Added 29 June 2007. Last updated 2 September 2008: added Francis Schaeffer.
CHRISTIAN BOOKS AND WRITERS
This page is given over to books with a specifically Christian theme, or concerning the Christian faith. I should say at the outset that this will not be a large section, because although I have read a good many Christian books over the years many by now will have disappeared from the shelves, and I no longer purchase the numbers that I once used to. Furthermore many people on other parts of the Web have covered the subject in far more depth than I can hope to, and if you want an opinion on a particular book you can always look on Amazon. Furthermore I am not a trained theologian so am not completely qualified to pass judgement on the finer issues of doctrine. Finally, this is still primarily a herpetological site!
I do however have a couple of beliefs:
I am also wary of a lot of books that fulminate against evolution, not because I think evolution is a sacred cow (there should be no sacred cows in science) but because firstly the scientific knowledge contained in them often appears scanty, and secondly polemics are no substitute for truth. It is perfectly in order for Christians to write critically of evolution, or at least the evolutionism of a few self-appointed spokesmen, but they should be truthful in doing so and not stoop to devious tactics, which only infuriates those who know the true state of affairs and who are likely to see such methods as proof that the Christian writer can't handle the truth.
- I share with C S Lewis the conviction that one should regularly read old classics. This is not from a desire to live in some idealised past, but simply because some authors and works have stood the test of time, whereas inevitably it is difficult to see in fifty years where some contemporary work will still be standing. People today are for example still reading Athanasius, Augustine, Pascal and Calvin, whereas supposedly seminal books from the Sixties such as Harvey Cox's The Secular City or material from the "Death of God" movement are now very thin on the ground (I found my copy of Cox in a secondhand bookshop in the paperback section).
- Christian books, however edifying and good, should not be a substitute in the Christian life for the reading of the Bible, which is after all the source book of the Christian faith. A good knowledge of the Scriptures will also guard the reader from errors and exaggerations (however well-meaning) that are sometimes found in some Christian work, whether serious theological tomes or the mass-market paperbacks. A commentary or similar book can however help the reader with those parts of the Bible which they find difficult.
Reviews will be added to this page over a period of time.
Francis Schaeffer, an overview of life and works
Propadeutic has a very fine website that includes a Christian authors database (click on the "Realms of Faith" section if you hit the home page when you get there). He is not currently updating it so I suggest you visit it while it is still there!
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