The Professor’s Bookshelf: Dr. Ken Keathley

This series at Between the Times highlights Southeastern faculty members as they share about books which they are enjoying now, books which have shaped them personally, and books they consistently recommend to others.

This week, we interview Dr. Ken Keathley.

Dr. Keathley is Senior Professor of Theology and is the Director of the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture and holds the Jesse Hendley Chair of Biblical Theology
at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

What are some books you are reading right now?

Thank You for Being Late” by Thomas Friedman; “Original Sin” by Alan Jacobs; Just finished (science fiction) “The Thing Itself” by Adam Roberts; “The Theological Origins of Modernity” by Michael Allen Gillespie; and “The Day the Revolution Began” by N. T. Wright. I recently read Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech.” What a hoot.

What are some of the books which have had the largest impact on your life, thinking, or teaching?

How Should We Then Live?” by Francis Schaeffer opened up a whole new world for me. He was the first author to challenge me to think “Christianly.” I love Millard Erickson’s “Christian Theology.” He presents the great truths of the Christian faith with such clarity. I go back to it again and again. As a young pastor I read John Piper’s “The Pleasures of God.” It challenged me to take pleasure in whatever pleased God. And then anything written by C. S. Lewis.

What are some of your favorite works of fiction?

I like to read good science fiction. Not long ago I enjoyed reading Michael Faber’s “The Book of Strange New Things.”

Are there any books which you re-read on a regular basis and why?

I read and re-read J. I. Packer’s “Knowing God.” It reminds me of what great writing looks like, and it simply blesses my soul.

What is one book which you would recommend to a church member and why?

Probably C. S. Lewis’ “Surprised by Joy.” His account of how he came to faith in Christ is genuine and encouraging.

What is one book which you would recommend to a seminary student to read beyond what they might encounter in class and why?

John Stott’s “The Cross of Christ.” He presents the work of Calvary with a remarkable balance of learning and devotion. After reading, one will understand salvation better and love Christ more.

The Professor’s Bookshelf: Dr. Scott Hildreth

This series at Between the Times highlights Southeastern faculty members as they share about books which they are enjoying now, books which have shaped them personally, and books they consistently recommend to others.

This week, we interview Dr. Scott Hildreth.

Dr. Hildreth is Assistant Professor of Global Studies and is the Director of the Center for the Great Commission Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

What are some books you are reading right now?

I am reading Apostolicity by John Flett for the Southeastern Seminary journal, Southeastern Theological Review. I am also reading several books on the missions in the Reformation in preparation for our upcoming trip to Germany for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. For fun, I am reading G.K. Chesterton’s mystery novels about “Father Brown.”

What are some of the books which have had the largest impact on your life, thinking, or teaching?

The first time I read Michael Green’s Evangelism in the Early Church I was challenged in the idea of the importance contextualization in missions and this has become a major point of my research, writing, and teaching.

I have also been impacted by reading biographies of missionaries such as: William Carey, Hudson Taylor, and Jim Elliot, for example. These stories allow me to see how God uses different people and be encouraged by their faith

On the teaching front, Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman shapes my thinking. I see my classroom (and students) as those that will carry the faith forward and it is a disciple making process.

What are some of your favorite works of fiction?

One book that haunts me is John Grisham’s A Time to KillIt exposes the racial inequities in our country and also accidental racism in me.

I like C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series because of the insight into real life walking with God.

I am a huge mystery/thriller fan. Many of the books are not necessarily recommendations, but I enjoy the stories and I also enjoy watching authors struggle with evil and good through these novels.

Are there any books which you re-read on a regular basis and why?

One book that I read regularly is Eugene Peterson’s Under the Unpredictable PlantI do this because I am always challenged by his understanding of spiritual formation and the role ministry plays in growing in godliness.

I also come back to, though not regularly, Desiring God by John Piper, Knowledge of the Holy and The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, Knowing God by J.I. Packer, and other books that feed my soul with deep thoughts about God and spirituality.

What is one book which you would recommend to a church member and why?

Other than the books listed above, I would recommend all church members read Prayer: The Cry for the Kingdom  by Stanley Grenz. This book completely transformed my understanding of prayer. It is a theological discussion of a very mystical discipline.

What is one book which you would recommend to a seminary student to read beyond what they might encounter in class and why?

I wish all my students would read Elements of Style and How to Read a Book  (Ha Ha Ha!  Just kidding – kind of)!

Seriously, I love John Piper’s Brothers We are Not Professionals. Though it is written to pastors, I think all staff members and even laypersons can benefit from his insights on ministry.

The Professor’s Bookshelf: Dr. Matthew Mullins

This series at Between the Times highlights Southeastern faculty members as they share about books which they are enjoying now, books which have shaped them personally, and books they consistently recommend to others.

This week, we interview Dr. Matthew Mullins.

Dr. Mullins is Assistant Professor of English and History of Ideas at the College of Southeastern and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

What are some books you are reading right now?

  • Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
  • Liturgy of the Ordinary – Tish Harrison Warren
  • Public Things – Bonnie Honig
  • What Was African American Literature? – Kenneth W. Warren

What are some of the books which have had the largest impact on your life, thinking, or teaching?

  • Reassembling the Social – Bruno Latour
  • Uses of Literature – Rita Felski
  • The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander
  • Desiring the Kingdom – James K. A. Smith
  • Playing in the Dark – Toni Morrison
  • The essays of David Foster Wallace

What are some of your favorite works of fiction?

  • The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
  • Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
  • Gilead – Marilynne Robinson
  • Kindred – Octavia Butler
  • Mao II – Don DeLillo
  • Ceremony – Leslie Marmon Silko
  • Anything by Percival Everett

Are there any books which you re-read on a regular basis and why?

I reread the work of Terry Eagleton often because he’s one of the most lucid writers of academic prose around. I have reread Teju Cole’s novel Open City a few times as I often do with texts I teach, but there’s something about that book that especially lends itself to rereading. I reread poetry more than anything else because it’s like listening to your favorite songs over again. Most recently, I’ve reread:

  • The Self Unstable – Elisa Gabbert
  • Glitter Bomb – Aaron Belz

What is one book which you would recommend to a church member and why?

Every churchgoer should read more fiction! You might start with Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and then read its companion novels, Home and Lila. These three novels overlap in terms of the times and characters they imagine, but they differ in terms of their perspectives. As an exercise in regarding the experiences of others, I don’t think you could do much better.

What is one book which you would recommend to a seminary student to read beyond what they might encounter in class and why?

  • A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn.

It’s always good to test the historical narratives on which our worldviews are based, and few books rattle familiar narratives about U.S. history as ferociously as Zinn’s.