As one who loves books I always want to encourage other believers to read. I also like to stimulate people to begin building good solid biblical libraries. In that spirit I offer the following five recommendations for your enjoyment.
1. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, updated by C. J. Lovik, illustrations by Mike Wimmer.
This new edition of Part One of Bunyan’s classic allegorical tale is superbly done, with Lovik’s updates being kept to a sensible minimum without dumbing-down the story. Lovik also provides detailed notes at the back of the book which enhance its value. Special mention must go to Wimmer, whose period illustrations wonderfully capture the events they portray. All in all, this is the best edition for all but the purist.
2. Has The Church Replaced Israel? by Michael J. Vlach.
Vlach teaches theology at The Masters Seminary and did his doctoral work on “supercessionism” or “replacement theology.” This book presents his conclusions for the interested Bible student. Though the writer is in sympathy with Progressive Dispensationalism, this hardly affects his work, which is well reasoned, up to date, clear, and convincing. This is the best critique of replacement theology I know.
3. For Zion’s Sake: Christian Zionism and the Role of John Nelson Darby by Paul R. Wilkinson
This is basically Wilkinson’s doctoral thesis and is well worth reading. Not only because it covers the life of Darby, an important (and often misunderstood) Christian thinker in his own right, but because of its fine historical coverage of “Christian Zionism” (as opposed to Political Zionism), together with a much needed appraisal of that queer ecumenical phenomenon, so-called “Christian Palestinianism.” Wilkinson has done has research well and sets it out compellingly. The one foible is his sometime lack of discrimination in citing populist dispensationalist writers as authorities where more scholarly dispensationalists might have been appealed to.
4. Presuppositional Apologetics by Greg L. Bahnsen, edited by Joel MacDurmon
Not a substitute for the author’s Always Ready, which is the best introduction to presuppositionalism; this posthumous work is certainly a worthy companion to it. Geared towards an intermediate level, this book features some really good material. Worth the price of the book are Bahnsen’s brilliant evaluations of Gordon H. Clark, E. J. Carnell and Francis Schaeffer, showing the big differences between their more “verificational” approach and Van Til’s apologetics. NB Sadly, it seems the publisher (CMP) have allowed this title to go out of print. It keeps its place because if you see it, buy it!
5. The Bible Among the Myths by John W. Oswalt
Oswalt is the well known author of a two volume Commentary on Isaiah and is at home in the OT background material he employs in this book. His main aim is to demonstrate the uniqueness and superiority of the Biblical creation story and resulting worldview. He does this very effectively by showing how all non-biblical creation myths are immanentistic and lack a transcendent Creator God. Only in a few comments relating to the Greek philosophers is Oswalt off-base.