Top Ten Christian Novels
There are few things more satisfying than settling in with a good book. Sometimes you find one that's just perfect-that speaks to something in you that you can identify with. Sometimes the world you're reading about is completely different than your own, but you enjoy the escape. The chance to inhabit someone else's world for awhile. When you're reading a Christian novel, oftentimes you can do both. Great Christian authors can help us to recognize ourselves in their characters struggles and triumphs, while also teaching us that, though people's lives can be as different as night and day, we all want to reach the same place in the end. Read on for those novels that may just help you find your way a little closer to home.
1. Title: The Chronicles of Narnia-The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Author: C.S. Lewis
This is the book that started it all for me. I had heard that this was considered Christian literature but originally picked it up simply for a good story. By the end, I found myself feeling as if I'd learned something about the true character of Jesus, as reflected by Aslan. I saw his kindness and his mercy but most loved the reminder that, like Aslan, our Savior is "not a tame Lion."
2. Title: The Shack
Author: William Paul Young
I have read controversial comments about this novel in the past. Some question the way Young portrays "PAPA GOD" and the Trinity. Everyone has to come to God in their own way but I cannot find issue with a book that helps others to know God as compassionate and desiring of a relationship with His creation. I read this book in one day and was fascinated by the authors portrayal of a grief-stricken father being allowed to question God about all the things we all find ourselves wondering, including why a merciful Father does not stop bad things from happening.
3. Title: Paradise Lost
Author: John Milton
Though written and revised in the 1600's, this poem/novel still astounds today with its epic battles between Good vs. Evil, and the eventual and inevitable victory of God and his son, the Messiah. Though it proved to be tedious reading when assigned to me as a high school student, I found myself enraptured by it while reading it as an adult Christian. One cannot help but be pumped up by reading of the warrior Jesus defeating in battle those who would attack his Kingdom and his beloved children.
4. Title: The Last Sin Eater
Author: Francine Rivers
This is a sweeping, at times heart-wrenching, novel about the absolution of sin, and the ways tragedy can transform a community. The brave 10 year old heroine Cadi, is at the center of it all, seeking to resolve herself from the guilt of a loss for which she blames herself. She sets out to find the Sin-Eater, hoping, he alone, can grant her solace and save her from the shame of an event she believes has unraveled her family. Along the way, she, and those closest to her learn the true meaning of granting forgiveness to ourselves, and, more importantly, accepting it from God.
5. Title: The Screwtape Letters
Author: C.S. Lewis
Following a return to Christianity after many years as an atheist, C.S. Lewis made it his life's work to help unravel the mysteries that prevented others from knowing God. He does so in the Narnia series, and just as creatively, in The Screwtape Letters. The Senior Demon, known as Screwtape, is instructing his nephew, Wormwood, on how to best corrupt a particular human. The letters give insight onto the variety of ways humans can be perceived as weak, but also shine a light on the unquestionable strength of God's love in defeating that weakness.
6. Title: Left Behind
Author: Tim Lahaye & Jerry B. Jenkins
There is a vast differing of opinions when it comes to the rapture and the beliefs presented in the Left Behind series. The popularity of these books, however, says something about the desire of the public to know more about the day in which Christ returns for his people. The stories are action packed, and often times violent, but do offer an intriguing message concerning the foretelling of the Anti-Christ and humans tendency to follow power.
7. Title: The Lord of The Rings (Series)
Author: J.R. R. Tolkiens
At first glance it could be easy to miss the Christian aspects of this novel. Though Tolkien himself has declared his books to be, "fundamentally religious...unconsciously so at first, but consciously so in the revisions..", this is not widely referred to as Christian literature. When delving deeper into the books, however, a certain symbolism becomes noticeable. We see the ring representing the sin we put on and hold tightly too, the Kings long awaited return, and goods eventual win over the evil forces that threaten to divide us.
8. Title: This Present Darkness
Author: Frank E. Peretti
This one was intense. Demons and Angels face off to lay claim to the small, college town of Ashton, and from there, the world. In this story, both sides walk amongst us, each doing everything in their power to win out. When originally released this novel shot a bolt through the Christian fiction world and rejuvenated the market for entertaining thrillers with a message. This present Darkness spent 150 weeks straight on the CBA's bestseller list and has, to date, sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Whether one agrees with the theology presented or not, it cant be argued that this book drew serious attention.
9. Title: Love Comes Softly
Author: Janette Oakes
This novel is widely beloved for its message of hope in the midst of despair. The protagonist, Marty, watches all of the plans for her life shatter in a single instant. With nowhere left to turn, she must accept an arrangement that she deems as temporary. Heartbroken and weak, she must force herself to heal in order to fulfill the role she has agreed to take on. While doing so, Marti learns that love never comes the same way twice and that God truly never leaves us in our darkest hour.
10. Title: The Pilgrim's Progress
Author: John Bunyan
Though written during Bunyan's imprisonment in 1678, the themes presented in this classic novel transcend time and are still powerful enough to light the fire of faith in someone reading it for the first time. The text can be sluggish to get through at times, but the message is substantial. The story is written as an allegory for the Christian walk towards heaven. The main character, Christian, is on his way to the celestial city and meets with several companions along his journey. They are all representative of traits of human nature (ex: Mr.Great-Heart, Mr. feeble-Mind, etc.), and are part of Christians road to arrival at The Gate. Many consider this to be the greatest Christian work, next to the Bible, and if you can make it through the heavy text, you will be rewarded with an inspiring reminder of Jesus's never ending love.
The next time you find yourself with a little me time, I hope you'll consider this list, and recline with a story that makes you feel like maybe you learned a little something. It might be something about yourself, or your faith, but hopefully its something about Jesus. Because anytime you can feel like you know your Savior a little better...that's the happiest ending of all.
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