I first discovered Nick Needham when I purchased his book, The Triumph of Grace, a book in which Needham collects Augustine's writings on the grace of God. It is a wonderful book. Nick was kind enough to put in a good word for a recent book I edited and published. Today I received in the mail volumes 1-3 (more to be written) of 2000 Years of Christ's Power (Grace Publications). It looks wonderful, and promises to be a substantial overview of church history. Nick is my kind of guy--an evangelical who believes that the God of Holy Scripture might just have been at work in the Christian church over the last 2000 years. You can now get all three at a great price at Wesminster Theological Seminary's online book store. Happy reading!
After reading the United States Constitution, what is the next thing you should read in terms of thinking about the U.S. Constitution? My bet is on Thomas Woods' new book, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century (Regnery, 2010). Nullification is a cherished component of american political thought, although it has been ignored for some time. In a nutshell, the idea of "nullification" is rooted (in a U.S. context) in the U.S. Constitution. The States gave certain enumerated and specified powers to the federal government. Thus--at the human level--power flows from the individual states and the people to the federal government. That is, the federal government receives its marching orders--its power--from the states. "Sovereignty"--in the political sense, and at the human level--resides in the individual states and the citizens of the various states. So what happens when the federal government usurps power, or tries to, and enacts legislation which goes beyond its enumerated and specified powers--powers granted to the federal govenment by the states? Well, the various states are duty bound to simply say, "Nice try, but you have overstepped your bounds. We simply cannot, and are morally bound not to, enforce such a law." It is not simply that the states can ignore such federal laws, the states are--ultimately--duty bound to ignore such laws, in order to protect the citizens of the states who granted and delegated such powers in the first place. But let Tom Woods walk the reader through the issues. His book contains some 125 pages of appendices with primary source documents showing the treasured place of nullification in the history of american political thought. For those who do better with a lecture, you can find a good lecture by the author, Tom Woods, here. Enjoy.
I have learned a whole lot from Peter Leithart over the years. Although Peter sees Baptists at the center of a whole bunch of theological mistakes (I am happily Baptist), I nonetheless always benefit from reading Leithart. He is one of the finest writing theologians around. In this post at his web-site Leithart succintly and simply--but nonetheless helpfully--has some fun with the unnecessary dichotomy which is often seen when people play "literal" language over against "figurative" language.
To my mind, David Lyle Jeffrey is one of the finest Christian intellectuals around. He currently teaches at Baylor University. His scholarship is first-rate, and he is true Christian gentleman. I have been reading him since I first started to wrestle with questions of the nature of language, and how Christians might think rightly about the nature of language. I highly recommend his books, including People of the Book and Houses of the Interpreter. I was listening today to a lecture he gave a few years ago on the current state of the discipline of English literature, and how English as a discipline will continue to flounder as long as it continues to drift from its historical moorings, where it was anchored to the Christian faith. To any and all persons interested in the confusion in the contemporary academy, and to anyone simply interested in such issues, I would recommend this talk highly. Here is a link to Jeffrey's talk on i-tunes. It should be talk #37 on this list.