Listed below are some recommended readings about Jesus, the bible, and the Christian faith by the Christ Church clergy:
Paul F. M. Zahl, Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life
Grace in Practice is a challenging call to live life under grace. Paul Zahl pulls no punches, contending that no matter how often we talk about salvation by grace, in our “can-do” society we often cling instead to a righteousness of works. Asserting throughout that grace always trumps both law and church, Zahl illuminates an expansive view of grace in everything, extending the good news of grace to all creation.
Brennan Manning wrote this book “for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out,” the marginalized folks to whom Jesus ministered: the children, the ill, the tax collectors, the women. In other words, the ragamuffins. Behind our facades of order and self-assurance are inadequacies that can find healing only in Jesus. While the powerful and religious elite challenged him, Jesus embraced and healed and fed the needs of the ragamuffins. Jesus delivered love, healing, and, most of all, grace. Grace is defined as “the freely given and unmerited favor and love of God.” Manning gently encourages us to embrace that grace in the face of our greatest needs.
Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus
This book is an adventurous look at all of Jesus’ parables. Capon divides the teaching ministry of Jesus into three periods and correlating subjects: kingdom, grace and judgment. Each period brings Jesus closer to the cross, and as it does, the intensity, drama, and passion of his message increase. This book will cause you to laugh at Capon’s sense of humor, to praise God for his generous heart, and to weep with gratitude for the mercy and grace of the crucified and risen Christ.
Gerhard O. Forde, On Being a Theologian of the Cross
Gerhard O. Forde opens the heart of Luther’s theology: beliefs on sin, the bondage of the human will, the inability of the unsaved person outside Christ to do a “good” work in God’s eyes, and salvation by grace alone in the cross of Christ.
John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress
One of the most powerful dramas of Christian faith ever written, this captivating allegory of man’s religious journey in search of salvation follows the pilgrim as he travels an obstacle-filled road from the “City of Destruction” to the “Celestial City.” Along the way he visits such locations as the Slough of Despond, Vanity Fair, the Doubting Castle, and the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will
Martin Luther’s Bondage of the Will is acknowledged by theologians as one of the great masterpieces of the Reformation. Combining deep spirituality with humor, Luther writes powerfully about God’s sovereignty and human depravity. The crucial issue for Luther concerned what ability free will has, and to what degree it is subject to God’s sovereignty. For Luther, this key issue of free will is directly connected to God’s plan of salvation. Can we save ourselves, or is our salvation entirely a work of divine grace? Luther recognized that the only solution for humans bound by sin is the forgiveness that comes from Christ alone.
Paul F. M. Zahl and C. Frederick Barbee, The Collects of Thomas Cranmer
This edition of the Anglican collects—“collective” prayers or short prayers—that first appeared in this form in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549, contains the prayer texts composed by Anglican hero Thomas Cranmer approximately 450 years ago at the time of Elizabeth I. This set of prayers is organized into weekly readings.
Sean R. Norris, ed., Judgment and Love
Judgment and Love is a collection of thirty-five short autobiographical stories that consider the primary role these two forces play in everyday life. Together, the stories illustrate a simple truth: judgment hurts and love heals. This little book seeks to uncover how we experience this truth, how it shapes our faith and affects our relationships.
Ashley Null examines Cranmer’s theological development on the crucial Protestant doctrine of justification. This book explores Cranmer’s cultural heritage, why he would have been attracted to Luther’s thought, and then provides convincing evidence for the Reformed Protestant Augustinianism which Cranmer enshrined in the formularies of the Church of England.
J. C. Ryle, Knots Untied
Knots Untied is Ryle at his best: writing as “a minister of Christ, a father of a family, and a lover of my country,” he calls upon all Christians to “have clear systematic views of the gospel of the grace of God. Nothing else will do good in the hour of sickness, in the day of trial, on the bed of death, and in the swellings of Jordan.”
William Byron Forbush, ed., Fox’s Book of Martyrs
This book tells the dramatic, true stories of men, women, and children who, in the face of indescribable persecution, gave their lives for the sake of Christ. Covering the broad sweep of church history from the early church to the beginning of American foreign missions in the early 1800s, Fox’s Book of Martyrs continues to inspire and strengthen countless Christians.