Books, articles, blog posts, and websites that influenced me in 2017

I read plenty of great articles and bad books in 2017. The ones below made the cut as the best of the best and the best of the worst. In hindsight, I wish I had read more political content and practical living. Next year, I suppose!

General Bible Stuff

A High View of Scripture? by Craig Allert (2007) Allert expertly navigates years of argumentation surrounding the formation of the New Testament canon. Unlike others who have tackled this same topic, Allert is careful to situate the meaning of individual words (“inspiration” for example) within the context of their historical usage while attempting to let the development of the canon inform an evangelical doctrine of scripture. For better or worse, this almost comes across as a Catholic/Orthodox apologetic. Read this book. #FarewellSolaScriptura

The Theological Rationale of Midrash Hermeneutics by Martin Pickup (2008) This article reminds me of Pete Enns’ book, Inspiration and Incarnation, but is so much better because it actually attempts to provide some substantial answers.

Practical and Ethical Implications of Hell by Peter Grice (2016) How might one preach and act differently if they believed in an already-not-yet, new heavens new earth, conditional immortality eschatology? For those wanting to hear some wisdom beyond the typically flawed you’re-going-to-die-and-go-to-heaven-or-hell-so-here’s-a-moral-lesson sermon, this is for you.

Gospel – Forget what you might have heard about the gospel and how it simply equates to penal substitution. This is the real gospel. I discovered this blog this year and it is awesome. Add this to your reading list. (If you don’t already have a reading list, shame on you!)

John Barclay is Awesome. This year, I found NT scholar John Barclay’s thoughts on Paul generally helpful and spot on all sorts of topics. In particular, Barclay’s thoughts on grace in general along with more specific comments on Romans 9-11 stuck with me. If you want to understand Paul better, get to know this man and his work.

Health and Fitness

The Hungry Brain by Stephan Guyenet (2017) Despite looking like a fad diet book, this is a serious science book on the science of weight regulation written by a neuroscientist and former obesity researcher. I had the privilege of reading Guyenet’s awesome blog formerly at and now at before this book was published. Sadly, the only thing this book is lacking is more specific advice in light of the books’ contents. This is my 2017 book of the year. How many 80 year olds do you know who have maintained single digit body fat levels for most of their adult lives while also considering disease prevention and done so simply with lifestyle and eating habits and routines that leave them satisfied at the end of the day? Yeah, zero. I found Clarence Bass’s website this year, and it stockpiled with useful information.

Calorie Shifting Diet Versus Calorie Restriction Diet: A Comparative Clinical Trial Study (2014) Regularly interrupting your healthy eating with a weekly Little Caesar’s pizza might just be the best thing you can do for your metabolism…kinda like how most humans before us guilt-ridden Americans had regular feast/fast days.

Potential role of milk fat globule membrane in modulating plasma lipoproteins, gene expression, and cholesterol metabolism in humans: a randomized study (2015) The more researchers test the saturated fat/heart disease links, the more complex the picture gets. Dairy fat is an interesting test case where the food matrix matters more than the fat content itself. To summarize: dairy fat is not harmful if consumed within naturally existing milk-fat globule membranes, but the process of making butter breaks down these MFGMs. Butter = bad.

If I had to provide a summary of everything, it would be this: eat whole foods 80% of the time, and eat these foods until you are comfortably full. Work in movement naturally into your daily routines and you will have this fitness and health thing mostly figured out.

Sex and Gender Issues

No, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity. It’s science. by Debrah Soh Remember that controversial Google memo that got a Google worker fired for perpetuating “gender stereotypes”? This opinion peace by a woman who holds a PhD in sexual neuroscience gives an overview of the latest neuroscience and defends the idea that there are significant differences between most men and most women.

Translating αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2:12 by Jamin Hübner (2015) This year I officially jumped over to the egalitarian dark side yet not without a few reservations. This article by Hübner reminded me I am far dumber than I think I am sometimes and left me feeling confused and overwhelmed.

What would complementarians do with a hermaphrodite pastor? by Randal Rauser (2014) This was a funny blog post arguing via reductio ad absurdum that complementarianism results in “endless casuistry”. Yes, yes it does :).

Romans 8:28-30

Inaugurated glorification: revisiting Romans 8:30 by Dane Ortland (2014) This article is fantastic and asks what Romans 8:30 might mean if we dared to actually read it in light of Paul’s already-not-yet eschatology rather than the all the other presuppositions readers typically bring to the text.

FOREKNEW = FORESEEN OR FOREORDAINED OR FORMERLY KNOWN? by Leighton Flowers (2016) Leighton Flowers of the blog soteriology101 takes a much different yet equally solid approach to Romans 8:28-30, interpreting the passage as referring to God’s dealings with past Israelites as an example of God holding up his end of the deal. Flowers also provides historical and modern support for his position.

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