Top 20 Christian Classics
I decided I couldn’t do a top 10 all time list. There are too many good books out there to reduce it to 10. So, I am going to do the top 10 in several categories. I’ll start with the top 10 Christian classics - ok, the top 20! I won’t list them in any particular order - these are all worthy reads. Even expanding it to the top 20, I left many great booksmoff the list. However, these are all books that impacted me personally in one way or another. Here it is:
1. Let Go, Fenelon. This one is truly number one on my list. I have read this book more than any other book but the Bible. It has changed my life. No one in the history of the church, who has written, has understood death to self like Fenelon. It is a vitally important topic because Jesus said unless we die we cannot live. I’ve read it over 20 times. When I find myself struggling to die to self, I pick up Fenelon’s Let Go and he calls me to die. There is no peace without surrender. There is no life without death. Every time I find myself miserable, I am making it too much about me and when I die to self I find the fullness of God once again. Let Go. Bonus: Fenelon’s book The Seeking Heart is a worthy read too.
2. Joy Unspeakable, Martyn Lloyd Jones. This is the best book on the filling of the Spirit that I have ever read and there isn’t a close second. I think the filling of the Spirit is critically important to revival. It’s thick; it’s theological; it’s meaty; it’s Biblically accurate and it is inspirational. Worth the read.
3. Humility, Andrew Murray. Andrew Murray is a classic devotional writer. He has a number of books worth reading. I’ve read this one many times. The first time I read it, I read much of it on my knees - humbling myself before God. Bonus: two other worthy books by Andrew Murray - Waiting on God and Divine Healing. Good stuff.
4. Power from on High, Charles Finney. Finney was the key human figure in the Second Great Awakening. He has some outdated applications, but if you can get past that, he has some universal principles of revival that are worth their weight in gold. He lived it. His Autobiography, and Lectures on Revival have also inspired me.
5. Tramp for the Lord, Corrie Ten Boom. I think Corrie ten Boom life, and this book, may be the best example of what a revived life looks like that I know. She lived out a Spirit filled, Kingdom lifestyle. It is beautiful to behold. I’ve read it often. Bonus: The Hiding Place - a great read about the life of her family as they helped the Jews and landed in a concentration camp for their efforts.
6. The Loveliness of Christ, Samuel Rutherford. It is a short, poetic read that inspires my heart to love Jesus more. So good.
7. Practice the Presence or God, Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence learned to be in God’s presence in the sanctuary and be in God’s presence in the kitchen peeling potatoes. I wish I lived with such attentiveness to his presence all the time. Brother Lawrence inspires me. Frank Laubach wrote Letters by a Modern Mystic - and it gives a Modern take on this ancient practice - its a great read too.
8. The Journal of John Wesley, John Wesley. Wesley was the key human player in the First Great Awakening. I love studying revival, and this is a first hand account of one of the greatest revivalist of all time.
9. The Autobiography of George Muller. No one who has written in the history of the church understands faith like Muller. His autobiography is great. His book, Answers to Prayer, is a shorter read of an account of the many miraculous answers to prayer he received. I have read it many times. The first time I read it I wept because I was struck with just how anemic my faith really was, but it inspired me to develop deeper faith.
10. Prayer and Praying Men, E.M. Bounds. E.M. Bounds wrote a host of books on prayer. They are all worth reading, but this one and Power through Prayer are probably my two favorites. I have read a lot of books on prayer over the years to inspire me to go deeper with God.
11. The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer. I have read a lot of Tozer books over the years - this one is probably my favorite. The first three chapters in particular are gold.
12. The Fourfold Gospel, A.B. Simpson. Simpson is the founder of my denomination, The Christian and Missionary Alliance. This book is an inspiring Christ-centered book. Simpson has radical faith - he really believed Jesus was the same yesterday, today and forever - not just in theory. And he believed Jesus would do the miracles he did yesterday again today. And his faith was rewarded. He inspires me.
13. Keeping the Heart, John Flavel. Flavel was a Puritan and this book is a solid Puritan contribution. It is all about the heart - above all else, the Proverb writer said, guard the heart - this book offers wisdom on that journey.
14. Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyon. This is an allegory of the Christian life - from a man who went deep with God. God used it at a key time in my life and I am forever grateful for the help Bunyon offered me in a critical season.
15. Continuous Revival, Norman Grubb. This book has essential principles for living a revived life. The author was a missionary in the Congo during a 100 year revival. Calvary Road, by Roy Hession, is along the same lines and written by someone who experienced the same revival. Great reads. They changed my life and taught me how to walk in the light with God and others.
16. Praying Hyde, Francis McGraw. I love John “Praying” Hyde. His life has inspired me; He was an American missionary to India who saw a great move of God. This book is a short biography of his inspirational life. It helped me pursue God; it fueled my longing for revival.
17. The Dark Night of the Soul, St John of the Cross. Brilliant. Not always easy to read, but brilliant. The dark night of the soul is not about pain, though people often refer to it in reference to suffering. It is about the absence of God - it is when God intentionally withdraws his presence and goes silent on us so that He can do a deeper work in us. John is a wise guide who can lead you through the darkness. I was so glad I read this book before I went through a dark night - it was invaluable to me.
18. The Life of St Anthony, Athanasius. This is the oldest book on the list. Anthony was the father of the Desert Fathers. His life was amazing and his story has much to offer to our spiritual journey. And the monks at my monastery loved that I had read it!
19. Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards. Another book of wisdom from another revivalist. Of course, my life calling is for revival and revivalist litter my list. He also wrote The Life of David Brainerd - which is another great read.
20. The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Jesus bids you come and die, Bonhoeffer says. True. And Bonhoeffer took up the challenge - not mere words, he lived the call.
Hinds Feet for High Places, Hannah Hurnard. I read this book in a time of suffering and God used it greatly in my life.
By My Spirit, Jonathan Goforth. Another missionary who saw a great move of God by the power of the Spirit. I read books like these to fuel my passion for revival, my passion for God, and to strengthen my resolve to pay the price for more of God and his Kingdom. This one did all of that for me.
Oh yeah, one last thing: you should really read the Bible - its a good book! The purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible; the purpose of reading the Bible is to encounter the living God. Reading had greatly impacted my spiritual journey! Read on!