Top 10 books on theology and piety/sanctification/spiritual growth (Monergism)

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reaganmarsh

Puritan Board Senior
Greetings PB brethren,

I received this in an email from Monergism and thought it was worth sharing.

Here's my question to y'all: what would your top 10 be? I'm interested to know.

The email reads:




Below we have put together two top 10 lists:
1) The Top Ten Books on Theology, and
2) Top Ten Books on Piety, Sanctification, Spiritual Growth

These are all books that every Christian student should make a part of his permanent library.


Top 10 Books on Theology


1. Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin
The book was written as an introductory textbook on the Protestant faith for those with some learning already and covered a broad range of theological topics from the doctrines of church and sacraments to justification by faith alone. It vigorously attacked the teachings of those Calvin considered unorthodox, particularly Roman Catholicism, to which Calvin says he had been "strongly devoted" before his conversion to Protestantism. The over-arching theme of the book--and Calvin's greatest theological legacy--is the idea of God's total sovereignty, particularly in salvation and election.

2. The Economy of the Covenants, by Herman Witsius
This, his magnum opus, is a reflection of some of the most fruitful and mature thinking on federal theology during the seventeenth century, and still holds a preeminent place in our own day. Reformed theology has always understood the biblical doctrine of the covenant to be the theological framework which best unifies Scripture, making it a consistent hermeneutic. In this two volume work, Witsius, presents the reader with a fully biblical and experiential doctrine of the divine covenants; opening up their nature, stipulations, curses, and blessings. Anyone interested in Reformed theology should read this book, for it is Reformed theology at its best.

3. Institutes of Elenctic Theology, by Francis Turretin
The best systematizer of the reformed doctrine in the world! This is a wonderful set, with a good translation, well arranged, theologically sound and deep but devotional/experimental as well. A great addition to the library of the serious students of the God's Word!

4. The Westminster Standards
The Westminster Standards is a collective name for the documents drawn up by the Westminster Assembly (1643–49). These include the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Westminster Larger Catechism, the Directory of Public Worship, and the Form of Church Government,[1] and represent the doctrine and church polity of the English and Scottish Reformation. The Westminster Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechism have been adopted as doctrinal standards by a number of Reformed and Presbyterian Christian denominations.

5. Bondage of the Will, by Martin Luther
The Bondage of the Will is fundamental to an understanding of the primary doctrines of the Reformation. In these pages, Luther gives extensive treatment to what he saw as the heart of the gospel. Free will was no academic question to Luther; the whole gospel of the grace of God, he believed, was bound up with it and stood or fell according to the way one understood it. Luther affirms our total inability to save ourselves and the sovereignty of divine grace in our salvation. He upholds the doctrine of justification by faith and defends predestination as determined by the foreknowledge of God.

6. Marrow of Theology, by William Ames
One of history's most influential Christian writings presents the Puritan understanding of God, the church, and the world. Now in modern English. This masterpiece was written in order to boil all the arguments of systematical theology down to their essence, so his readers would have the MARROW of each point at issue.

7. Systematic Theology, by Charles Hodge (3 Volumes)
The magnum opus of one of America's most prominent theologians offers an in-depth exploration of theology, anthropology, soteriology, and eschatology. This monumental work, now a standard for theological students, was written while Hodge served as a professor at Princeton, where he permanently influenced American Christianity as a teacher, preacher, and exegete. Includes a comprehensive index.

8. The Art of Prophesying by William Perkins
Perkins provides basic guidance to help all Christians to read and use the Bible intelligently. He has a particularly powerful message for those who lead God's people and especially those who preach. The Art Of Prophesying carries sparks capable of igniting a preacher. It should be beside every minister's desk as a book to turn to again and again. The Art Of Prophesying will be invaluable reading to any lay person or lay minister seeking a spiritual renewal for themselves, their love ones, or their communities of faith. -- Midwest Book Review

9. Historical Theology, by William Cunningham
William Cunningham (1805-1861) was an Scottish theologian. His lectures surveying the history of theology, delivered between 1847 and 1861, became the basis for his Historical Theology. It remains a classic in the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition. Kindle Version

10. The Marrow of Modern Divinity by Edward Fisher
When you read Fisher's work, and in particular this edition of it, you will come away with much more than just Fisher's (significant!) wisdom; for Fisher himself mined the treasures of all the Reformers before him, and he quotes extensively from Luther, Calvin, and others; and in this edition, the very extensive commentary of Thomas Boston (one of the greatest Puritans) is included in an easy-to-follow format. Boston's comments alone would be worth purchasing, and contribute no small incentive to acquiring the Marrow. I hope may readers will put this treasure trove to good use.

The Marrow of Modern Divinity (Free eBook) by Edward Fisher

Other Books That Could Have Been on This List:

The Works of Jonathan Edwards
The Complete Works of John Owen
Disputations on Holy Scripture by William Whitaker
Van Til's Apologetic Readings and Analysis by Greg Bahnsen
A Treatise On Regeneration, by Peter Van Mastricht







Top Ten Books on Piety, Sanctification, Spiritual Growth



1. The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification: Growing in Holiness by Living in Union with Christ by Walter Marshall
Perhaps the best human-authored book on sanctification ever produced.

2. The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal
Critical work! Sanctification occurs because the human soul has been united to Christ and participates in the divine nature. A person is a Christian because of what Christ has done for us, not what we do for ourselves. The Christian life is the same as He and continues to live and intercede for us. He is our sanctification.

3. The Practice of Piety by Lewis Bayly
Written originally in 1611, The Practice of Piety is a powerful work on Christian piety and practical living. Deeply influential on the Puritan movement, The Practice of Piety systematically investigates piety, beginning with a detailed account of God and Christ. In it, Bayly contrasts the "misery" of someone not reconciled to Christ with the happiness of the "godly man" who is reconciled to God. Bayly diagnoses the various problems that keep people from experiencing true piety, offering solutions to each so that one may remain pious in one's everyday life. However, the majority of The Practice of Piety is various meditations and prayers for believers, which Bayly intended to advance piety. Extremely practical and personally enriching, The Practice of Piety is bound to change the way one lives.

4. The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
If you lack assurance, are hurting, weak and suffering under the burden of sin, read this book, and by reading you will be amazed how helpful this is to yourself and your ministry to others.

5. The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
Truly an amazing book. John Owen never disapoints. Our favorite Puritan author. In a related work, Owen's treatment of the Holy Spirit is the finest we have ever read.

6. Crook in the Lot by Thomas Boston
One of our favorite books of all time. While this book is about providence and the sovereignty of God, the depth of Boston's biblical insight will help you better get a bird's eye view of reality resulting in a life of genuine piety. We studied through this book with our early morning men's group and the result was changed lives.

7. The Fear of God by John Bunyan
This is a great book to give anyone new to the faith and a blessing to those who have already been Christians. A true classic which I am currently reading and benefitting immensely from.

8. The Doctrine of Sanctification by A.W. Pink
Here Pink compiles the best teaching on sanctification through church history.

9. Holiness by J.C. Ryle
Truly a rich little gem that is to be read and reread. Classic!.

10. The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall (Pub. 1662-1665)
This is, no doubt, the most comprehensive work ever written on the subject of spiritual warfare. It is a massive tome, but there are few books in existence that I would recommend more highly. Very Edifying. A must own for your library.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Referring people to Hodge when Bavinck is available is somewhat idiosyncratic, certainly.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Turretin. Any volume. He makes key distinction that have long since been forgotten.
Bavinck. Volume 1. Ignore the long forays into refuting old Germans. Lots of good stuff on principium.
Richard Muller. Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms.
Charles Hodge. Common Sense realism. Aimed at Romanism.
Michael Horton, Lord and Servant, shows the warfare between covenantal systems and Hellenic systems.
Kevin Vanhoozer, either Drama of Doctrine or First Theology.
 

One Little Nail

Puritan Board Sophomore
A.A.Hodge's Outlines of Theology should get an Honorary mention as it's a good introduction to the Princeton Tradition &
Robert Shaw's Exposition of the Westminster Confession.

does anybody have any thoughts or an opinion on Berkowers work? how about Wisius' Exposition of the Apostles Creed.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
If limited to 10 books on theology, I would prefer either à Brakel or Buchanan (on Justification) to Ames. But that is a personal thing.

Ames is "fine," but à Brakel is "wow."
 
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CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
As a side note, I just find it a bit humorous when top 10 lists feature a bunch of multi-volume works. It's like they're rebelling against their own rules. My favorite is when Mortimer Adler put as a single entry in his Great Books list The Complete Works of Aristotle. Come on... those are just a bunch of heterogenous writings thrown together by an editor. By that logic, I could put all the books of my library into one Kindle file and list it as a single e-book.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
As a side note, I just find it a bit humorous when top 10 lists feature a bunch of multi-volume works. It's like they're rebelling against their own rules. My favorite is when Mortimer Adler put as a single entry in his Great Books list The Complete Works of Aristotle. Come on... those are just a bunch of heterogenous writings thrown together by an editor. By that logic, I could put all the books of my library into one Kindle file and list it as a single e-book.

No matter what the topic is, whenever I see your name in a thread I know I have to read your comment. I said any volume by Turretin, so I think I am safe.
 
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