I’m incredibly excited about a number of books that have been released since July, and that will be released by the end of the year. I try my best to find books that are directly related to Oneness Pentecostalism and the Trinity, but sometimes I just can’t help but to make everyone aware of books that I think are excellent resources for doing theology in general. You’re going to get a mix of both in this post.
Please note that I’ve added a section for each “New and Upcoming” book post that I do throughout the year in the navigation bar under “Books.” You can find links for posts I’ve done for the first quarter and second quarter of this year there.
I’ll discuss books that have been released already, and then point out a couple that I think will be noteworthy in the coming months. I’ll try to be brief, because there’s a lot of good books from this quarter!
1. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (2nd Edition)
— Craig and Moreland
I detailed in a previous post how important William Lane Craig was in my journey toward agnosticism about the Oneness of God. He was the first person that I heard that provided a defense for the doctrine of the Trinity that wasn’t obviously tritheistic. Only later on I found out that he had written about his “Trinity Monotheism” view in a book called Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. If you’re skeptical of philosophy, even when it’s done by Christian philosophers, you only need to read “An Invitation to Christian Philosophy” to be convinced otherwise.
This book covers a number of major areas in philosophy and does so from a Christian perspective. For example, Craig and Moreland cover the areas of epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics and provide what they think are defensible views for Christians to take in these areas. But they also cover some topics in Christian theology, such as the Incarnation, the Trinity, and the atonement. These chapters alone are worth the price of the book, in my opinion.
I have read the entire first edition of this book, and I’m excited about the new chapters and other content that Craig and Moreland have added. My own opinion is that this book belongs on the shelf of anybody who takes their Christian faith seriously—Trinitarians, Oneness Pentecostals, or otherwise.
2. Five Proofs of the Existence of God — Edward Feser
If you begin to dig into Christian philosophy, you won’t go far before you find Ed Feser. He is a well-known Thomist philosopher, and hosts an excellent blog. (A Thomist is somebody who largely accepts the ideas of Thomas Aquinas, the medieval theologian and philosopher.) In this book, Feser defends five arguments for God’s existence, some of whose ideas stem from Aquinas’ own famous “Five Ways” in the Summa Theologica.
This book will not be an easy introduction to readers new to philosophy. Before you jump into this book you will probably want to read Feser’s introduction to Aquinas. It’s a fascinating and (for the most part) easy read. (For the record, you may want to become familiar with Aquinas for when I discuss the so-called Doctrine of Divine Simplicity in later posts.)
3. Greek for Life: Strategies for Learning, Retaining, and Reviving New Testament Greek — Merkle and Plummer
I grabbed a copy of this book the day it was released and quickly read through the entire thing. If you are thinking about learning Greek, currently learning Greek, or have once studied it, this book is for you. Plummer and Merkle give study tips, memory techniques, and many excellent resources for learning and retaining your Greek. I highly recommend this book, and suggest that Greek teachers supplement their classes with it.
4. The Jewish Annotated New Testament (2nd Edition)
I first heard about this book when I listened to a debate between Craig A. Evans and Rabbi Rovia Singer. (It isn’t much of an actual debate, though, but if you’re interested you can find it here.) Near the end of this exchange Dr. Evans (who is a renowned Christian New Testament scholar, by the way) recommended The Jewish Annotated New Testament.
I’m excited to see what’s said in the second edition of this volume, and I’m sure Trinitarians and Oneness Pentecostals alike will benefit from it.
— Michael F. Bird
Just to be clear, Oneness Pentecostals are not adoptionists. Adoptionism is the view that Jesus Christ was a mere human (i.e., was not God incarnate) from his birth and only later became the Messiah when God adopted him as his son (probably at his baptism).
I am recommending this book because of the first part of the title: Jesus the Eternal Son. So, while Oneness Pentecostals are not adoptionists, they believe that the sonship had a beginning in time. Since Michael Bird is a well-known New Testament scholar, I’m interested in what he has to say about the eternality of the Son of God to see if he offers any insights.
Update: There is an interview with Dr. Bird about this book on the OnScript Podcast.
6. Retrieving Eternal Generation — eds. Sanders and Swain
Release Date: November 21, 2017
The eternal generation of the Son in Trinitarian theology has always been an enigma to me. For one thing, how can one say that the Son is eternally generated when “generated” typically implies a beginning and “eternal” means there isn’t a beginning? It seems like a contradiction in terms. For another, how is it that the Son can be eternally generated and yet be co-equal with the Father? Oneness Pentecostals have pressed these questions for a long time.
Because of questions like these, some Trinitarian thinkers have backed away from the idea as well. I know, for example, that William Lane Craig seems to think that the idea is probably harmful (see also here) and even completely unnecessary. It seems to me that Sanders and Swain are seeking to rectify this situation (this “benign neglect,” as Dr. Craig has said) with this book. I’m not at all optimistic that this book will solve these issues, but it will be interesting to see what is said nevertheless.