Books I read in 2020

For the fourth consecutive year I’ve kept track of the books that I’ve read.

My favorite non-fiction books this year were Marsden’s biography of Jonathan Edwards, and Marvin Kamp’s history of the revival of the Dutch church in “1834.”

My favorite non-fiction book was George Eliot’s “Silas Marner.”

The average rating of books has increased significantly this year, as I’ve generally tossed out sub-par books before finishing them. And while I managed to read 91 books this year, that number is down quite a bit from previous years as I spent much time renovating our old house and establishing our mission work to hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

What have you read this year?  I’d be glad for comments!


1. God, Revelation and Authority, Volume 1 by Carl F. H. Henry 6/10

– Tedious, verbose, but brilliant in places. Many worthwhile quotes to collect.

2. The Shape of Sola Scriptura by Keith A. Mathison 9/10

– Clear and understandable. Excellent points. Especially valuable is his use of the categories of “Tradition 0, Tradition I, Tradition II, and Tradition III.” These refer, respectively, to the anabaptist / enlightenment view of autonomous authority, the Patristic and Reformed view of Scriptural authority as necessarily interpreted through the “regula fidei,” the Roman Catholic position developed during the Reformation, and the Roman Catholic position today.

3. American Yesterday, by Eric Sloane 10/10

4. Understanding the Faith, A Workbook for Communicants Class, by Stephen Smallman 7/10

5. Bandits, Prophets, and Messiahs by Richard A. Horsley ad John S. Hanson 9/10

6. John Witherspoon and the Fundamental Doctrines of the Gospel, by Kevin DeYoung 10/10

7. Christ and Your Problems, by Jay Adams, 8/10

8. Godliness Through Discipline, by Jay Adams, 10/10

9. Nassau Hall 1756-1956, ed. Henry Lyttleton Savage, 8/10

10. Seeking a Better Country, by D. G. Hart and John R. Muether, 10/10

11. The Little Red Schoolhouse, by Eric Sloane, 8/10

12. The Piety of John Witherspoon, by L. Gordon Tait, 5/10

13. John Witherspoon and the Founding of the American Republic, by Jeffry H. Morrison, 9/10

14. John Witherspoon Comes to America, by L. H. Butterfield, 8/10

15. A Tale of Two Synods, by Mark E. Braun, 9/10

16. L’Abri, by Edith Schaeffer, (2nd reading) 10/10

17. The Life of Rev. John Witherspoon (Vol IX of Works), by Ashbel Green, 6/10

18. Strictly Confidential (Murray Rothbard memos), ed. David Gordon, 5/10

19. Worship Not the Creature, Animal Rights and the Bible, by J. Y. Jones, 3/10

20. The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards ed. Hart, Lucas, Nichols, 5/10

21. Centennial, Unionville, New York 1871-1971, 8/10

22. Unionville Church Minutes Book, 1831 – 1850

23. Unionville Church Minutes Book, 1851 – 1909

24. Unionville Church Minutes Book, 1909 – 1943

25. Unionville Church Minutes Book, 1943 – 1954

26. The Gospel Comes With a House Key, by Rosaria Butterfield (2nd reading), 9/10

27. Tell Me About Presbyterians, Just What Do They Believe?, by Ralph E. Bass Jr., 8/10

Very solid, orthodox introduction to Presbyterianism.

28. Unionville Church Minutes Book, 1966 – 1974

29. Unionville Church Minutes Book, 1975 – 1987

30. Unionville Church Minutes Book, 1987 – 1995

31. Unionville Church Minutes Book, 1995 – 2003

32. John Calvin: His Roots and Fruits, by C. Gregg Singer, 7/10

33. The Heart of the Gospel, by Sinclair B. Ferguson, 5/10

34. Van Til & The Limits of Reason, by R. J. Rushdoony, 4/10

35. Confessing the Faith, by Chad Van Dixhoorn, 8/10

36. Amillennialism Today, by William E. Cox, 9/10

37. The Sumerians, by C. Leonard Woolley, 5/10

38. The Dead Sea Scrolls After Forty Years, 9/10

39. The Book of Revelation Made Easy, by Ken Gentry, 9/10

40. 101 Questions on How to Play Chess, by Fred Wilson, 8/10

41. Van Til & The Use of Evidence, by Thom Notaro, 8/10

42. A Pocket Guide to The Global Flood, AiG, 9/10

43. A Pocket Guide to A Young Earth, AiG, 7/10

44. Nazi Oaks, by R. Mark Musser, 6/10

45. Christians As The Romans Saw Them, by Robert Louis Wilken, 9/10

46. Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, by Phillip E. Johnson, 8/10

There are three types of defenses of creationism; evidential, philosophical, and Biblical. This book is primarily of the philosophical category but not without reference to the other two.

47. The Destruction of Jerusalem by George Peter Holford, 6/10

48. Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom, A Defense of Reformed Amillennialism, by David J. Engelsma, 8/10

49. What About Nouthetic Counseling, by Jay E. Adams, 5/10

50. Early Christianity and Greek Paideia, by Werner Jaeger, 5/10

51. President Witherspoon, by Varnum Lansing Collins, 10/10

52. Christianity & the Hellenistic World, by Ronald H. Nash, 8/10

53. Princeton Seminary, Its Leader’s Lives and Works, by Gary Steward, 7/10

54. The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, by Matthew Trewhella, 10/10

55. To Think Christianly, by Charles E. Cotherman, 8/10

56. Between Wittenberg and Geneva by Robert Kolb and Carl R. Trueman, 7/10

Basically a summary of the history and positions and not much analysis or advancement of ecumenism between Lutherans and Reformed Christians.

57. Presbyterians and American Culture, A History by Bradley J. Longfield, 9/10

58. Jonathan Edwards, A Life, by George M. Marsden 10/10

A fascinating account, fairly presented, thoroughly researched, and with much insightful analysis of Edwards and his times. Marsden seems to go much deeper and know much more about Edwards than does say Iain Murray in his biography of the same. If I have even a minor complaint it is that Marsden did not much get into Edwards’ philosophy. I would like to know more about his “Idealism.”

59. The Prayers of Daniel, by W. Scott Hollander III, 7/10

60. Walking with Rocks, by Esther Parry, 10/10

61. Learning to Love the Psalms, by W. Robert Godfrey 7/10

62. The Covenant Life of Abraham and Sarah (manuscript), by Chris Williams 10/10

63. Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism, by J. Harold Greenlee, 7/10

64. The Christian View of Man, by J. Gresham Machen, 7/10

64. God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew, 10/10

65. The Divine Dramatist, George Whitefield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism by Harry S. Stout, 10/10

66. Training in Christianity by Soren Kierkegaard, 3/10

67. Exodus Old and New, by L. Michael Morales, 7/10

68. Epistemic Fragments by Elihu Carranza, 9/10

69. Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol 1., by Richard Muller 8/10

70. Calvin’s Commentary on John’s Gospel, 9/10

71. Hendriksen’s Commentary on John’s Gospel, 9/10

72. MacArthur’s Commentary on John’s Gospel, 8/10

73. Light of the Mind, by Ronald Nash, 9/10

74. David Livingstone Missionary-Explorer of Africa by Jesse Kleeburger, 6/10

75. Reforming Apologetics by J. V. Fesko, 8/10

76. Silas Marner, by George Eliot, 10/10

77. Bavinck, A Critical Biography, by James Eglinton, 9/10

78. Ecclesiastic History of the English People, by Bede, 7/10

79. A Syllabus of Systematic Theology, by David S. Clark, 7/10

80. 1834, Hendrick De Cock’s Return to the True Church, by Marvin Kamps 10/10

I had previously not known of how far the Reformed Church had fallen in the Netherlands by the early 19th century.

81. Hollow and Home, by E. Fred Carlisle, 4/10

82. An Introduction to the Old Testament Pentateuch, by Herbert Wolf, 9/10

83. The Gift of Assurance, by David Engelsma, 8/10

84. The Covenant of God and the Children of Believers, by David Engelsma 10/10

85. Better to Marry, by David Engelsma, 7/10

86. Christianizing the World, Reformed Calling or Ecclesiastical Suicide?, by David Engelsma, 8/10

87. The Reformed Worldview, by David Engelsma and Herman Hanko, 7/10

88. Difficulties in the Bible, by R. A. Torrey, 6/10

Some of Torrey’s claims make him a Cal-minian, but all the evidence shows he is an Arminian. His thinking represents much of the Christian views of the time (1907), holding to Day-age creationism, the Gap Theory, and teetotalism. Positively, he argues that “difficulties” are for lack of understanding of the reader, not deficiencies in the text. While Torrey’s solutions to the various difficulties might not be the best solutions, at least he, unlike Van Til and Murray, seeks for solutions. Notable also is that Torrey argues Jesus died on a Wednesday and rose on a Saturday, while the empty tomb was found on a Sunday.

89. He is There and He is Not Silent, by Francis Schaeffer, (4th reading) 9/10

Schaeffer’s theory of knowledge depends on a preformation theory. That is, since God made both man and the world, man can understand the world. But this simply does not follow logically. He writes, “This fellow creature (a tree) is the object and I am the subject. We are both made by the same reasonable God and hence I can know my fellow creature truly.” (p. 71) The clouds and the rhinoceros are also made by the same reasonable God. Should we therefore conclude that the rhinoceros knows the clouds? Should we conclude that the clouds know the rhinoceros?

90. Toward a Reformed Philosophy, by William Young, 5/10
A promising study, but nearly unreadable because of the focus on the incomprehensible Dooyeweerd.

91. The Bible (using Dr. John Battle’s 1-year Bible reading plan)

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