2019 Christian Greats Challenge: Past & Present

Hosted by Carol at Journey and Destination

Carol at Journey and Destination is hosting a new challenge – focused on Christian literature!  Though I’ve read Christian classics on-and-off through the years, I’ve been meaning to read more, and this seems like the perfect chance! 

Here is my (overly ambitious) list:

1) A Book on Early Church History
Early Christian Doctrines by J. N. D. Kelly
My mom already has this book, so it’s an obvious choice!

2) A Book About a Prominent Christian Who Was Born Between 500 A.D & 1900
Joan of Arc: By Herself and Her Witnesses by Régine Pernoud
This is one of the better-rated biographies of Joan out there.  Since childhood I’ve been fascinated by her story, but haven’t yet read anything as in-depth as this is supposed to be.

3) A Christian Allegory
The Pilgrim’s Progress (reread) by John Bunyan

4) A Book on Apologetics
Orthodoxy (reread) by G. K. Chesterton
5) A Philosophical Book by a Christian Author
Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings by René Descartes
I hope this counts.  I honestly know very little about Descartes, hence the desire to read him.  Backup plan: Kierkegaard’s The Sickness unto Death.

6) A Missionary Biography or A Biography of a Prominent Christian
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

7) A Seasonal Book
TBD, but something for Lent.  I found two lists here and here that look interesting.

8) A Novel with a Christian Theme
The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin

9) A Good Old Detective or Mystery Novel
The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton

10) A Substitute – choose a book by any of the authors below in place of one of the above categories:
Timothy Keller
A.W. Tozer
Patricia St. John
Jan Karon
Wendell Berry
Edith Schaeffer
Elizabeth Goudge
OR Choose a second book from a category you like
Allegory #2: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis


  1. mudpuddle Avatar

    good luck on the Descartes… i read it when i was a freshman and it was tough, i thought then; maybe not so much now, but i wouldn't bet on it… Chesterton is almost always interesting except when he gets off on one of his negative kicks… the Father Brown series is terrific, imo: there are four collections of stories…


  2. Cleo @ Classical Carousel Avatar
    Cleo @ Classical Carousel

    It was fun to see your choices. I think I'm going to do this challenge too. I just have to do some research.I read and reviewed Descartes; what a mind bender! I'm still considering joining you with The Pilgrim's Progress and Bonhoeffer.For Lent can I recommend The Great Lent by Alexander Schmemann? It's supposed to be excellent.Good luck with this challenge!


  3. Carol Avatar

    So good to have you along, Marian. I loved The Keys of the Kingdom. Thanks for the link to the Lent book ideas – some excellent choices there! I better get my act together & post a list of the books I'll be reading!


  4. Ruth Avatar

    Bonhoeffer is excellent! I'm doing this challenge, too. I'm reading PP for allegory, and I have a few others filled out, but I still need to make decisions about other categories.


  5. Marian H Avatar
    Marian H

    I am so looking forward to Father Brown! I haven't read a detective series since my Agatha Christie phase (over 10 years ago…yikes).


  6. Marian H Avatar
    Marian H

    I've pinned your review of Descartes so I will re-read it before starting the book. (Pretty sure I'm going to need help \”interpreting\” it.)Thanks for the Lenten rec – the Orthodox perspective does sound interesting!


  7. Marian H Avatar
    Marian H

    Thanks, Carol – I really like the variety of categories in this challenge!


  8. Marian H Avatar
    Marian H

    Can't wait to see what you choose! 🙂


  9. Sharon Wilfong Avatar
    Sharon Wilfong

    This looks like a great list. You will really like Metaxas' biography of Bonhoeffer. It's the best out there and one of the best biographies I've read.


  10. Marian H Avatar
    Marian H

    That's great to hear!! I love a good biography.


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