Recommended Classics

” We all…need…to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries  blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading the old books.” - C. S. Lewis

 

On the Incarnation, by Athanasius, with Preface by C. S. Lewis

By any standard, this is a classic of Christian theology. Composed by St. Athanasius in the fourth century, it expounds with simplicity the theological vision defended at the councils of Nicaea and Constantinople. . . one of the few “must read” books. . .

 


A Practical View of Christianity, by William Wilberforce

Wilberforce’s classic work, A Practical View of Christianity, is concerned with convincing those who call themselves Christians to pursue “the real nature and principles of the religion which they profess.” Christianity is not a mere morality, to be held in private. Christianity is revelation from God, bringing new rights and correspondent duties. It is an entire way of life that requires diligence and study and that should affect every aspect of the Christian’s public and private life.

This addition to the Hendrickson Christian Classics series has been completely retypeset. An index, explanatory notes, scripture references, translations of Latin phrases, bibliographic information, and other helps ensure that this work will be as valuable to today’s reader as it was to those readers who made A Practical View of Christianity a bestseller for fifty years.

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The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” With these words, in The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave powerful voice to the millions of Christians who believe personal sacrifice is an essential component of faith. Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor and theologian, was an exemplar of sacrificial faith: he opposed the Nazis from the first and was eventually imprisoned in Buchenwald and hung by the Gestapo in 1945. The Cost of Discipleship, first published in German in 1937, was Bonhoeffer’s answer to the questions, “What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us to-day?” Bonhoeffer’s answers are rooted in Lutheran grace and derived from Christian scripture (almost a third of the book consists of an extended meditation on the Sermon on the Mount). The book builds to a stunning conclusion: its closing chapter, “The Image of Christ,” describes the believer’s spiritual life as participation in Christ’s incarnation, with a rare and epigrammatic confidence: “Through fellowship and communion with the incarnate Lord,” Bonhoeffer writes, “we recover our true humanity, and at the same time we are delivered from that individualism which is the consequence of sin, and retrieve our solidarity with the whole human race.”

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The Confessions of St. Augustine

Augustine’s Confessions is arguably the first, and unequivocally the most influential, religious autobiography in the Christian tradition. Augustine (who was a hard-core hedonist before his sudden conversion) writes about faith with the reckless abandon of a lover; his descriptions of friendship are so beautiful they’ll bring tears to your eyes; and his tributes to his mother, Monica, cast eternally fresh light on the unofficial authority of women in the early Church. – Michael Joseph Gross

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Audio Book, unabridged:

 

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Pensees and Other Writings, by Blaise Pascal

For much of his life, Pascal (1623-62) worked on a magnum opus which was never published in the form the philosopher intended. Instead, Pascal left a mass of fragments, some of them meant as notes for the Apologie. These became known as the Pensees, and they occupy a crucial place in Western philosophy and religious writing. This translation is the only one based on the Pensees as Pascal left them. It includes the principal dossiers classified by Pascal, as well as the essential portion of his important Writings on Grace.

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The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas Kempis

This classic has drawn thousands of readers down the ages, including Henry VIII’s chancellor Thomas More, John Wesley, Irish patriot Daniel O’Connell and St Ignatius of Loyola, who reputedly would offer the book as a gift to acquaintances. Not surprisingly for such a timeless, readable and profound work, it still has many fans. The author, born in Germany and later a monk at Mount St Agnes, Zwolle, made a copy of the Bible as well as writing three other devotional works. He died in 1471. This book is remarkably contemporary in translation, losing none of its simplicity and profoundity. In a chapter on ‘despising the world’s honours’, for example, ‘God’ advises: ‘My son, don’t feel down in the dumps when you see others being promoted … raise your heart to me in heaven and the disdain the world shows you will no longer grieve you.’

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The New Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan, modern version by Judith E.Markham

Makes the richness of Bunyan’s work readily accessible to readers of all ages and backgrounds. Discover new truths that will enlighten and magnify your views of this encouraging classic.

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Journal of John Wesley

Spanning some fifty-five years, John Wesley’s voluminous Journal records the daily tribulations experienced in traveling the length and breadth of the British Isles in the 18th century. These selections present an engrossing portrait of Wesley during the course of his travels and evangelical activities, illuminating the preacher’s views and opinions on a host of contemporary matters. Begun as a public vindication of his early spiritual and pastoral work in Oxford and America, Wesley’s journal became a means of keeping far-flung outposts of Methodism in touch with one another, a device for administering encouragement and rebukes, and a textbook of the experiential religion Wesley spent his life proclaiming. Wesley’s eclectic interests and passion for rational analysis also make the Journal a rich source for any reader interested in observing the conditions and values of Augustan society–particularly those of the lower classes–through the eyes of a well-educated and intelligent gentleman of the time.

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Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis

The late Lewis, Oxford professor, scholar, author, and Christian apologist, presents the listener with a case for orthodox Christianity. This is definitely not the shouting, stomping, sweating, spitting televangelist fare so often parodied; Lewis employs logical arguments that are eloquently expressed. He describes those doctrines that the four major denominations in Britain (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic) would have in common, e.g., original sin, the transcendent Creator God, and the divinity of Jesus as well as his atonement and bodily resurrection. Geoffrey Howard reads both works, and his performance is superb; he is clear and unhurried, giving just the right emphasis and/or inflection. The volume on the Blackstone edition is recorded at a higher level than HarperAudio’s. Otherwise there were no perceived differences in the recordings. If your institution can afford it, the Blackstone production would be preferred because of its sturdy case and the announcement of side changes. Whether or not one agrees with Lewis’s arguments, it is a pleasure to hear such a skillful reading of an eloquent work.

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Miracles by C. S. Lewis

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