I’ve done a couple of posts like this already, but I’ve decided that I’m going to title subsequent posts “New and Upcoming Books” rather than “New Book Releases” like I did last time. I want to highlight interesting books that will be coming out as well as books that have been released. When it comes to notable books, I want to mention them before them come out (so readers can pre-order them) and also when they are released. If the book hasn’t been released yet, I will provide the release date that Amazon assigns to it.
Enough explanation! Let’s talk about some books.
This book was released only a couple of days ago (June 11) and is the one that I’m the most excited about. I’ve read through most of it and benefitted already.
I have to get somewhat biographical here and say a bit about Dr. Dale Tuggy and my experience with his work. I first discovered his website in college, around my junior year, I think. I didn’t mention it during the My Journey series that I wrote, but his website made a major impact on me at that time for a number of reasons.
First, I was unsure what I wanted to do with my life after I graduated with my degree. When I first started college, I wanted to become a high school teacher. But even then, I was troubled by questions about my Oneness Pentecostal theology and the Trinity. I started reading his website and discovered something called “analytic theology.” The way I was learning to write my philosophy papers was the same way that Tuggy wrote about theology on his blog. I decided then that I wanted to go to seminary and learn how to do analytic theology (I still do).
Second, I had listened to many debates between Oneness Pentecostals and Trinitarians by this time and thought that I had heard it all. I was dead wrong. Tuggy wrote a number of posts dealing with modalism that I thought were enlightening and fascinating. The post that still bothers me to this day is his post on an “An argument against Son-modalism,” where he present a reductio ad absurdum argument against ANY form of modalism that holds that the Son is a mode/manifestation of God. (I think it’s answerable by the way, but I’ll save that for a later time.) I didn’t write this in my “Confessions,” but what Tuggy wrote in that post was the deciding factor that pushed me toward agnosticism about the Oneness of God.
Third, Tuggy is a “biblical unitarian.” He agrees with Oneness Pentecostals that God is a single Person; namely, the one that Jesus identifies as his “Father.” But he disagrees with Oneness Pentecostals when they say Jesus is God incarnate—or “God himself.” He believes that Jesus is (solely) an exalted human Messiah. Long story short, as I became familiar with Tuggy’s blog and other biblical unitarians (like Sir Anthony Buzzard), I think Tuggy convinced me of this: If I’m ever going to make up my mind about who God is in his nature, then I’m going to have to take into account what biblical unitarians say about the New Testament.
Now, what does all of this actually have to do with Tuggy’s new book? I think that anybody who wants to think more deeply about God should read it. It is short, accessible, and challenging. I think this book embodies the very reasons why I will have to interact with Tuggy on this website.
In short, I respect Dr. Tuggy and I think his book will be helpful for any of my readers. He is a clear writer and provides challenging, well-constructed arguments on whatever he puts his pen to. I hear he’s working on a scholarly book on the Trinity as well. To that I say, “Even so, come quickly.”
This last spring, the Pentecostal Publishing House (run by the United Pentecostal Church International) released the last of the volumes in the Apostolic Handbook Series. They will be using these books in various levels of their ministerial licensing, so if you want to become familiar with what Oneness Pentecostals say about the Bible, these works will be essential for you as you dialogue with Oneness Pentecostal ministers.
Note: I personally like the .epub format that the Pentecostal Publishing House uses for their ebooks so that I can make page citations for books like these. But if you would like to contribute to this website by purchasing these books on Kindle, I’ve made links to each book in the Apostolic Handbook Series available on the Bookshelf.
3. Against Oneness Pentecostalism: An Exegetical-Theological Critique (2nd ed.) — Michael R. Burgos, Jr.
I read the first edition of Mr. Burgos’ Against Oneness Pentecostalsim near the beginning of this year. (I read most of his Kiss the Son when it was first released as well, but didn’t finish it that I can recall.) Since I now have some experience with Greek, I think I can now safely say that all Oneness Pentecostal writers and scholars MUST interact with Burgos’ book. He knows how to grapple with the original languages of the Bible, so you can bet you are getting good arguments from him in this book.
Chapter 3 is included in the previous version of his book, but I think it is a must read. At some later time I’m going to address what he says there.
Even more significantly, the second edition now includes a chapter on the Old Testament. In particular, he argues that Oneness Pentecostals cannot interpret the “angel of the Lord” texts the ways that they do. Again, this chapter is a must read for Oneness theologians and anybody interested in the Trinity/Oneness exchange.
Another biographical aside: I’ve spoken with Mr. Burgos personally. If you get the impression of him from his debates that he is pushy and unapproachable, you’ve got the wrong guy. He’s just a good debater and doesn’t settle for simple answers. He’s gone out of his way to speak with me before and even gave me a copy of this book before it was released. (Only a few weeks prior I had purchased the first edition.) In my view, that’s just an additional reason to take what he says seriously.
Release date: July 13, 2017.
Broadly speaking, there are very few books that attempt to be something like systematic theology texts from a Pentecostal perspective. The publisher T&T Clark recognizes this, and for that reason is publishing this volume as a part of its “Systematic Pentecostal and Charismatic Theology” series.
If you’re a reader of systematic theology texts, or if you want a broad Pentecostal perspective on a number of topics, you will want to read this book (even if it is expensive). You can find a list of the contents of this book here.