Books on Christian Denominations and Sects


March 27, 2023

270. Books on the history and biography of Christian denominations and sects

The links below are affiliate links, if you make a purchase, I get a commission at no charge. I recommend all these titles. 

Further Reading:

Diarmaid MacCulloch The Reformation: A History, 2005.

After 1517, when Martin Luther wrote his Ninety-Five Theses in Wittenberg, Germany, the Christian world was rent asunder. Acclaimed religious writer Diarmaid MacCulloch writes of the battles, the deaths, and the lasting effects on Western Christianity in its aftermath.

Phyllis Tickle The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing and Why, 2008.

Episcopalian scholar Phyllis Tickle looks at Church history and discovers that roughly every 500 years, it undergoes a massive transformation. She believes this is happening now. Through her examination of historical and current events, she draws compelling parallels.

Tara Westover Educated: A Memoir, 2019.

Tara Westover was raised far outside mainstream society by her survivalist parents in an isolated section of Idaho. She and her siblings received no formal education. However, in her memoir, Westover tells how she educated herself enough to gain admission into Brigham Young University and later studied at Cambridge. The price she paid for independent thought was wrenching but necessary.

John D. Woodbridge Great Leaders of the Christian Church, 1988.

Church History and History of Christian Thought scholar John Woodbridge provides biographies of important church figures throughout its history.

277. The history of Christianity in North America

T.M. Luhrmann When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, 2012.

American psychological anthropologist T.M. Lurhrmann, based this book on her interviews with evangelicals who claim to talk with God. Not just to talk to God in prayer but to have God answer them in conversation. Using scientific theories and later experiments, she concluded that it’s possible to train your brain to pick up on God’s voice.

Michael D. Lindsay Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined in the American Elite, 2008.

D. Michael Lindsay digs into the Evangelical Christian elite, those who have the money, the power, and the position to influence American society and institutions in ways many of us are unfamiliar with. He shows how and why these people came to have their influence and the effects they have on society and the Christian message.

John Marks Reasons to Believe: One Man’s Journey Among the Evangelicals and the Faith He Left Behind, 2008.

This examination of the people and faith he left behind comes from a former evangelical. Journalist and 60 Minutes producer John Marks got the idea for the book after he interviewed an evangelical couple on the Left Behind series. When they asked him if he would be “left behind,” he began searching for his answer.

Matthew Stewart Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, 2014.

Did the founding fathers intend for the United States to be a Christian nation? By examining European philosophy and other ideas which inspired them, Matthew Stewart argues they did not.

William H. Willimon Who Lynched Willie Earle? Preaching to Confront Racism, 2017.

Christian scholar William H. Willimon uses a sermon by pastor Hawley Lynn entitled, “Who Lynched Willie Earle?” to talk about the current state of race relations and the proper response from Christian pastors and leaders.

Gary Wills Head and Heart, 2007.

Historian Gary Wills examines the past 400 years of Christianity in North America. He believes its history can be condensed into a struggle between the head and the heart, reason and emotion, enlightenment and evangelism. He doesn’t see this tension as destructive but as a necessary force to maintain a healthy balance.

For more information on the Further Reading series, see Further Reading: Start Here.


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