It looks like 2016 is going to close out with plenty of great reading material. Here’s a few titles I’m excited about getting my hands on in the next few months.
1. Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy (September 13)
This book releases in just a couple of days! If you aren’t familiar with the Zondervan Counterpoints Series, you need to be.
Here are the contributors and the views they will be defending:
- Graham Oppy—Conflict: Philosophy Trumps Christianity.
- K. Scott Oliphint—Covenant: Christianity Trumps Philosophy.
- Timothy McGrew—Convergence: Philosophy Confirms Christianity.
- Paul Moser—Conformation: Philosophy Reconceived Under Christianity.
Three of the authors (Oppy, McGrew, and Moser) are analytic philosophers. Oppy is actually an atheist philosopher, and he is one of the more respectable and brilliant ones living today. McGrew and Moser are both Christians.
K. Scott Oliphint is a professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. But it’s very clear from his Curriculm Vitae that he knows his philosophy as well. I’m particularly excited about what Dr. Oliphint has to say in this volume because I’m assuming he will be defending a Reformed perspective on the topic.
For my part, I’d say that Dr. McGrew’s perspective on the issue is likely the one that I currently hold. More on that at a later time.
All in all, I think this book will bring a very challenging and informative read for everybody interested in apologetics and philosophy.
2. God Over All: Divine Aseity and the Challenge of Platonism (December 30)
This book is written by the Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig. He is the founder of the apologetics ministry Reasonable Faith, and is well-known for his numerous debates with atheists and for his philosophical work on the attributes of God.
In this volume Dr. Craig turns his attention to the topic of God’s aseity. I quite honestly had never heard this term until I heard Dr. Craig teach on it in his Defenders class (which I highly recommend, by the way). To put it simply, to say that God exists a se is to say that he exists “through himself” (that’s just what a se, and therefore “aseity,” means). In other words, God doesn’t depend on anything else for his existence.
Given Dr. Craig’s most recent discussions of aseity in his podcast and Defenders class, I’m expecting him to defend the view that abstract objects are fictitious. I’m particularly interested in how he will spell this out when it comes to the philosophy of language.
3. The Triune God (December 6)
There are A TON of books out there on the Trinity. So why suggest another one?
The reason I’m looking forward to this book is because it is written by Dr. Fred Sanders. He is a professor at Biola University and he has actually written an article against Oneness Pentecostalism. At some point I hope to go review it here.
So, this book will be Dr. Sanders’ positive case for the Trinity in book-length. I wonder which theory of the Trinity he will espouse?
4. Rational Faith: A Philosopher’s Defense of Christianity (November 7)
Dr. Stephen T. Davis is one of my favorite Christian philosophers. He is very well known and very well respected in his field.
I have no doubt that this book will have original and interesting content that will leave me thinking things through for a while. Two of his other books have caused me a lot of thought. Let me say something about them.
His book Christian Philosophical Theology tackles a lot of tough subjects. Some of my favorite chapters are “Religious Belief and Unbelief,” “God, Creation, and Revelation,” “Perichoretic Monotheism,” and “Is Kenotic Christology Orthodox?” The last two chapters are about the Trinity and the Incarnation, respectively. These topics are what I love to think about, and the reason why this website exists. His chapter on the revelation of Scripture is very interesting and provocative as well.
Reader beware: Just because I say these are my favorite chapters doesn’t mean I agree with them. Dr. Davis has a way of handling these subjects in a way that is more engaging and readable than other philosophers who write on the same subject. And a lot of the content is original. That’s why I enjoy them.
He’s also written a book called Debate About the Bible: Inerrancy Versus Infallibility. In it Dr. Davis examines the main arguments that some Christians give for biblical inerrancy, and instead defends a view of infallibility that he thinks is more useful than the (in his mind) ill-defined inerrancy view. I’ve found this book very thought-provoking because it has challenged me to think a lot more about what I think about the inspiration of Scripture.
5. The Word Enfleshed: Exploring the Person and Work of Christ (September 20)
This title is also releasing in just a few days. It’s another book of analytic theology by Dr. Oliver Crisp. He is a professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and knows his philosophy.
I just casually skipped over the term “analytic theology” just now. But what in the world is that? It seems to me that it is doing theology the way that analytic philosophy is done. If you don’t know what analytic philosophy is, you should. To put it the simplest way I can, analytic philosophy seeks to define terms precisely and explicitly lay out arguments in logical form (whether symbolically or in plain language).
If you still have no idea what I’m getting at, take a look at this interview with Dr. Crisp and Dr. Michael Rea (of the University of Notre Dame) about analytic theology and a book they edited on the topic.
For those even more interest, there is actually a peer-reviewed journal on analytic theology called (no surprise) the Journal of Analytic Theology. If you want to bend your mind, check it out.
With that said, I’m really looking forward to what Dr. Crisp has to say in this book, given that his focus is going to be on how one’s view of Christ (i.e., Christology) affects one’s view of the atonement. Why do I care about this? Because one of the common objections to Oneness Pentecostal theology is that it can’t give a theologically satisfying view of the atonement. Let’s see if Dr. Crisp has anything to say about it.
That’s all for now. I’m hoping to make lists like these for every quarter in the calendar year in the future.
Let me know what you think. Also, if there are some upcoming (or newly released books) in Christian theology or philosophy, please feel free to leave a comment about it!