Books on the Horizon

Posted On February 13, 2017

One of the most interesting (and challenging) aspects of teaching systematic theology is that I find myself having to be prepared for almost anything when I see a raised hand in class. No two classes are the same, and I can never predict every question that will be asked. My students are sharp, and they keep me on my toes. Some of them also like to throw curve balls. Because of the difficult and controversial nature of some of the class topics, I am always on the lookout for books and articles that can help me explain difficult issues more clearly, and perhaps answer some questions before they arise.

Among the most difficult and controversial topics in theology are those related to the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human free will. A discussion of this topic never fails to result in raised hands and intense discussion. It was with some excitement, then, that I saw an announcement for a forthcoming book by Richard Muller titled Divine Will and Human Choice: Freedom, Contingency, and Necessity in Early Modern Reformed Thought. (Some people get excited when they hear that their favorite band will be coming to their city. Theologians get excited by book titles like this.) I was even more encouraged when I read the following endorsement by Dr. Joel Beeke:

Written by a great historical theologian and seminal thinker, this book is crucial for understanding a central debate in Christianity: God’s sovereignty and human free will. There is no one as gifted at navigating these deep waters as Richard Muller. All theologians, pastors, and students of theology who desire a deeper understanding of how early Reformed divines affirmed absolute divine sovereignty without teaching fatalistic determinism should read this book.

Muller’s book is not the only one that I cannot wait to read. Brandon Crowe’s The Last Adam: A Theology of the Obedient Life of Jesus in the Gospels was recently released at the end of January. Michael Horton has a new book titled Rediscovering the Holy Spirit: God’s Perfecting Presence in Creation, Redemption, and Everyday Life that is due to be published in April. Whatever one’s views of the relationship between Christ and culture may be, Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option, due to be published in March, will surely generate a lot of discussion.

In coming months, I hope to share my thoughts on these and other theological books, both old and new.

Dr. Keith Mathison is Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformation Bible College.