January 2023 Reading Log

Here’s a rundown of the 10 books I read in January. The new year of reading is off to a great start. Happy reading!

We Are Lincoln Men: Abraham Lincoln and His Friends by David Herbert Donald

Donald is known for his masterful full biography of Lincoln. This is much lesser known – for good reason. It is a compilation of mini-biographies of Lincoln’s closest companions. Informative. Fast-paced. Yet, you’re left wanting another 200 pages of substance. Donald covers Joshua Speed, William Herndon, Orville Browning, William Seward, and Lincoln’s private secretaries.

WELCOMING: A church guide to demonstrate Biblical truth in love to LGBTQ neighbors by James Coston

Make sure you read the title closely. This book is a powerful defense of the orthodox, historical, Christian sexual ethic. Jim is a good friend. I meet with him weekly via a Zoom call. We also spent three years of our lives together working on a doctor of ministry degree. This book is a popular level reworking of Jim’s doctoral work. It provides a Biblical case for the orthodox sexual ethic and a guide for churches to offer hospitality with theological integrity.

The Lost Letters to the Twelve Prophets: Imagining the Minor Prophets’ World by John Goldingay

This was a fun one. Goldingay uses his scholarly biblical insight to comprise fictionalized letters that provide context for the letters penned by the minor prophets. He provides the questions behind the prophet’s answers. The series of imaginary letters make clear the issues faced by Hosea, Michael, Zephaniah, and others. Along with the letters, Goldingay provides prose which addresses historical context in a more straightforward fashion.

Old Paths, New Power: Awakening Your Church through Prayer and the Ministry of the Word by Daniel Henderson

I was gifted four of Henderson’s books and this month I finished two of them. I was a bit skeptical when I first picked this one up. I was pleasantly surprise with every page. Henderson shows how God does not work through methods but prayer. While giving great Biblical reasoning, he also provides extremely helpful practical guides. The book is filled with small testimonies of various people and additional information from familiar names. Henderson also provides links to his website for more videos.

Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God’s Face by Daniel Henderson

I’ve read a boat load of books on prayer. They range from hyper mystical to overly technical. Most do not stay in my collection. This one will be a keeper. Henderson provides steps to overcome common barriers to effective prayer and biblical patterns for prayer. He offers up a framework of praying using Scripture passages. I’ve recently joined a group which meets for 30 minutes each week and uses this very format.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

This is an early candidate for my favorite books of the year list. On the surface level it is a discussion of the 1986 fire which destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library and more than a million books. On a deeper level it is a testimony the the power of a library and the impact of books. Also weaved into the book is the story of the man behind the fire. The book is a bit of everything – history, investigative journalism, true crime, and biography.

The End: What Jesus Really Said About the Last Things by AJ Conyers

I’ve been reading more in the area of eschatology in recents days. I have long said that my eschatology is underdeveloped. I’m attempting to remedy that deficiency. I read Conyers’ A Basic Christian Theology years ago and loved it. I thought he’d be helpful on the topic of last things. This volume was not a disappointment. Conyers points out that many hold to an eschatological view that becomes the interpretive tail that wags the scriptural dog. He says, “It is the dog we are interested in here, though we’ll allow others to affix the appropriate millennial tail.” Conyers spends most of his time in Mark 13. I often found myself nodding in agreement.

Only The Lover Sings: Meditations on the Woman at the Well by Matthew Clark

This book aims high … and hits somewhere lower. I loved, loved, loved parts. Yet, the books lacks cohesion. The theme for the books stems from an album by Matthew Clark centered on the story of the woman at the well. The book is a collection of 11 essays that build on the themes of the album but run in varied directions. The styles and genres vary. The end result seems like a patchwork quilt.

The Faith of the New Testament by WT Conner

Conner is a Baptist legend from days gone by. His writing is always orthodox, crisp, and helpful. As the title suggests, this is a Christian theological primer. It discusses the gospels, Jesus and the kingdom of God, Pauline theology, and Johannine literature. It is well worth your time. Find an old used copy and sit with it for a long time. I’d also recommend two other works by Conner: Christian Doctrine and the Gospel of Redemption.

A Field Guide on False Teaching by Ligonier Ministries

This is a little gem. Styled like a camping field guide, it walks through historic and modern false teachings. It looks at the false teachings of the prosperity gospel, deism, and legal and antinomianism. It discusses the cults of mormonism, Christian Science, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. It discusses the false religions and worldviews of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, New Age Spirituality, Atheism and Secularism. It is concise and helpful.

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