Summer Reading

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Summer’s a time to catch up on reading! Seminary professors read? And sharing with the public what I’m reading is a dangerous thing, I know, but I thought I would nevertheless. First, despite some biting sarcasms and shallowness of theological discernment, Stephen Tomkins’s A Short History of Christianity (Eerdmans), recently published with the designer-blurb by J. I. Packer (“Tomkins…could not write a dull sentence if he tried”), and another from Terry Jones (co-writer of Monty Python!), is a page-turner. Barely 250 pages, it sweeps through centuries and issues like an express train on steroids. Tomkins’s earlier volume on Wesley (also Eerdmans) showed some weaknesses as well as humor.

At the risk of name-dropping (what’s the point of this blog if we can’t name drop?), Helen Roseveare has a new book just published by Christian Focus Publications: Digging Ditches: The Latest Chapter of an Inspirational Life. I knew Helen Roseveare from my days in Belfast, often speaking for an organization dear to her heart. She was just what you would imagine a missionary in what was then the Belgian Congo in the 1960s to be: a forcefully godly woman, with a stunning persona and powerful voice, touched with humility and discipline of the old fashioned kind. Her story is breathtakingly intimidating, a woman prepared to suffer terrible things even when it was obvious it was coming her way unless she left the country. They were killing times in the Congo and Helen Roseveare emerged Jesus-like: a bright and shining light for discipleship that required cross-bearing and self-denial.

My friend, Anthony “Tony” Lane, one of Britain’s leading Calvin scholars and to whom I owe a great deal during my own doctoral work, has just published A Concise History of Christian Thought (Baker Academic). It is everything Tomkins’s book isn’t: researched, erudite and massively authoritative. One gets the sense of a depth of understanding behind each paragraph. Covering over a hundred in 2-3 paged “dictionary styled entries” Lane’s volume is more of a reference tool than a book to read from cover to cover. Hugely enjoyable.

And our own Carl Trueman’s latest editorial for Themelios (31:3 April 2006) is a moving tribute to Robert (“Bob”) Horn. Former General Secretary of UCCF (Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship)—the most dominant evangelical work in the University and College scene in Britain. Bob Horn died earlier this year. Carl’s editorial reflects not only on their relationship but even more significantly on the some of the issues of the last half-century in Britain in the evangelical/reformed church scene. There's even an appreciation for Brahms's German Requiem!

This issue of Themelios also contains fascinating articles by J. V. Fesko (On N. T. Wright’s prolegomena), Paul Wells (on the “Social Contract” and the Reformation) and Thomas Schreiner (a NT Perspective on Homsexuality).

Posted June 28, 2006 @ 10:26 AM by Derek Thomas

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