If you haven’t already seen, our church library has a new display with a list of the books that your pastoral staff considers “must reads” in your Christian walk. You can see Pastor Monty’s Recommended Reading on this blog for some of the titles, but the church library’s list also contains recommendations from the other pastors. Each item on the list is stocked in the church library. Take the opportunity to use that resource!
My Current Reads
I often get asked what I am currently reading. Since I am taking seminary classes my reading time is often filled with textbooks and academic papers. But recently I have been able to read two very good books on church history.
For a quick overview
The first was Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church. This provides brief biographies and some original writings from six major church fathers from 2nd century through the Middle Ages. My two favorites were Basil of Caesarea and the Patrick and his work in Ireland. The book is only about 150 pages and each chapter is fairly stand-alone. I would definitely recommend it for anyone seeking to learn about early men of faith.
For a deeper dive
The second is a much heftier, yet extremely well-written book entitled The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. Author Justo Gonzalez is a fabulous writer and clearly explains some fairly complex topics. This book provides basic biographies, descriptions of political and historical settings, theological debates in each century, and also shows how each of those issues have lead to where we are currently.
For example, one of the first issues dealt with in the church was accusations that Christians were cannibals, eating the flesh and drinking the blood of their people. Well, we know that as the symbolic act of communion/Lord’s Supper/Eucharist. But that issue was a huge problem in the early church. This book dives into all kinds of things and more. Highly recommended.
Understanding how the church has developed and adapted to the challenges over these centuries has been a huge encouragement to me. But whatever your interest, I would encourage you to stop by the library and pick out some of the great books from the new list of pastors’ picks!