The best of the best: the top 10 writings in Christian history
2000 years of church history and millions of Christian books. More than 70 Christian History scholars have picked the 25 best, to be explored in our next issue of Christian History magazine!
By Jennifer Woodruff Tait
In early December, Christian History magazine will release an issue on the top 25 writings in Christian history, packed with the stories behind famed books that have changed lives and comforted and challenged millions. Subscribe by Thursday, November 12, to make sure you get the issue here! Meanwhile, here’s a sneak preview of our top 10. Who will be number #1? Read on and see.…
#10: Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ. A little devotional book written for a small medieval religious community became the go-to reading of great Christians from Wesley to Bonhoeffer. Could it change your life too?
#9: Athanasius, On the Incarnation. Why did Jesus have to become a human being in order to save us? This 4th-century book is a classic explanation answering a question many still ask today.
#8: C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. It started as wartime radio talks that cheered a nation; it ended up as a best-selling book about basic Christian beliefs that brought thousands to Christ and continues to do so today.
#7: The Nicene Creed. 4th-century believers met to hammer out how Jesus could be both human and divine. Christians ever since have confessed the orthodox faith in the words of the creed they produced. My church does so every week!
#6: John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress. A Puritan pastor put the journey of the Christian life into story form. It became one of the most-loved Christian stories of all time. You owe it to yourself to read it if you have not already!
#5: Martin Luther, 95 Theses. A request for debate about problematic church practices turned into the spark that set off a church-dividing conflagration. As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Theses, the questions it raises are still debated.
#4: Augustine, City of God. How should Christians live in the world? As if it is not their eternal home, wrote one of Christianity’s most famous theologians. This 4th century book still has advice for modern life in secular culture.
#3: Calvin, Institutes. A pastor in Reformation Geneva sat down to explain Christian theology to his flock and colleagues, and emerged with a lengthy, systematic, and enduring statement of Protestant faith, read and followed by many Christians still today.
#2: Aquinas, Summa Theologiae. His family kidnapped him to keep him from following his chosen calling; his fellow-students thought him slow; but he produced a work that became the bedrock of Catholic theology and remains so in the 21st century.
#1: Augustine, Confessions. It may be the most famous story of a sinner finding Christ ever written.
Read the stories behind these giants and the works they produced, along with many many more in the next issue of Christian History magazine! Subscription to Christian History is free (donation requested). Sign up now!
(All images from Wikipedia, public domain.)