1. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. In the classic Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, the most important writer of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War Two from his three previous books The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality, Mere Christianity provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.
2. N. T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. Why is justice fair? Why are so many people pursuing spirituality? Why do we crave relationship? And why is beauty so beautiful? N. T. Wright argues that each of these questions takes us into the mystery of who God is and what he wants from us. For two thousand years Christianity has claimed to answer these mysteries, and this renowned biblical scholar and Anglican bishop shows that it still does today. Like C. S. Lewis did in his classic Mere Christianity, Wright makes the case for Christian faith from the ground up, assuming that the reader is starting from ground zero with no predisposition to and perhaps even some negativity toward religion in general and Christianity in particular. His goal is to describe Christianity in as simple and accessible, yet hopefully attractive and exciting, a way as possible, both to say to outsides ôYou might want to look at this further, and to say to insiders. You may not have quite understood this bit clearly yet. Biography: N. T. Wright, one of the world’s leading Bible scholars, is the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews, an Anglican bishop, and bestselling author.
3. Karl Barth, Dogmatics in Outline. Barth stands before us as the greatest theologian of the twentieth century, yet the massive corpus of work which he left behind, the multi-volume Church Dogmatics, can seem daunting and formidable to readers today. Fortunately his Dogmatics in Outline first published in English in 1949, contains in brilliantly concentrated form even in shorthand, the essential tenets of his thinking. Built around the assertions made in the Apostles Creed the book consists of a series of reflections on the foundation stones of Christian doctrine. Because Dogmatics in Outline derives from very particular circumstances namely the lectures Barth gave in war-shattered Germany in 1946, it has an urgency and a compassion which lend the text a powerful simplicity. Despite its brevity the book makes a tremendous impact, which in this new edition will now be felt by a fresh generation of readers.
4. Rowan Williams, Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief. What does it mean to believe in God? Can God possibly be almighty in the midst of so much evil and disaster? How am I to understand the meaning of Jesus Christ’s ministry and resurrection? To what purpose is the church called? And what does it really mean to follow Christ in today’s broken world? Tying together the answers to all of these questions and addressing perplexities such as the possibility of miracles and how to read the Bible, Rowan Williams demonstrates that each of the basic tenets of Christian faith flows from one fundamental belief: that God is completely worthy of our trust. With vast knowledge of Christian history and theology and characteristically elegant prose, Rowan Williams is a superb and compassionate guide through the richness and depth of Christian faith. Biography: Rowan Williams served as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012 and is now Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge. A Fellow of the British Academy and an internationally recognized theologian, he was previously Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford, Bishop of Monmouth, and Archbishop of Wales.
5. Diogenes Allen, Theology for a Troubled Believer. The reasons people are attracted to Christianity and its teachings are many and varied. In this book, Allen hopes “to supply more of the information (pieces of the puzzle) that are needed if a person is to make sense of the Christian understanding of God and our life in the universe.” More philosopher than theologian, Allen writes for “a troubled believer,” dealing with issues and questions that emerge during Christians’ daily lives and in the course of contemplating Christian faith. Biography: Diogenes Allen was the late Stuart Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey.
- N. T. Wright, After You Believe: Why Christain Character Matters. From the author of the acclaimed Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope comes a book that addresses the question that has plagued humans for centuries—what is our purpose? As Christians, what are we to do with that ambiguous time between baptism and the funeral? It’s easy to become preoccupied with who gets into heaven; the real challenge is how we are going to live in the here and now. Wright dispels the common misconception that Christian living is nothing more than a checklist of dos and don’ts. Nor is it a prescription to “follow your heart” wherever it may lead. Instead, After You Believe reveals the Bible’s call for a revolution—a transformation of character that takes us beyond our earthly pursuit of money, sex, and power into a virtuous state of living that allows us to reflect God and live more worshipful, fulfilling lives. We are all spiritual seekers, intuitively knowing there is more to life than we suspect. This is a book for anyone who is hoping there is something more while we’re here on Earth. There is. We are being called to join the revolution, and Wright insightfully encourages readers to find new purpose and clarity by taking us on an eye-opening journey through key biblical passages that promise to radically alter the work of the church and the direction of our lives.
- Rowan Williams, Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer. In this simple, beautifully written book Rowan Williams explores four essential components of the Christian life: baptism, Bible, Eucharist, and prayer. Despite huge differences in Christian thinking and practice both today and in past centuries, he says, these four basic elements have remained constant and indispensable for the majority of those who call themselves Christians. In accessible, pastoral terms Williams discusses the meaning and practice of baptism, the Bible, the Eucharist, and prayer, inviting readers to really think through the Christian faith and how to live it out.
- Robert W. Jenson, A Theology in Outline: Can These Bones Live? A Theology in Outline: Can These Bones Live? began with an undergraduate course taught by Robert W. Jenson at Princeton University in the spring of 2008. Based on a series of twenty-three course lectures, it offers a concise and accessible overview of Christian theology while retaining the atmosphere of Jenson’s classroom. Much as does Jenson’s Systematic Theology, A Theology in Outline treats a standard sequence of doctrines in Christian theology — God, Trinity, creation, humanity, sin, salvation, church, among others. However, its organizing principle and leitmotiv are less traditional. Reflecting his recent interest in theological interpretation of scripture, Jenson frames the whole of Christian theology as a response to the question posed to the prophet Ezekiel: “Son of man, can these bones live?” For Jenson, to ask this question is to ask whether Christian theology itself is a pile of dead bones. Can the story that God lives with his people be told today? From first to last the chapters of this book proceed under the impelling pressure of this question. They thus comprise a single sequence of illustrative conversations for the purpose of introducing beginners to Christian theology. Biography: Robert W. Jenson is Emeritus Senior Scholar for Research at the Center for Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey. He has taught Christian theology at Luther Seminary, Gettysburg Seminary, St. Olaf College, Oxford University, and Princeton University.