Looking for a great Christian book that engages your mind and heart? There are so many options now days. Too many really. You’ve probably read many of the Christian classics: Mere Christianity, Pilgrim’s Progress, Basic Christianity, Knowing God, and the list could go on for miles.
My hope in this post is to expose you to some awesome Christian books that engage your mind and heart but that you’ve probably never read.
This list represents authors from a wide theological spectrum. I agree with the majority of what each book here talks about, but I certainly don’t agree with everything each one of these books says. But even in disagreeing our hearts and minds are engaged, sometimes even more so than we just read things we already know and believe.
Each one of these books will make you think, help your walk with God, and engage your heart and mind in ways many books simply don’t do.
So here we go!
(This list is not in any particular order.)
#1: Spiritual Authority, by Watchman Nee
Summary: Watchman Nee is best known for his classic book called, “The Normal Christian Life.” If you’ve never read it, I recommend starting with it first. Spiritual Authority is divided into two main parts with about ten chapters in each section. Nee writes in short bursts, using many subheadings and quick chapters, which helps to keep this book moving. Section one focuses on God’s authority and man’s submission, while section two gives insightful clarity on what a Christian’s approach to delegated authority should look like. The main theme of the book is that God deserve total submission and obedience, while delegated authorities deserve total submission but only relative obedience.
Subjection to authority is not being subject to a person, but being subject to the anointing which is on that person, the anointing which came to him when God ordained him to be an authority.”
“A person who is filled with Christ must be a person who is filled with obedience.”
“Submission is a matter of attitude, while obedience is a matter of conduct.”
“When delegated authority and direct authority (God himself) are in conflict, one can render submission but not obedience to the delegated authority.”
“Unless we are completely broken by the Lord we are not qualified to be God’s delegated authority.”
“The moment you justify yourself before a person, he becomes your judge.”
“The more one knows God, the less he is careless.”
#2: Nine Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life, by Dr. Henry Cloud
Summary: Henry Cloud is best known for his book, “Boundaries.” Cloud is a Christian psychologist who weaves between Christian principles and physiological principles. This book is definitely Bible light as it was certainly written for the Christian and secular market. But Cloud does a good job of using psychology in a way that doesn’t contradict God’s word.
In this book, he basically describes nine qualities successful people have. What makes this book engaging to the heart and mind is that each point is surprising, not just the same old stuff you’ve heard a million times. This seems like a classic self-improvement book at first glance, but as you read it you’ll be amazed at how insightful and thought provoking it really is.
The earth and how it works is not random. There is an order to the ways that things work. Life was created with laws that govern how it works. There are laws that govern success just as gravity governs falling. If we can learn to follow these laws, we can live better lives.”
“Chasing fantasies in your heart may be a way of avoiding the real treasures that are there.”
“Avoidance always prolongs pain, in the end.”
“Winners take the cards they are dealt and play them well.”
“If you’ve been hurt, for example, by a certain woman, do you hate all women? Of if by a man, do you hate all men? Make that anger and hurt objective to the one person who hurt you and do not generalize.”
“When someone’s locus of control is outside themselves, they never know where they are heading in life.”
#3: God’s Pursuit of Man (The Divine Conquest), by A.W. Tozer
Summary: If you read Christian non-fiction, you probably know A.W. Tozer. His two most popular books are “The Pursuit of God” and “Knowledge of the Holy.” If you haven’t read Tozer before, I would start there first. God’s Pursuit of Man, which was formerly titled The Divine Conquest, is all about how God must conquer a man first before a man can actively obey God. The second half of the book talks about the process of being sanctified once God has conquered you. This book is a basically a prequel to the more popular The Pursuit of God.
Fundamentalism has stood aloof from the liberal in self-conscious superiority and has on its own part fallen into error, the error of textualism, which is simply orthodoxy without the Holy Ghost. Everywhere among conservatives we find persons who are Bible-taught but not Spirit-taught. They conceive truth to be something which they can grasp with the mind.”
“A doctrine has practical value only as far as it is prominent in our thoughts and makes a difference in our lives.”
“To the reverent question, ‘What is God like?’ a proper response will always be, ‘He is like Christ.’”
“All of the ‘of God’ expressions in the Bible must be understood to mean not what God has but what God is in His undivided and indivisible unity.”
“I think there can be no doubt that the need above all other needs in the Church of God at this moment is the power of the Holy Spirit.”
“One of the most telling blows which the enemy struck at the life of the Church was to create in her a fear of the Holy Spirit.”
“It is so much easier to blur the lines of separation and so offend no one.”
#4: Addiction and Grace, by Gerald May, M.D.
Summary: If you are someone who enjoys science and theology, you will really enjoy this book. While it might seem that you would only read this book if you had an addiction problem, May explains that all humans have addictions in some form or other. He bounces back and forth between biological reason and spiritual reasons for why addictions of all sizes form, while also talking about how we can break free from all sin that so easily entangles us. May emphasizes the need for personal choice in true love, thus addiction is one of the greatest enemies of love because it erodes our freedom.
Addiction also makes idolators of us all, because it forces us to worship these objects of attachment, thereby preventing us from truly, freely loving God and one another. Addiction breeds willfulness within us, yet, again, paradoxically, it erodes our free will and eats away at our dignity. . . It is the absolute enemy of human freedom, the antipathy of love. Yet, in still another paradox, our addictions can lead us to a deep appreciation for grace. They can bring us to our knees.”
“Because of multisystem involvement, breaking an addiction usually requires changes in many different areas of life.”
“Sadly, the brain never completely forgets what is has learned. . . .Years after a major addiction has been conquered, the smallest association, the tiniest taste, can fire up old cellular patterns once again. . . . From a spiritual perspective, it means that no matter how much grace God has blessed us with, we forever remain dependent upon its continuing flow.”
“It is important to note that the spiritual growth process involves far more relinquishment than acquisition.”
“The measure of faith, then, is the degree to which one is really willing to risk the truth of grace.”
#5: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, by Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor
Summary: Of all the books on this list, this book is probably the most classic and well known. This recounts the amazing life of Hudson Taylor while also highlighting the spiritual practices and truths which made this man so useful to the Kingdom of God. Taylor had a passion to preach the gospel to unreached people in China. You’ll be inspired by the faith of Taylor, as he trusted God to fund his ministry, never asking anyone for money and yet always having enough. This is a great story that will engage your heart and mind and motivate you to pray about everything like Taylor did.
For a great, God-given love has come to him, and there was no disguising its implications.”
“The secret faith that is ready for emergencies is the quiet, practical dependence upon God day by day which makes Him real to the believing heart.”
“Depend upon it, God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s supplies.”
“Instead of working late at night, he began to go to bed early, rising at 5am to give time to Bible study and prayer (often two hours) before the work of the day began.”
#6: The Four Loves, by C.S. Lewis
Summary: If you’re a C.S. Lewis junkie, you’ve probably read this book. If you’re a casual fan, you probably know Lewis for the Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, and the Screwtape Letters. In The Four Loves, Lewis gives a brilliant introspective look at the different types of natural loves humans exhibit. The first three sections (Affection, Friendship, and Eros) are basically a lead up for the final section on Charity. Throughout the book Lewis engages your heart and mind by reflecting on the need for God’s grace to empower all types of love if they are to be true forms of love at all.
Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . . .”
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
“The mark of Friendship is not that help will be given when the pinch comes (of course it will) but that, having been given, it makes no difference at all.”
“People who bore one another should meet seldom; people who interest one another, often.”
“Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.”
“In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.”
#7: The Church At the End of the 20th Century, by Francis Schaeffer.
Summary: Written in 1970, Schaeffer speaks from the perspective of someone who just lived through the 1960’s and was watching the effects of postmodernism begin to take place. His main points revolve around the dangers of abandoning absolute truth as a society. What makes this book so intriguing is that his predictions of where postmodernism would lead America can now be seen in our day and age.
For example, he saw how Americans were beginning to rely on the intellectual “elites.” Rather than make decisions for ourselves, American’s now rely on experts. The problem with is that this type of control can be so easily manipulated. This book engages the heart and mind because Schaeffer paints the problem so clearly and offers solutions rooted in Christ and the unchanging truth of God.
One of the greatest injustices we do to our young people is to ask them to be conservative. Christianity is not conservative, but revolutionary.”
“They are cut off from any categories of absolute right and wrong and thus they are left with totally situational ethics. That is all. As you listen to him, the modern theologian is only saying what the surrounding consensus is saying, but in theological terms. This is no help here.”
“The problem is that you cannot trust the scientist just because he wears a white coat. It is as simple as that. Inside the coat he is still a man. And he is still a fallen man.”
“Affluence and personal peace at any prices as the controlling factors of life are as ugly as anything could be.”
“I do not believe that man without absolutes, without the certainty that gave birth to modern science in the first place, will continue to maintain a high sense of objectivity.”
#8: Revival, by Martin-Loyd Jones
Summary: This book engages the heart because Jones speaks as an evangelist preacher who desperately wants to see revival. But it also engages the mind because Jones is an awesome theologian and pastor. This book talks about the need for revival, the possibility of revival, and the biblical requirements for true revival to take place. It can be a thick read to some, but if you work in ministry, I highly recommend it. Or if you just want to learn about the glory of God and the centrality of Christ in all things, this book is a must read.
The concealing, and the neglect of certain truths, and certain aspects of Christian truth, has always been the chief characteristic of every period of declension in the long history of the Church.”
“The Bible from beginning to end makes it perfectly plain and clear that God can only be approached in certain ways, and on certain conditions.”
“Revival, above everything else, is a glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is the restoration of him to the center of the life of the Church.”
“You start with a church, and then it spreads outwards.”
“The mere playing on the emotions is never right. . . The emotions are to be approached through the understanding, through the mind, by truth.”