Wilber, Del Quentin. Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan. Henry Holt, 2011.
Hess, Richard S. "Genesis 1-2 in its Literary Context," Tyndale Bulletin 41, no. 1 (1990): 143-153.
He looks at the toledoth breaks in Genesis 4-5 and Genesis 10-11 and concludes that it is common in Genesis 1-11 for a toledoth formula to mark a point in which more a detailed account follows a linear account of the same events. This undercuts the view that Genesis 1 and 2 necessarily come from two different sources.
Seely, Paul H. "The Geographical Meaning of ‘Earth’ and ‘Seas’ in Genesis 1:10," Westminster Theological Journal 59, no. 2 (Fall 1997): 231-55.
The upshot of this article is that truly grammatical-historical exegesis of Genesis 1:10 must recognize that the earth spoken of there is a flat disc that floats on the single sea that surrounds the land since this is the view of all ancient peoples.
In a very brief postscript Seely raises the question of whether interpreting these verses "according to their historico-grammatical meaning impinge negatively on the biblical doctrine of inspiration?" (155). He appeals to Warfield to argue that it does not: "A presumption may be held to lie also that [Paul] shared the ordinary opinions of his day in certain matters lying outside the scope of his teachings, as, for example, with reference to the form of the earth, or its relation to the sun; and it is not inconceivable that the form of his language, when incidentally adverting to such matters, might occasionally play into the hands of such a presumption" (Warfield, "The Real Problem of Inspiration," in Works, 1:197).
It is important to note that Warfield makes two points in this quotation. Before the semi-colon Warfield is referring to what Paul thought apart from what he wrote in Scripture. Warfield is clear in the preceding context that Paul can err in his thinking in any number of ways , including his view of "the form of the earth, or its relation to the sun." After the semi-colon Warfield is referring to what Paul wrote in Scripture. Here he makes the more limited claim that Paul’s erroneous views could affect the wording of Scripture. Warfield does not say that Paul introduces error into Scripture on this account (since that is precisely what he is arguing against). Rather Warfield is saying the wording could be understood in harmony with the error while not actually being in error itself (this is the import of the phrase "play into the hands of such a presumption"). In other words Warfield is teaching that God did not correct all the popularly-held opinions of the day held by the biblical writers and that some of the wording of Scripture is compatible with those views, while being in itself free from error.
This reading is substantiated by Warfield’s earlier discussion of accommodation in the same article. There he notes, "It is one thing to adapt the teaching of truth to the stage of receptivity of the learner; it is another to adopt the errors of the time as the very matter to be taught. It is one thing to refrain from unnecessarily arousing the prejudices of the learner, that more ready entrance may be found for the truth; it is another thing to adopt those prejudices as our own, and to inculcate them as the very truths of God" (ibid., 1:194).
In this article Seely argues for the latter: he argues that the errors of the time are taught by the text when interpreted in a grammatical-historical manner. For this reason alone Seely’s interpretation must be rejected as inconsistent with the Bible’s own teaching regarding its inspiration. Seely’s interpretation should also be rejected for limiting grammatical historical interpretation to the human level. The words of Genesis 1:9-10 are not merely the words of Moses writing within his own cultural milieu. These are also the words of God. This is an especially relevant factor in interpreting Genesis 1 since the events of this chapter lie beyond human observation; God alone could reveal these truths to Moses. There is little reason therefore to insist that these words can only be rightly interpreted when understood strictly as someone of Moses’s time would have understood them. They may "play into the hands" of such an understanding (though even this is not a necessary conclusion), but they do not demand of the reader to be read in light of such an understanding.
Importantly, Seely’s argument is not that Genesis 1:10 necessitates this reading on the textual level, but rather that given that all ancient cultures held to belief that the earth was a flat disc surrounded by an ocean, modern interpreters must read the Bible through this ancient lens. To the contrary, historical background must play an ancillary role to the Scripture; it is the servant of the text rather than its master. Otherwise the sufficiency of Scripture is undermined just as surely as when tradition moves from an ancillary role to that of master. The historical background that Seely introduces provides a helpful window into the worldview of ancient peoples, but it does not determine the meaning the divine Author intended for Genesis 1:10. To say otherwise undermines both the doctrines of the inerrancy and the sufficiency of Scripture.
Sinclair Ferguson, "The Whole Counsel of God: Fifty Years of Theological Studies," Westminster Theological Journal50, no. 2 (Fall 1988): 271-78. [section on common grace]
Ferguson summarizes the views of John Murray and Cornelius Van Til on common grace. He notes that Murray defines common grace as “every favour of whatever kind or degree, falling short of salvation, which this undeserving and sin-cursed world enjoys at the hand of God” (271). He also lists the functions of common grace according to Murray: Common grace "restrains human depravity"; God "restrains his own wrath"; "God restrains the influence of evil"; "the disintegration of life is contained"; "God has ordained good in the beauty and abundance of creation"; "good is attributed to unregenerate men"; "civil government provides peace and order for men"; "it is the precondition for special grace" (271-72). Regarding Van Til, Feguson brings out his emphasis that common grace must be understood to exist in the flow of history. In this Van Til counters those who deny common grace on the grounds that the unregenerate will receive judgment for neglecting and rejecting the grace given to them by God (thus, in their view, making it not grace but judgment). Van Til insists that history has real significance and that God can offer real grace to sinners in history.
Pennings, Ray. "Can We Hope for a Neocalvinist-Neopuritan Dialogue," Puritan Reformed Journal 1, no. 2 (July 2009): 229-37.
By Neopuritan Pennings means those who have rediscovered Puritan literature and who emphasize the sovereignty of God and Reformed soteriology. By Neocalvinist Pennings means the heirs of Abraham Kuyper who stress the sovereignty of God over all of culture. Pennings thinks that both groups have strengths that they can contribute to the other. He notes four strengths among Neocalvinists: (1) recognition of the goodness of the creation order which grounds a right understanding of natural law and which explains positive developments of human culture, (2) the idea of antithesis which recognizes that the effects of the Fall touch on every aspect of creation and culture, (3) the idea of common grace which preserves the goodness of creation and allows the unregenerate to contribute positive insights to society, (4) the concept of sphere sovereignty. He notes two strengths of the Neopuritans: (1) a high view of the church and worship in the church which can balance the Neocalvinist emphasis on cultural involvement, and (2) an eschatology which emphasizes the judgment of God, which balances the right emphasis of the Neocalvinists that grace restores nature.
McCune, Rolland. A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity. Volume 2. Allen Park, MI: Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, 2009. [Section on Common Grace, 297-303]
McCune defines Common Grace as "an operation of the Holy Spirit, based on the atonement of Christ and God’s merciful and benevolent attitude toward all, by which He immediately or through secondary causation restrains the effects of sin and enables the positive accomplishment and performance of civic righteousness and good among all people" (297). According to McCune, common grace serves to restrain the effects of sin, to enable civic good, to direct people to God, to promote a fear of God even among the unsaved, and to enable many natural blessings (wording modified only slightly from McCune).
Kuyper, Abraham. "Common Grace." In Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader. Edited by James D. Bratt. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998. Pages 165-201.
Kuyper emphasizes the role of common grace as a necessary precondition for special grace. Without common grace earth would be hell and the church could not grow. Kuyper also sees common grace in the growth of civilization, but he warns against equating the progress of civilization with the growth of the kingdom. Interestingly, Kuyper also argued that common grace is necessary for the great evil of Antichrist. He notes that Revelation 18 reveals that all the developments of culture made possible by common grace are placed in the service of sin. Thus sin takes what is made possible by grace and twists it to evil.
Bavinck, Herman. Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation. Edited by John Bolt. John Vriend. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008. [Chapter 5: The Church’s Spiritual Essence]
Covers the origin of the church, the church as visible and invisible, the marks of the church, and the attributes of the church.