This is now the fourth year that I have kept track of my favorite books of the past year. This list is merely based on personal enjoyment, and all of them I have read for the first time this year. According to Goodreads, I read 100 books this year—but that number is a little deceiving given a number of booklets and smaller works included.
Spotify has a neat feature that tracks your listening for the past year and reports on it. In 2018, my* top five artists were:
- The Oh Hellos
- Novo Amor
- The Devil Wears Prada
- Vance Joy
- The Lumineers
I came across a headline in the Daily News recently that read: “Local man steals nearly $200,000 in merchandise from NRS.” Eager to make sure that our fellow Greyfriar Chase, who works at NRS, was not this “local man,” I clicked on the article and can happily say that Chase is not a thief.
What did stand out to me in this report was the man’s reasoning behind stealing nearly 200 items from his employer to sell on eBay. He said, “I was trying to do good things to achieve certain goals and made a mistake.” The article goes on to say the man no longer has the money he made, since these “good things” and “certain goals” included a wedding, student loans, and a house.
What this man calls a mere “mistake” God calls a “sin.” But have you ever considered why God commands us not to steal?
“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:14-17).
Does your God sing over you?
Louis Berkhof (Introduction to Systematic Theology):
The position of the Church in the world calls for a united testimony. Every Church owes it to other Churches and to the world round about her, to make a public declaration of her teachings. If it is but natural that w desire to know something about the character and convictions of the people to whom we would entrust our material interests, it will certainly be considered highly desirable, and in fact quite essential, that we know exactly where a Church stands, in which we would seek spiritual guidance for ourselves and for our children. Moreover, one Church will have to know where another stands, in order to be able to determine in how far it can correspond, cooperate, and possibly affiliate with such a Church. The Church of Jesus Christ should never seek refuge in camouflage, should not try to hide her identity. And this is exactly what she does in the measure in which she fails to give a clear and unequivocal expression of her faith.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Love that refuses to defend that which is loved is not biblical love at all. Such a sentiment is actually self-absorption. Love that shuns a fight is an oxymoron, and so I turn the charge around. The modern evangelical world says peace, peace, but there is no peace. Neither is there love.
I love the right worship of our triune God, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit of both. I love the Church, despite the make-up she is currently using. I love the Scriptures, and the message of free grace it brings to a race steeped in idolatrous folly. I love my wife, children, and grandchildren. Thought I haven’t seen them, I love my great-grandchildren and want my descendants to have a place to live in the world where they can worship God with more than three chords. I love my parents, brothers, sister, cousins, nieces, and nephews. God has given us a heritage that I intend to love fiercely until I die. I love the Reformed faith – both its glorious past and yet more glorious future.
For the past couple years I have looked back on the books I have read and listed my favorites (see: 2015, 2016). And this year I will do the same. In total, Goodreads says I read 72 books in 2017. It was a good year for reading, and the amount of books increased due to my Greyfriars Hall studies. I enjoy taking the time to list my favorites so that I am able to look back and see what I enjoyed / my trajectories. With a large pile of personal to-read books for 2018, I look forward to the coming year.
Here are the books I enjoyed the most in 2017, in an order that is intentional but not thoroughly thought through. Click on the book covers to read more or purchase.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor. 6:9-11 ESV