Archive for December, 2011

Top Seven Books that I Read in 2011

December 31st, 2011 Posted in Books

1. Tied for number one are John Wigger, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Alister Chapman, Godly Ambition: John Stott and the Evangelical Movement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). Both of these books are “thick” history at its best: rich in detail, and conversant with the cultural, theological and ecclesial scenes. I find the lives of both Asbury and Stott, though quite different, deeply awe-inspiring. I was astonished at the way I resonated with the heart-beat of both, though I must stress that I have definite theological differences on the level of secondary issues.

2. Peter J. Morden, ‘Communion with Christ and his people’: The Spirituality of C.H. Spurgeon (Oxford: Regent’s Park College, 2010). I find Spurgeon to be a perennial source of inspiration and delight. And this new study by the Tutor in Church History and Spirituality at Spurgeon’s College tells me of the hidden springs of why I find him to be so: here is the heart of Spurgeon’s ministry displayed in great detail.

3. Carolyn Weber, Surprised by Oxford. A Memoir (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011). I love to read biographies, collections of letters and memoirs. And this was a delight. I had not heard of Carolyn Weber before my good friend and research assistant Ian Clary alerted me to this book. It is the story of the conversion of a feminist literary scholar, who is a fellow Canadian, in one of my favorite cities in all the world. A truly charming read.

4. Then tied for number 4 place are two books by two of my favorite historians: John Lukacs, The Future of History (New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2011), a short essay-style book on the future of a variety of things dealings with being an historian—vintage Lukacs. And then Gertrude Himmelfarb, The People of the Book: Philosemitism in England, from Cromwell to Churchill (New York/London: Encounter Books, 2011), also a monograph, on love for the Jewish people. In a very short, and masterly, compass she deals with this history from Cromwell’s Puritan interest in the Jews that culminated in the readmission of the Jews to England—they had been expelled en masse in the Middle Ages—down to Churchill’s philo-Zionism, something quite different from Cromwell’s affection. Also vintage history.

5. Daniel C. Goodwin, Into Deep Waters: Evangelical Spirituality and Maritime Calvinistic Baptist Ministers, 1790–1855 (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010). This is a tremendous study of an overlooked area of Baptist studies. I have spent much time studying the English Calvinistic Baptist scene and also, to some degree, that of the Southern Baptists in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But the Baptist world of the Maritimes is a third important area of Calvinistic Baptist impact that should not be overlooked. Very illuminating.

What are the 5 Best Theology Books You’ve Read?

December 29th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized

Dr. Haykin has responded to a question submitted on this website’s “Ask Me a Question” feature. The question was: “I was wondering if you would be willing to give me your picks for 5 of the best theology books you’ve read and recommend.” Dr. Haykin responded with his list here. Feel free to interact with his list and share your own in the comment section for his post.

Posted by Steve Weaver, Research Assistant to the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin.

What is the best book you read in 2011?

December 12th, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized

I was just asked this question by Matthew Barrett of Credo. It is an easy question to answer in some ways. Out of the multitude of books that I did read in 2011, one stands out head and shoulders above the others. It is John Wigger, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford University Press, 2009).

This is “thick” history at its best: rich in detail, conversant with the cultural, theological and ecclesial scene and deeply awe-inspiring. I was astonished at the way I resonated with the heart-beat of a man with whom I have serious theological differences on the level of secondary issues. A superb read.

A monograph inspired by the 1960s song “Somebody to Love”!

December 1st, 2011 Posted in Uncategorized

Just thinking that one could write a monograph on the western search seeking Somebody to love–and the eternally significant discovery made by the Fathers and our Baptist forebears! A kind of Patristic/Baptist answer to that haunting refrain of Grace Slick’s song!

Going to San Francisco, Grace Slick, and finding Somebody to love (Jesus Christ)

December 1st, 2011 Posted in 20th Century, Music

Was I forty years too late when I finally got to Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, when my wife and I went out there to celebrate our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and attend the annual ETS conference a week or so ago? Well, the providence of God is never too late!

Probably glad in some ways not to have gotten there at the height of those tumultuous years of the counter-culture (which is now mainstream!). It was fascinating to do San Francisco—including Haight-Ashbury, though to be honest, it was somewhat grungy. I guess I expected something like current-day Yorkville in Toronto, which I did do in the height of the sixties.

But experiencing Haight-Ashbury reminded me of the heartbeat/aching void of my generation, well summed up by the song popularized by San Francisco psychedelic rocker Grace Slick (though the song was actually written by her brother-in-law Darby Slick):

“When the truth is found to be lies
And all the joy within you dies

“Don’t you want somebody to love
Don’t you need somebody to love
Wouldn’t you love somebody to love
You better find somebody to love.”

A good part of the truths that the mainstream culture of the 1960s pushed were indeed lies, sure to dry up all of the wellsprings of joy. But the truths of my generation, the counter-culture, were not a deep enough corrective. Like the culture they were protesting against, they simply did not go deep enough. What an indictment on a generation that was rooted in interiority. But there was the need of a Guide to navigate the depths of the human heart. And hey: in Jesus, Lord and Christ, I found that Guide and that Somebody Grace Slick urged me to find to love–and His love has proven to be the Sweetest of Joys and the Truth!