Friday, December 08, 2017

The 100 Best Christian Books Ever!

What are the 100 best / most insightful / most important Christian books ever written? I googled "great Christian books" and found no great answers.

First I wrote my own preliminary list of 75 or so.  Then I asked for input from the people at Christian Apologetics Alliance, grabbed some good suggestions from the list Brad Cooper discovered at Church News (some of which I had thought of, but wanted independent confirmation before I bit down), and the following list emerged.  Sorry if I didn't include your suggestion: "So little space, so many books," to paraphrase one of the truest bumper stickers that ever cushioned a rear-end collision.  Even so, no doubt I have overlooked many brilliant works: that's what the comment section is for, to educate the present blogger.  (I'd love to dig into Christian bookshelves in Africa, Korea, Eastern Europe, India, or other neglected portions of the globe to see what great literature has emerged.  And there are some books here I haven't read yet.)

I begin with the obvious top choice, then follow in order of the author's last name.

(1) The Holy Bible. ("Author disputed."  Taken as a single volume, and I would make this choice even if I were NOT a Christian, I think.)
(2) Brother Andrew, God's Smuggler
(3) Anselm, Cur Deus Homo / Prayers and Meditations
(4) Aquinas, Summa Theologiae.
(5) Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word
(6) Augustine, City of God.
(7) Augustine, Confessions.
(8) Barth, Church Dogmatics
(9) Bede, Ecclesiastical History
(10) Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
(11) Boswell, Life of Johnson
(12) Brand, Pain: The Gift No One Wants
(13) Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre
(14) Brooks, Who Really Cares?
(15) Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress.
(16) Burke, Notes on the Revolution in France
(17) Butler, The Analogy of Religion
(18) Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization
(19) Campolo, The Power Delusion
(20) Chaucer, Canterbury Tales.
(21) Clement of Alexandria, Stromata.
(22) Chesterton, Orthodoxy
(23) . . . , Everlasting Man
(24) Coles, Children of Crisis
Image result for christmas carol(25) Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict / Loving God
(26) Dante, Divine Comedy
(27) Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
(28) Dickens, Tale of Two Cities
(29) . . . Christmas Carol
(30) Donne (poems)
(31) Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
(32) Dream of the Rood. (Author unknown.)
(33) Ellul, Propaganda
(34) Eusebius, Church History
(35) Farquhar, Crown of Hinduism
(36) Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity.
(37) Golding, Lord of the Flies
(38) Greene, The Power and the Glory
(39) Grimm Fairy Tales.
(40) Kuhn, By Searching
(41) Girard, The Scapegoat
(42) Goforth, Goforth of China
(43) Herbert, Complete English Poems
(44)  Hopkins (poems)
(45) Hugo, Les Miserables
(46)  Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
(47) Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling
(48) Julian, Revelations of Divine Love
(49) Justin, Dialogue With Trypho
(50) Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
(51) Legge, James: The Religions of China: Confucianism and Taoism Described and Compared with Christianity
(52) Lewis, Mere Christianity
(53) . . .  Abolition of Man
(54)  . . .  Four Loves
(55) . . . , Till We Have Faces
(56) . . . , Chronicles of Narnia
(57) . . . , Surprised by Joy
(58) . . . , Screwtape Letters
(59) Lin Yutang, From Pagan to Christian
(60) Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration
(61) Macdonald, Phantastes
(62) Mangalwadi, Book of the Millennia
(63) Milton, Paradise Lost
(64) Murphy, The Owl, The Raven, and the Dove: The Religious Meaning of the Grimm's Magic Fairy Tales
(65) Newman, Apologia
(66) Origen, Contra Celsus
(67) Otto, Idea of the Holy
(68)  Packer, Knowing God
(69) Paley, A View of the Evidences of Christianity
(70) Pascal, Pensees
(71) Peck, The People of the Lie
(72) Percy, Lost in the Cosmos
(73)  Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief
(74) Ricci, The Truth about the Lord of Heaven
(75) Richardson, Peace Child
(76) . . . , Eternity in Their Hearts
(77) . . . , Lords of the Earth
(78) Ritchie, Spirit of the Rainforest
(79) Satyavrata, God Has Not Left Himself Without a Witness
(80) Schaeffer, He is There and He is not Silent
(81) Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Ivanovich
(82) . . . , Gulag Archipelago (I regard The First Circle as his greatest novel, but it contains little Christian content . . . maybe at the end.)
(83) Stark, For the Glory of God
(84) . . . , Discovery of God 
(85)   Stott, The Cross of Christ
(86) Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin
(87) Ten Boom, The Hiding Place
(88) Tolkien, Lord of the Rings.
(89) Tolstoy, Death of Ivan Ivanov (War and Peace and Anna Karenina are greater, but less Christian)
(90) Tozer, The Pursuit of Holiness
(91) Underhill, Mysticism
(92)  Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life
(93)  Weil, The Need for Roots
(94)  Wesley, Journal
(95)  Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity
(96)  Williams, Descent of the Dove
(97) Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (or the series)
(98) Wurmbrand, In God's Underground
(99) Yuan, 神州 (China's Confession)

(100) Silence?  Tristam Shandy?  Wrinkle in Time?  You choose.


steve said...

So Lewis's Space Trilogy didn't make the cut. Not even Perelandra :-(

Ken Abbott said...

Calvin's Institutes? Luther's Bondage of the Will or Freedom of the Christian? A Kempis Imitation of Christ? Practically anything by Owen? Edwards Freedom of the Will?

David B Marshall said...

Steve: Lewis already has more books on the list than anyone. (Except for God, if you count separately. :- )) I was tempted to add the second volume of his letters, or his "OH HELL." Perelandra is a beauty, though.

David B Marshall said...

Ken: Imitation should indeed be on there. I haven't read enough of Institutes to judge -- though maybe I should accept the vote of the world's Presbyterians, since some of them are family. I don't know the latter two.

Ken Abbott said...

Calvin's Institutes are widely regarded as one of the most important works of Christian theology; even the Encyclopedia Brittanica includes it in the Great Books collection, not that such is necessarily a positive endorsement. "The Bondage of the Will" is probably Luther's best and most famous theological work; "The Freedom of the Christian" is where he sets out his thinking on the theology of the cross. And Jonathan Edwards, widely regarded as America's best native theologian, wrote his classic examination of the nature of free will; one should include his "Religious Affections" on any top 100 list as well.

I gather yours was more of a subjective list. There's a lot on it I would consider second-tier work, no offense intended.

David B Marshall said...

No offense taken. Calvin is an excellent writer, though I find predestination and "spider hanging over the fire" shtick off-putting in the extreme -- I didn't have my Chinese students read the latter though it was in their textbook, for fear of permanently putting them off the Christian faith, frankly. I don't think that captures the character of Christ.

Luther has never struck me as a profound thinker, though perhaps I should the book you mention first.

Now take all the shots at my selections you like. You might persuade me.

Lydia McGrew said...

Can't believe I'd never read _God's Smuggler_. (If you don't count a comic book version read as a child. Literally. They made a comic book of it.) Thanks for reminding me of it. I've now rectified the omission. What a humbling book.