Growing with Nonfiction

Hundreds of Christian books come off the printing press every year. Some prove themselves to be more useful than others. The most useful will help people grow in Christ for years to come. Some blessed few endure the test of time and become classics that benefit Christians for centuries

Classics

One of the most prolific early Christian writers was Augustine of Hippo. His Confessions detail his journey from unbelief to faith. In it, he pretends no virtues and hides no vices, including how God rescued him from a long struggle with lust. If God can take someone as deep in sexual immorality as Augustine and turn him into a very important bishop, be encouraged that God can use anyone. Augustine also details his believing mother’s 30 years of prayer for her son’s salvation. It’s his way of telling you not to give up.

Several centuries later, the first female writer in the English language, Julian of Norwich, had intense visions of Christ and recorded them in Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love. She writes much on having the same compassion for the lost that Christ has. Julian spent many days of her life in her room praying. She is honored by Anglicans, Catholics, and Evangelical Lutherans of America.

Next consider the works of Blaise Pascal, mathematician and theologian. Even though he first became known for his intellectual writings, he endures still for his writings on the God-man relationship. His Pensees (“thoughts”) represent his life’s work and are both a defense of Christianity and devotional in nature. In it, he contemplates the paradoxes of life such as how the heart can know what the mind cannot.

If you ask anyone alive today to name the five greatest Christian thinkers of the 20th century, almost every list will include C.S. Lewis. Another writer known for his deep, theological writings, he also writes on topics such as Christian character. I found myself under heavy conviction from the Holy Spirit while reading the last chapters of Mere Christianity.

Contemporary

While we should never ignore the contributions of earlier writers, contemporary writers can bless you too. Look for Dallas Willard’s Renovation of the Heart or Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline. Those titles are self explanatory.

Beth Moore also writes straight from God’s heart in books such as Praying God’s Word Day by Day; Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy; and Believing God. In Daniel, she uses the four Hebrew captives to show modern believers how to live the God centered life in the middle of a culture that is trying to drag them down.

For a good selection of devotional writings from Christians through the ages, please see Devotional Classics edited by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith. They collect the reflections of Christians everywhere on a variety of spiritual topics. And you can use it to find authors that speak to you.

Whether you choose a book from this list or not, find one for your growth. Then give it read, and grow in God.

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About frankluke

Professionally: pastor, programmer, writer. Personally: husband, father.
This entry was posted in Christian History, Christianity, nonfiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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