Books for New Christians

Dr. James Emery White
Dr. James Emery White

Someone wrote in to recently, to ask which books were most pivotal to me as a new Christian.  They knew I didn’t become a Christ follower until my twenties, and were familiar with my writing on the importance of reading for spiritual and intellectual development (e.g., my book A Mind for God).

It was forwarded to me with the note, “Might make a good blog.”

I agreed.

But before I give you that list, remember a few things first:

*this was a few years ago, so forget anything written of late

*it doesn’t reflect all that might have been good to read, but what I was actually introduced to that I found pivotal

*I was reached for Christ through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, so there is a tilt toward IVP titles – but it was also IVP’s golden age, so that’s not a bad thing

So here are the top twelve that were the most shaping for me as a new Christian, in alphabetical order by author:

Colson, Charles.  Loving God.

Cruz, Nicky.  Run Baby Run.

Lewis, C.S.  Mere Christianity.

MacDonald, Gordon.  Ordering Your Private World.

Martin, Walter.  The Kingdom of the Cults.

Packer, J.I.  Knowing God.

Pippert, Rebecca Manley.  Out of the Saltshaker.

Schaeffer, Francis.  Escape from Reason.

Stott, John.  Basic Christianity.

Swindoll, Charles.  Improving Your Serve.

ten Boom, Corrie.  The Hiding Place.

White, John.  The Fight.

James Emery White


Editor’s Note

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is now available on Amazon.  To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world.  Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

Originally published September 04, 2014.

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