Monday, October 09, 2006

Top 50 Christian Books

Christianity Today have published a list of their believed top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals. A number of people have expressed confusion and scepticism about the number 1 result, Prayer: Conversing with God, by Rosalind Rinker. I definitely hadn't previously heard of it, and the view of prayer in the 1950s portrayed by Christianity Today doesn't fit with the view I have been given by my elders, and have read of in other books (maybe the view described is simply that of the US). Some have suggested however that CT was looking to make a point about prayer.

Another surprise in my opinion is the choice of the Living Bible at number 6. I don't disagree with it's inclusion, merely with it's description as the first in a new wave of modern English translations. Whilst it does not cover the whole Bible, J.B. Phillips' New Testament in Modern English was published earlier and was well-received and well-read on both sides of the atlantic. Also, whilst the LT may have influenced it, it seems to me that Eugene Peterson's The Message has made the Bible accessible to a new generation of evangelicals. Plus, the Living Bible talked of Paul going into a cave to "use the bathroom".

ThinkChristian ask readers for the top ten books that have influenced them. I would say:

The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen
A Way Through the Wilderness, Jamie Buckingham
Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, Eugene Peterson
The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard
Desiring God, John Piper
Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard
Escape From Reason, Francis Schaeffer
Leap Over a Wall: Earthly Spirituality for Everyday Christians, Eugene Peterson
The Pleasures of God, John Piper
The God You can Know, Dan Dehaan


At 6:41 AM, Blogger Ben said...

Interesting link and list, been thinking about this all week.

A few that would make my list are:

The Pursuit of God - AW Tozer
Streams of Living Water - Richard Foster
The Message - Eugene Peterson
The Divine Conspiracy - Dallas Willard
The Prodigal Project - Mike Riddell et al
Chrisianarchy - Dave Andrews
The Return of the Prodigal Son - Henri Nouwen
A New Kind of Christian - Brian Maclaren

and a couple that aren't crispie but have just as much influence on my worldview...

No Logo - Naomi Klein
Trickster Makes this World - Lewis Hyde

I wonder though if we're at the zenith of the importance of books for faith. It strikes me as a particularly modern and evangelical thing, relying as it does on the mass publishing and love for the written word.

It would not be an altogether bad thing if Christian Books were to decrease in influence, they can lead to a distinctly individualized and literature based approach to discipleship. What other forms are the that could be more image, voice or experience based.

Not to say books aren't important, I'm sure they are, but I suspect (and hope) that in the future people, and faith movements will be shaped as much by art, music, film, blogs, etc. Maybe he medium doesn't matter that much, just that it is done in community.

Hmm long comment, sorry Si. Great to have you blogging so much again btw.


Post a Comment

<< Home