books read in 2020

It was another slow year last year. Didn’t meet my goal, but then again, some of these were quite long. I’ll try again next year. Until then, here’s the list for 2020:

Books (and booklets):

  • Carey Nieuwhof, Didn’t See It Coming (2018)
  • R.C. Sproul, What is the Church? (2013)
  • Henry T. Sell, Biblical Studies in the Life of Paul (1904)
  • Thabiti M. Anyabwile, What is a Healthy Church Member? (2008)
  • Jim Estep, David Roadcup, & Gary Johnson, What’s Next? (2017)
  • Robert Ludlum, The Matarese Circle (1979)
  • Hesiod, Theogony • Works and Days
  • Ryan Huguley, 8 Hours or Less: Writing Faithful Sermons Faster (2017)
  • Robert Ludlum, The Matarese Countdown (1997)
  • Samuel Bray & John Hobbins, Genesis 1–11: A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators (2017)
  • Eric van Lustbader, The Bourne Deception (2009)
  • Ronald Mellor, Augustus and the Creation of the Roman Empire (2006)
  • Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan (2011)
  • F.F. Bruce, The Message of the New Testament (1972)
  • Mario Melendez, “Covenant Evocations in Habakkuk: An Exploration of Intertextuality” (PhD thesis, 2019)
  • Robert Ludlum, The Ambler Warning (2005)
  • Karl Vaters, Small Church Essentials (2018)
  • Jared August, “The Climax of Christ: Reconsidering Prophecy and Fulfillment in Matthew’s Gospel” (PhD thesis, 2019)
  • Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1915)°
  • Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman, How to Profit from the Coming Rapture (2008)
  • P.G. Wodehouse, Nothing Serious (1950)
  • Kaleb Shuttleworth, Planet or Plane? A Study of the “Flat-Earth” Hypothesis (2018)
  • Nathaniel West, John Wesley and Premillennialism (1894)
  • Donald Guthrie, The Relevance of John’s Apocalypse (1987)
  • Joseph Canfield, The Incredible Scofield and His Book (1988)
  • Samuele Bacchiocchi, Hal Lindsey’s Prophetic Jigsaw Puzzle. Five Predictions that Failed (2001)
  • Albertus Pieters, A Candid Examination of the Scofield Bible (1938)
  • John Rankin, The Coming of the Lord (1885)
  • J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (1954)
  • H.B. Skinner, A Synopsis of the View of Those Who Look for the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in 1843 (1842)°
  • P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., Textual Criticism. Recovering the Text of the Hebrew Bible (1986)
  • Christine Garwood, Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea (2008)
  • Steve Wohlberg, Exploding the Israel Delusion (1998)
  • Nona Jones, From Social Media to Social Ministry (2020)
  • Edward J. Young, Studies in Genesis One (1964)
  • T. Cowden Laughlin, The Pastoral Epistles in the Light of One Roman Imprisonment (1905)°
  • W.E. Bowen, The Dates of the Pastoral Epistles. Two Essays (1900)
  • Robert Ludlum, The Bancroft Strategy (2006)
  • Charles C. Ryrie, The Acts of the Apostles (1961)°
  • Dennis Gaertner, Acts (1993)
  • John Polkinghore, Living with Hope: A Scientist Looks at Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany (2003)
  • Thom Rainer, I Will. Nine Traits of an Outwardly Focused Christian (2015)

Articles, essays, etc:

° Not impressed.

critiquing churchy cultural counsel

Not too long ago, Pastor Greg Laurie posted this:

I’m sure he means well and I know he’s got a passion for speaking the gospel into the lives of people. And yes, an essential part of that gospel message has a meaningful response to the hopelessness we often feel in this life. So props to Laurie for raising that issue. But a bumper-sticker-styled bit of “theological” counsel that points in a direction other than the gospel’s answer is not helpful (nor biblical)—no matter how passionately or smiley it’s presented. Because, despite what’s being proffered by some self-made experts, the gospel is not about personal happiness. It’s about something more meaningful and necessary.

So with that in mind, and with a desire to show what the gospel is, what it declares, and what it can do in/for people’s lives… I fixed Laurie’s quote, and added a clarification at the end (and yes, I realize my fix disrupts Laurie’s catchy/preacher alliteration. But I’m not bothered by that because, on this point, I’m more interested in substance than form):

Or if you prefer someone else…here’s a bit of insight from another pastor (Ryan Huguley) who hits it on the head: “The Bible is not a disconnected mix of moral fables that point you toward a happier life. The entire Bible, from beginning to end, is the true story of God reconciling the world to Himself through the person and work of Jesus” (8 Hours or Less [Moody Publishers, 2017], 27).


books read in 2019

It was a slow year last year. But here’s the list either way:


  • Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish (1980)
  • Richard Bauckham, Jesus: A Very Short Introduction (2011)
  • Douglas Adams, Young Zaphod Plays It Safe (1986)
  • Os Guinness, Rising to the Call (2003)
  • Jack Cottrell, Baptism: A Biblical Study (1989)
  • James R. White, The Forgotten Trinity (1998)
  • William Neil, The Epistle to the Hebrews (1955)
  • Chuck Lawless, Membership Matters (2005)
  • B.B. Warfield, The Divine Origin of the Bible (1882)
  • Tom Hepburn & Selwyn Jacobson, The World’s 72 Toughest Golf Holes (1987)
  • Karl Vaters, The Grasshopper Myth (2012)
  • Marcel Simon, Jewish Sects at the Time of Jesus (1967)
  • Robert Ludlum, The Aquitaine Progression (1984)
  • James R. White, The King James Only Controversy (1995)
  • David Platt, Something Needs to Change (2019)
  • D. James Kennedy, Skeptics Answered (1997)
  • Eric van Lustbader, The Bourne Betrayal (2007)
  • R.C. Sproul, What is the Lord’s Supper? (2013)°
  • R.C. Sproul, What is Repentance? (2014)°
  • James R. White, Letters to a Mormon Elder (1993)
  • Eric van Lustbader, The Bourne Sanction (2008)
  • Andrew Murray, The Power of the Blood of Jesus (2017)
  • P.G. Wodehouse, Full Moon (1947)

Articles, Essays, etc:

° means: not that impressed.
means: those items where I willingly subjected myself to mental torture (i.e., the item was bad).

books read in 2018

Sorry for being a little late in posting this. It’s been a (shall we say) busy week. Slightly different from years before, I’m only listing books this time—of which there are not as many this year due to other needs. I would have included articles and/or essays, but there simply were too many being read in quick succession and I failed to keep track of them—with the exception of these two: Unknown author(s), “How Long are the Days in Genesis 1?” BioLogos (2018). And Glenn Evans & Joel B. Groat, “Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates: Overview and Current Perspectives.” Institute for Religious Research (2011).


  • Marshall Shelley, Ministering to Problem People in Your Church (2013)
  • Pinchas Lapide & Peter Stuhlmacher, Paul: Rabbi and Apostle (1984)
  • Michael F. Bird, What Christians Ought to Believe (2016)
  • Pheme Perkins, Paul in Asia Minor: The Life and Letters of Paul (2001)°
  • Robert Ludlum, The Tristan Betrayal (2003)
  • Leland Ryken, Choosing a Bible: Understanding Bible Translation Differences (2005)°
  • Kevin DeYoung, Why Our Church Switched to the ESV (2011)°
  • Thom Rainer, Autopsy of a Deceased Church (2014)
  • Stephen Szikszai, The Covenants in Faith and History (1968)
  • Paul Garrison, The Janson Command (2012)°
  • Brant Hansen, Blessed are the Misfits (2017)
  • Patrick Larkin, The Lazarus Vendetta (2004)°
  • Bill Bryson, Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors (2008)
  • Brian Croft, Biblical Church Revitalization (2016)
  • Robert Ludlum, The Parsifal Mosaic (1982)
  • Douglas Hamp & Chris Steinle, Reclaiming the Rapture (2017)
  • Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (2005)
  • R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord (2018)
  • Patrick Larkin, The Moscow Vector (2005)
  • Phil Ryken, Kingdom Come (2013)
  • John Grisham, The Runaway Jury (1996)
  • Thom Rainer, I Am a Church Member (2014)
  • R.C. Sproul, Can I Trust the Bible? (2009)
  • Kyle Mills, The Ares Decision (2011)
  • John Dickerson, The Hope of the Nations (2018)
  • Craig J. Hazen, Five Sacred Crossings (2012)

° means: not that impressed.
means: those items where I willingly subjected myself to mental torture (i.e., the item was bad).

exegetical rapture followed by eisegetical tribulation

David Jeremiah recently published a brief article on the (completely supposed!) difference between the (so-called) “rapture” and the (slightly more appropriately dubbed) second coming of Christ. Two seconds into reading it, I could not stop myself from asking: How is this still being advocated? How can people, in good conscience, continue to promote the bunk conclusions of Classical/Modified Dispensationalism? More problematic: why are people still believing things like this to be true? (Proof can found if you choose to enter the hell that is the comments section of the article).

I ask because, and to borrow from D. Jeremiah’s opening claim: the belief that there is a difference between the two is one of the biggest misconceptions in (popular) theology. Sorry, but the only way this type of (Classical/Modified) Dispensational drivel can be sustained if one throws proper exegetical procedures out the window and then willingly shackles himself/herself to eisegetical special pleading. Thus, when D. Jeremiah boldly declares, “Paul is talking about…” or “the Bible says…” before spouting off some theological truth that’s nothing more than the love-child of Scofield and Larkin, I have no hesitation in saying: σκύβαλον.

books* read in 2017

In keeping with last year’s format, this year’s list includes those books, articles, and essays read for pleasure, academic, and/or church-related purposes–hence, “books” with an *. And in keeping with last year, I’ve simplified the categories to two: “Books” and “Articles, essays, etc.” Here’s this year’s list (in order of reading, according to category):


  • Bill Bryson, Notes from a Big Country (1998)
  • Alistair Donaldson, The Last Days of Dispensationalism (2011)
  • Graham Tomlin, The Provocative Church (2008)
  • Robert Ludlum, The Sigma Protocol (2001)
  • Stephen D. Morrison, 10 Reasons Why the Rapture Must Be Left Behind (2015)°
  • Robert Ludlum, The Gemini Contenders (1976)
  • John Grisham, The Street Lawyer (1998)
  • Gerald R. McDermott, World Religions: An Indispensable Introduction (2011)
  • Jim Putman, Real-Life Discipleship (2010)
  • Darrell Bock, Breaking the Da Vinci Code (2004)
  • Robert Ludlum, Apocalypse Watch (1995)
  • Lloyd Pietersen, ed., The Mark of the Spirit? (1998)
  • Brian Croft, Prepare Them to Shepherd (2014)°
  • Robert Ludlum, The Chancellor Manuscript (1977)
  • Robert Mankoff, ed., The New Yorker Book of Golf Cartoons (2002)
  • Chaim Potok, The Chosen (1967)
  • Stanley J. Grenz, The Millennial Maze (1992)
  • Vincent Cheung, Commentary on Ephesians (2014)
  • R.C. Sproul, What is the Church? (2013)°
  • Plato, Ion (1914)
  • P.G. Wodehouse, Lord Emsworth and Others (1937)
  • Galye Lynds, The Altman Code (2003)°
  • Plato, Charmides (1992)
  • C.S. Lewis, Made for Heaven (2005)
  • Alexander Rose, Washington’s Spies (2014)
  • Rob Suggs, Preacher from the Black Lagoon (1991)
  • Gary Larson, Wildlife Preserves: A Far Side Collection (1989)
  • Robert Ludlum, The Janson Directive (2002)
  • Ellis Brotzman, Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Guide (1994)
  • Jim West, 1-3 John and Jude: For the Person in the Pew (2007)
  • Tom Clancy and Steve Pieczenik, State of Siege (1999)
  • Zsolt Barta, Symphony of Scriptures (forthcoming)
  • George Guthrie, 2 Corinthians (2015)
  • John MacArthur, Jr., Answering the Key Questions about Elders (1984)°
  • John MacArthur, Jr., Answering the Key Questions about Deacons (1985)°
  • Carl S. Sweatman & Cliff Kvidahl, eds., Treasures New and Old: Essays in Honor of Donald A. Hagner (2017)
  • Michael Gorman, Becoming the Gospel (2015)
  • Caleb Kaltenbach, Messy Grace (2015)
  • Jim Estep, David Roadcup, & Gary Johnson, Answer His Call (2013)
  • Robert Ludlum, Trevayne (1973)°
  • N.T. Wright, Judas and the Gospel of Jesus (2006)
  • Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves (2004)
  • [[William Steuart McBirnie, In Search for the Twelve Apostles (1973)]]^
  • [[Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults (2003)]]^
  • [[Bill Bryson, Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors (2008)]]^
  • [[Samuel L. Bray & John F. Hobbins, Genesis 1-11: A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators (2017)]]^

Articles, essays, etc:

  • William Lane Craig, “On the Argument for Timelessness from the Incompleteness of Temporal Life.” HeyJ 38 (1997): 165-71
  • Rich Cochrane, “Three Little Truth-Value Paradoxes.” Think 30.11 (2012): 39-43
  • Mark D. Chapman, “The Shortest Book in the Bible.” ExpT 118.11 (2007): 546-48
  • George Beasley-Murray, “The Second Coming in the Book of Revelation.” EvQ 23.1 (1951): 40-45
  • F.F. Bruce, “The Enigma of Paul: Why Did the Early Church’s Great Liberator Get a Reputation as an Authoritarian?” Bible Review 4 (1988): 32-33
  • Gordon Wenham, “Daniel: the Basic Issues.” Them 2.2 (1977): 49-52
  • William Ramsay, “St Paul’s Shipwreck.” ExpT 6.2 (1897): 154-57
  • Mark Sweetnam & Crawford Gribben, “J.N. Darby and the Irish Origins of Dispensationalism.” JETS 52.3 (2009): 569-77
  • Harry Uprichard, “Eschatology in 1 Thessalonians.” Journal of the Irish Christian Study Centre 2 (1984): 68-73
  • Vern Poythress, “Kinds of Biblical Theology.” WTJ 70 (2008): 129-42
  • William W. Combs, “The Preface to the King James Version and the King James-Only Position.” DBSJ 1 (1996): 253-67
  • Stephen Brian, “Deconstructing the Alpha Testimonies.” Theology 108.834 (2005): 193-202
  • L.D. Hurst, “Did Qumran Expect Two Messiahs?” BBR 9 (1999): 157-80
  • Bruce M. Metzger, “Paul’s Vision of the Church: A Study of the Ephesian Letter.” TT 6.1 (1949): 49-63
  • C.H. Dodd, “The Message of the Epistles: Ephesians.” ExpT 45.2 (1933): 60-66
  • G.K. Beale, “An Exegetical and Theological Consideration of the Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart in Exodus 4-14 and Romans 9.” TJ 5 (1984): 129-54
  • Shirley J. Case, “The Premillennial Menace.” Biblical World 52.1 (1918): 16-23
  • D. Moody Smith, “Mark 15:46: The Shroud of Turin as a Problem of History and Faith.” Biblical Archaeologist 46.4 (1983): 251-54
  • F.F. Bruce, “Some Thoughts on the Beginning of the New Testament Canon.” BJRL 65.2 (1983): 37-60
  • Lewis A. Foster, “The Chronology of the New Testament.” Pages 593-607 in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (vol. 1; ed. F.E. Gaebelein; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1979)
  • David J.A. Clines, “Alleged Female Language About the Deity in the Hebrew Bible” (unpublished paper, no pages)
  • Larry W. Hurtado, “New Testament Christology: A Critique of Bousset’s Influence.” TS 40.2 (1979): 306-17
  • Eva Jean Wrather, “Alexander Campbell and His Relevance for Today.” Footnotes to Disciple History 1 (1959): 5-16
  • Alexander Campbell, “The Third Epistle of Peter” (1825)
  • George R. Lunn, “A Study on Mormonism [part 1].” BibSac 59.234 (1902): 341-65
  • Benjamin W. Robinson, “An Ephesian Imprisonment of Paul.” JBL 29.2 (1910): 181-89
  • Bobby Jamieson, “Why New Testament Polity is Prescriptive.” 9Marks Journal 10.4 (2013)
  • Johnny Wei-Bing Lin, “On the Use of Robert’s Rules of Order in Churches.” (2010)
  • William W. Combs, “Errors in the King James Version?” DBSJ 4 (1999): 151-64

° means: not that impressed.
means: those items where I willingly subjected myself to mental torture (i.e., the item was bad).
[[…]]^ means: I started reading it, but did not finish before the end of December. I’ll do so in 2018.

o, holy night(s)…again

One of my lovely wife’s favorite Christmas carols is “O, Holy Night.” Below are a selection of renditions. See which one you like best. Here are the contenders (in no particular order):

  1. Shane & Shane (with Phil Wickham)
  2. Crossroads Church (Cincinnati)
  3. Matt Nickle
  4. Harry Connick, Jr.
  5. Bing Crosby
  6. Martina McBride
  7. Tracy Chapman
  8. Third Day (feel free to clap along at the beginning)
  9. Nat King Cole

Any others that come to your mind are certainly welcome.

Deserved honor

This past Friday night (17-Nov-2017), at the annual IBR meeting in Boston, we had the (brief) opportunity to celebrate the work and contributions of an esteemed scholar in biblical studies and all around delightful guy: Donald A. Hagner. In keeping with such celebrations and feelings of gratitude, we presented Don with a Festschrift entitled, Treasures New and Old: Essays in Honor of Donald A. Hagner.

(apologies for the quality of the picture…the camera on my phone is pitiful)

This was an incredible project to work with and complete, and we are confident it will serve as fitting testimony to scholarly indebtedness to the efforts and insight of Don–both as a gentleman and a scholar. The list of names who honored Don in this book is a veritable who’s-who. They are (in order of appearance, sans the Foreword and Preface):

  • Lee Martin McDonald
  • Craig A. Evans
  • Samuel Byrskog
  • Peter Stuhlmacher
  • David Wenham
  • Craig L. Blomberg
  • Jeannine K. Brown
  • Richard A. Burridge
  • Roland Deines
  • Benjamin Schliesser
  • William R. Telford
  • Paul Barnett
  • Charles Lee Irons
  • Thomas R. Schreiner
  • Scott D. Mackie
  • Craig S. Keener
  • Reidar Hvalvik
  • James D.G. Dunn

It’s 400+ pages of goodness. While it can be purchased on Amazon, it will be available on the GlossaHouse website shortly.