The following post is from the Book Review Team of Greg Enas and Russ Pulliam, who annually submit a list of brief reviews of some of the books they read in the year. Note that these selections are not necessarily books published this year, but ones read in 2020 with great benefit.
Greg Enas has a Ph.D. in statistics and worked for many years at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, running the research numbers on new drugs to make sure they worked effectively. He also likes to read books, about 100 a year. Russell Pulliam is an Indianapolis Star columnist who directs the Pulliam Fellowship summer intern program for the Indianapolis Star and the Arizona Republic. Russ serves as a ruling elder in the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis.
Stony The Road – Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow | Henry Louis Gates, Jr. A stunningly well written photo-journal by this esteemed Harvard academic. He clearly demonstrates the arc of race, politics, and economics has yielded its fruit in its time in American culture. Shameful, hopeful, fearful, and more describe my thoughts and feelings from these pages.
Franklin & Washington – The Founding Partnership | Edward J. Larson. Fascinating story and well researched – an incredible relationship between two imperfect but exemplary heroes.
The Roots of American Order | Russell Kirk. From foundations in Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, and London, our Republic added the philosophies of Montesquieu, Hume, Blackstone, and Burke to birth our Republic, if we can keep it.
Defending the Faith – J. Gresham Machen and the Crisis of Conservative Protestantism in Modern America | D. G. Hart. He demonstrates the impact of Machen across America and beyond as the founder of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. Machen was not a fundamentalist, not a liberal, not an evangelical, but more like a libertarian confessionalist.
Swords & Plowshares – American Evangelicals on War; 1937-1973 | Timothy D. Padgett. Fantastic rendering of evangelical commentary on American political life across war, race, end times and eschatology, Israel, Russia, China, Vietnam, Watergate and more.
A Better Story – God, Sex, and Human Flourishing | Glynn Harrison. This British author and former practicing psychiatrist explains so well why he thinks “traditional Christian teaching on sex, marriage and human flourishing is good news for today.”
Edge of Order | Daniel Libeskind. An amazing big book with great photographs of the author’s architectural creations from around the world.
The Heart of a Servant Leader: Letters from Jack Miller | C. John Miller. This deceased church planter and missionary gives much wisdom in letters about relationships, suffering and missions.
Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman’s Guide To Having It All | Megan Basham. World magazine’s movie reviewer knows much about men as well as the movies.
Great Society: A New History | Amity Shlaes. The tragedy of Lyndon Johnson’s dream. Idealism goes in the ditch when it bypasses basic truths of Scripture.
Who Am I?: Identity in Christ | Jerry Bridges. He takes doctrines such as union with Christ and imputation of Christ’s righteousness and spells out the practical results.
Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships | Edward Welch. As the cover says, "The goal of this book is that these meaningful relationships will become a natural part of daily life in your church. With short chapters and discussion questions meant to be read in a group setting, Ed Welch guides small groups through eight lessons that show what it looks like when ordinary, needy people care for other ordinary, needy people in everyday life."
To Think Christianly: A History of L'Abri, Regent College, and the Christian Study Center Movement | Charles Cotherman. An excellent history of the Christian study center movement after World War II, with new perspective on the lives of Francis Schaeffer, R.C. Sproul and Jim Houston.
Seven Leaders: Preachers and Pastors | Iain Murray. These leaders sought to please the Lord, not achieve popularity.