The Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals
People and movements can be defined by the books they read and remember.
The time it takes to read and digest a book requires us to engage someone else's ideas with more seriousness than almost any other activity. So it is with some trepidation that we present this list.
These are books that have shaped evangelicalism as we see it todaynot an evangelicalism we wish and hope for. Books that have been published since World War IInot every book in the history of Christianity. Books that over the last 50 years have altered the way American evangelicals pray, gather, talk, and reach outnot books that merely entertained.We asked dozens of evangelical leaders for their suggestions, and they sent in their nominations. Then we vigorously debated as a staff as we ranked the 50 books. (We're still debating.)
Some argued that we should categorize the bookse.g., books that have shaped our prayer, books that have shaped our social action, books that have shaped our church life, and so forth. But that's the easy way out. It's mildly interesting to ponder whether C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity or Francis Schaeffer's Escape from Reason influenced evangelical apologetics more. It's much more difficult to decide whether Left Behind or All We're Meant to Be or Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger has shaped our movement more. Thus the interoffice debates.
In a letter with his nominations, Notre Dame historian Mark A. Noll wrote that the list "strikes me as an imposing task, because there are so many good and important books, but also because it is so hard to figure out who 'we' are." True. Our experiment is one stab at an answer to this confounding question.
We look forward to the disagreement that will come our way. Tell us which books should not be on the list and which we should have included. Make your comments and suggestions by emailing us.
50.Revivalism and Social Reform
Timothy L. Smith
The new evangelicals were rightly wary of the liberal "social gospel." Yet they knew Jesus called them to serve the oppressed. Historian Timothy L. Smith destroyed the myth of the "heavenly minded" evangelical and helped us remember our history of personal and social holiness.
49.Knowledge of the Holy
A. W. Tozer
The Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor and mystic invited us behind the curtain and into God's presence.
48.The Hiding Place
Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill
The staple conundrum of late-night ethics discussions in Christian college dormsDo you lie if the Nazis knock on your door asking for the Jews you are hiding?was a question ten Boom lived.
47.The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
F. F. Bruce
Yes, they are. And it took F. F. Bruce only 120 tiny pages to show it.
46.Out of the Saltshaker and into the World
Rebecca Manley Pippert
"Christians and non-Christians have something in common," author Rebecca Pippert noted. "We're both uptight about evangelism." Out of the Saltshaker helped generations of fearful students (and other would-be evangelists) to loosen up.
45.The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind
Mark A. Noll
Few people have accused evangelicalism of being an intellectual movementbut now we feel bad about it, at least.
44.The Gospel of the Kingdom
George Eldon Ladd
Ladd's work called a generation of evangelicals to a higher level of scholarship, and his "already-but-not yet" take on God's kingdom influenced charismatic theologians and cessationists alike.
The who, where, what, why, when, and how many of unreached peoples.