Reformedish Seminary Starter Kit

WestminsterAssemblyPortraitYou might not be able to tell based on my blog, but I didn’t go to a Reformed seminary; Haggard School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University is rooted is the Wesleyan-Holiness background (I kind of slowly went Reformed by way of reaction.) I went there on a partial scholarship through the godly people over at the Evangelical Friends Southwest Center and took classes in Friends Church theology and history. While I’m grateful for my time there, my excellent professors, and deeply pastoral education, you can understand when I say that giving me a Reformed, or even Reformedish, perspective on theology or ministry wasn’t a high priority. Which makes sense.

Given that, I’ve kind of had to give myself a Reformed education on the fly, mostly piecing things together via footnotes in books I’ve liked, recommendations, and so forth. Knowing how difficult that can be, I put together a quick list of books in various ministry areas, of the sort I would have appreciated, for those unable to get to seminary yet, or what to supplement their own seminary ed with more Reformed(ish) voices. Think of it like a Reformedish starter kit.

A few caveats: This is by no means an exhaustive list. The theology and biblical studies section could be expanded by quite a bit. Also, I think people outside the Reformed tradition would be blessed by these, and there are many excellent books written outside of the Reformed tradition that have blessed me in these areas. Finally, this is not an endorsement of every single point of exegesis or position taken in each book. I just think they’re pretty good. If any of you have others to recommend in these various areas, go ahead and recommend them in the comments.

Systematic Theology

The Christian Faith:A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way by Michael Horton

Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin

Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church by J. Todd Billings

Update: A friend of mine pointed out a glaring absence. It’s absolutely necessary to cruise through a couple of the catechisms and confessions like the Heidelberg Catechism or the Westminster Confession. I’d highly commend Kevin DeYoung’s accessible commentary on Heidelberg The Good News We Almost Forgot.

Biblical Studies & Hermeneutics:

New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New by G.K. Beale

Introduction to Biblical Interpretation by William W. Klein, Craig L. Blomberg, & Robbert. I Hubbard Jr.

Ministry Philosophy and Practice:

Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City by Tim Keller

Dynamics of Spiritual Life by Richard Lovelace


Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon by Bryan Chapell

Preaching Christ in a Post-Modern World (Lectures) by Dr. Timothy Keller and Dr. Edmund Clowney

Evangelism & Apologetics:

Lectures on Apologetics and Evangelism by Jerram Barrs

The Reason For God by Tim Keller

A Shot of Faith to the Head by Mitch Stokes

Theological Spirituality:

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller

Pastoral Counseling:

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand by Paul David Tripp

Pastoral Ministry:

Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry by Paul David Tripp

The Pastor by Eugene Peterson

Reformation History and Historical Doctrine

The Christian Tradition 4: Reformation of Church and Dogma by Jaroslav Pelikan

The Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch

10 Myths About Calvinism by Kenneth Stewart

Soli Deo Gloria

7 thoughts on “Reformedish Seminary Starter Kit

  1. Derek:

    Thought I’d toss a couple more thoughts with your permission. For Preaching: Preachers and Preaching by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Found here: is excellent.

    Additionally, for those seriously considering Reformed Seminaries, I think it is worth tossing out that Geerhardus Vos and Cornelius Van Til are both in vogue right now for research.

    Finally, if location is the issue, I do suggest looking at Reformed Theological Seminary online. There are some real heavy hitters on staff there (Ligon Duncan, Michael Kruger, and John Frame), and the virtual program makes location a non-issue. The school runs about $1000 per class, and has 3 M.A. options. (I am biased as a current student there)

  2. Might I add a category near Systematic Theology? Doctrine of God, there you may insert the good Dr. Bavinck without requiring your readers to work through Reformed Dogmatics.

  3. Those Keller/Clowney lectures are a must, even if one isn’t ‘reformed’. I was immensely helped to see/preach Christ from the OT. The lectures are gifts that keep on giving. I just preached David and Goliath this past Sunday and Jesus showed up. Boom!

  4. Pingback: BA Books & Authors on the Web – October 04, 2013

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