Last week we discussed the difficult, yet fundamental doctrine of God's Divine Providence. As a result, I spent a lot of time reading and studying. And it was necessary. When we come to such difficult doctrines, it is imperative that we do our homework in order to faithfully believe and present God as He has revealed Himself.
The Benefits of Providence: A New Look at Divine Sovereignty by James S. Spiegel - This is perhaps the best book I read on the subject. Though there were some things in it that I felt weren't necessary, I believe that the author does a very good job at defending a high view of providence. The author clearly lays out false and unbiblical understandings of providence especially Open Theology. In addition the author discusses issues like feminism and other wrong views. But through it all, Spiegel presents the doctrine as historical and biblical. He is right in affirming that Augustine has set the standard for a right understanding of providence, but he goes on to show how many faithful believers (from the New Testament on) have affirmed the doctrine. In spite of the many difficulties of this doctrine, Spiegel offers a careful analysis and discussion of it.
For a fuller review, click here.
The Invisible Hand: Do All Things Really Work for Good (Sproul, R. C. R.C. Sproul Library.) (Sproul, R. C. R.C. Sproul Library.) (Sproul, R. C. R.C. Sproul Library.) by R.C. Sproul - Sproul needs no introduction. He is known as a first rate Christian philosopher and Reformation theologian. In this book, Sproul offers a biblical and reformed look at the doctrine of Divine Providence. Like most of his books, Sproul discusses many of the major issues that arise and discusses them from a biblical perspective. My main concerns with the book is his love of philosophy which sometimes clouds the biblical perspective of the book. Also, I didn't care how sometimes the author left the reader hanging. I found myself getting into a particular subject only for the author to end the discussion. However, in all of it, Sproul writes more from a pastoral care and perspective than I expected. This was a welcomed surprised. I assumed that the book would be more thought than practice and I was wrong. Overall, this was a good book and I would recommend it to those wanting to understand the issue better.
A fuller review may come later. No promises.
The Secret Providence of God by John Calvin - I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes listening in to a conversation two theologians are having is an excellent way to really understand what each person believes not to mention the insight into the pastoral mind of the two involved. In this book, John Calvin defends his doctrine of Divine Providence against the many attacks made against him by his opponents. What is interesting is that the arguments made 500 years ago are still be made today. Some things never change. For those who like Reformation theology, I recommend this book.
Their God Is Too Small: Open Theism and the Undermining of Confidence in God by Bruce Ware - This is the best introduction to the heresy of Open Theism. Ware shows how Opennes Theology is empty and unbiblical. Ware is a good writer and a first rate theologian (and a professor at Southern Seminary). If you want to know more about Openness Theology, this is the best book. Open Theology is an attack on God's providence. While your at it, read Ware's other books on the subject including God's Lesser Glory: The Diminished God of Open Theism and God's Greater Glory: The Exalted God Of Scripture And The Christian Faith.
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SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGIES AND OTHER BOOKS
Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin - Calvin is perhaps best known for his belief and affirmation in Divine Sovereignty and Providence and his Institutes show why. I was thankful that Calvin writes as both a theologian and a pastor here. It was in many ways thanks to him that God showed me that the doctrine of providence is a reminder that we have hope without fear.
Mystery of Providence (Puritan Paperbacks) by John Flavel - I did not get to finish this book, but from what I read, it reads like many other more Puritan books. Heavily biblical and deep. Not for the faint of heart, but good nonetheless.
Systematic Theology - 3 Volume Set by Charles Hodge - Hodge offers a great discussion on the doctrine of Divine Providence. I really enjoyed much of what he said. He deals with many of the issues that we are confronted with and deals with them with the gospel and with Scripture. I like Hodge's work a lot.
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem - Grudem offers an excellent brief discussion of Divine Providence. If you begin anywhere, begin here. Grudem walks us through the Reformed perspective of it and shows why it is best as compared to a more Arminian argument. He also deals with the problem of evil and other issues raised by this doctrine.
Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, God/Creation by Norman L. Geisler - I am really enjoying Geisler's systematic theology books. When it comes to providence, Geisler seeks to uncover every rock in an understandable and organized way. He offers all the issues and reveals what history has said about them, what the Bible says about them, and what it is we are to believe. I really liked this section a lot.
God and Creation by Thomas Aquinas - Aquinas' theology is interesting, but I enjoyed this section on providence. I'm not a big fan of Medeival Theology, but I did enjoy this section of Aquinas' work.
Abstract of Systematic Theology by James P. Boyce - Once again, well laid out and discussed by a leading baptist theologian.
Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (RE: Lit) - Driscoll and Breshear say virtually nothing in any depth on this issue. This was disappointing, but I still like this book a lot.
Reviews - A Sweet And Bitter Providence by John Piper