformed Baptist Church in Franconia, Pennsylvania, an adjunct professor of systematic theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the executive editor of Books At a Glance. He is the author of The Theology of B. B. Warfield (2010) and Warfield on the Christian Life (Crossway, 2014) and has published numerous booklets, articles, and book reviews.