100 books like Redeemed by Fire

By Xi Lian,

Here are 100 books that Redeemed by Fire fans have personally recommended if you like Redeemed by Fire. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao

Jennifer Lin Author Of Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family

From my list on history of Christianity in China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from a long line of Chinese Christians. My grandfather, the Rev. Lin Pu-chi, was an Ivy League-educated Anglican minister, and my grandmother’s brother was Watchmen Nee, a leading Chinese Christian whose legacy lives on around the world. Library shelves are filled with books by missionaries. But where are the stories of the Chinese people they encountered? That’s the starting point for my family memoir, which spans five generations, starting with the first convert, a fisherman from Fujian. These are the books I relied on to place the family story into the broader context of what was happening in China from the period after the Opium Wars until today.

Jennifer's book list on history of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Why did Jennifer love this book?

Let’s start in the present and work backward. And for a look at religion in China today, there is no better authority than Ian Johnson, journalist, author, and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. I knew Ian back in the 1990s when we were both newspaper correspondents in Beijing. Since then, he’s plumbed the depths of the spiritual awakening in China since 1976 and the end of the Cultural Revolution. In The Souls of China, he examines not just the rise of Christianity through the house church movement, but also explores the revival of interest in Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism.

By Ian Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Souls of China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Masterfully opens up a little explored realm: how the quest for religion and spirituality drives hundreds of millions of Chinese' Pankaj Mishra

'A fascinating odyssey ... a nuanced group portrait of Chinese citizens striving for non-material answers in an era of frenetic materialism' Julia Lovell, Guardian

'The reappearance and flourishing of religion is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the dramatic changes in China in recent decades...this is a beautiful, moving and insightful book' Michael Szonyi

In no society on Earth was there such a ferocious attempt to eradicate all trace of religion as in modern China. But now, following…


Book cover of A New History of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Author Of Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family

From my list on history of Christianity in China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from a long line of Chinese Christians. My grandfather, the Rev. Lin Pu-chi, was an Ivy League-educated Anglican minister, and my grandmother’s brother was Watchmen Nee, a leading Chinese Christian whose legacy lives on around the world. Library shelves are filled with books by missionaries. But where are the stories of the Chinese people they encountered? That’s the starting point for my family memoir, which spans five generations, starting with the first convert, a fisherman from Fujian. These are the books I relied on to place the family story into the broader context of what was happening in China from the period after the Opium Wars until today.

Jennifer's book list on history of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Why did Jennifer love this book?

In my journey to understand the historical backdrop for my family saga, I started with this tightly-written, comprehensive book by the late Daniel H. Bays. A former professor at the University of Kansas and Calvin College, Bays was an incredibly generous scholar. When I worked in China for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bays was frequently sought out by me and other reporters who needed to understand the long view of Christianity in China. I put this book in what I call the “readable academic” category. Yes, it’s often used as a college textbook, but it’s a good way to get grounded in China’s unique religious history.

By Daniel H. Bays,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A New History of Christianity in China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New History of Christianity in China, written by one of the world's the leading writers on Christianity in China, looks at Christianity's long history in China, its extraordinarily rapid rise in the last half of the twentieth century, and charts its future direction. * Provides the first comprehensive history of Christianity in China, an important, understudied area in both Asian studies and religious history * Traces the transformation of Christianity from an imported, Western religion to a thoroughly Chinese religion * Contextualizes the growth of Christianity in China within national and local politics * Offers a portrait of the…


Book cover of Fuzhou Protestants and the Making of a Modern China, 1857-1927

Jennifer Lin Author Of Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family

From my list on history of Christianity in China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from a long line of Chinese Christians. My grandfather, the Rev. Lin Pu-chi, was an Ivy League-educated Anglican minister, and my grandmother’s brother was Watchmen Nee, a leading Chinese Christian whose legacy lives on around the world. Library shelves are filled with books by missionaries. But where are the stories of the Chinese people they encountered? That’s the starting point for my family memoir, which spans five generations, starting with the first convert, a fisherman from Fujian. These are the books I relied on to place the family story into the broader context of what was happening in China from the period after the Opium Wars until today.

Jennifer's book list on history of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Why did Jennifer love this book?

Fuzhou serves as a perfect microcosm for examining the rise of Christianity in China. It’s less familiar than Shanghai or Beijing and, as a result, this very accessible history book has a freshness to it. Like Bays, Ryan Dunch, a China scholar at the University of Alberta, is an academic who knows how to make history engaging. The story begins in 1857 after the forced opening of Fuzhou as a treaty port after the First Opium War, and ends with anti-western violence that roiled the city in 1927. I owe Dunch a debt of gratitude. Fuzhou was the birthplace of my grandparents and I discovered on the pages of this book that in 1927, an anti-foreign mob attacked the Rev. Lin Pu-chi—a fact unknown to my family. That event was the key to deciphering the psyche of my grandfather.

By Ryan Dunch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fuzhou Protestants and the Making of a Modern China, 1857-1927 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this groundbreaking examination of Chinese Protestants and their place in the history of modern China, Ryan Dunch focuses on the Fuzhou area of southeast China from the mid-nineteenth century until 1927, when a national revolutionary government was established. Though accounting for only a small proportion of the population, Protestants occupied a central place in Fuzhou's political, intellectual, and social life, Dunch contends. He shows how Chinese Protestants, with a distinctive vision for constituting China as a modern nation-state, contributed to the dissolution of the imperial regime, enjoyed unprecedented popularity following the 1911 revolution, and then saw their dreams for…


Book cover of The Call

Jennifer Lin Author Of Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family

From my list on history of Christianity in China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from a long line of Chinese Christians. My grandfather, the Rev. Lin Pu-chi, was an Ivy League-educated Anglican minister, and my grandmother’s brother was Watchmen Nee, a leading Chinese Christian whose legacy lives on around the world. Library shelves are filled with books by missionaries. But where are the stories of the Chinese people they encountered? That’s the starting point for my family memoir, which spans five generations, starting with the first convert, a fisherman from Fujian. These are the books I relied on to place the family story into the broader context of what was happening in China from the period after the Opium Wars until today.

Jennifer's book list on history of Christianity in China

Jennifer Lin Why did Jennifer love this book?

I know I said in my introduction that there are too many books from the missionary perspective and not enough from a Chinese point of view, but I’m going to make an exception here with the only novel, too, in the group. In this 1985 title, the extraordinary John Hersey captures the urge of American missionaries to proselytize in China, as well as their complicated relationship with Chinese Christians. This sweeping fictional biography of David Treadup, whose character is a composite of the lives of actual missionaries, including Hersey’s father, carries the reader from New York state in the early 1900s to the People’s Republic of China in the 1950s.  

By John Hersey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Call as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Told in the form of a fictional biography, this account of the life and vocation of David Treadup, a New York farm boy who becomes a missionary to China, portrays the history of China in this century


Book cover of Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

Harry Schaumburg Author Of Undefiled: Redemption from Sexual Sin, Restoration for Broken Relationships

From my list on to survive and recover from marital unfaithfulness.

Why am I passionate about this?

When writing about sexuality it is important to me to write about true intimacy. Especially for those who have broken their wedding vows and for those who have been betrayed, who still long for real intimacy with spiritual and sexual maturity. My book, False Intimacy: Understanding the Struggle of Sexual Addiction (1992), was the first Christian book published on the subject of sexual addiction. I have for over thirty years counseled 1000s of sexually broken people from all across the U.S. who came to see me for a week of intensive counseling. I have taught on the subject of sexuality in all fifty states as well as over twenty foreign countries. No subject is more important to our spiritual maturity and sexual maturity.

Harry's book list on to survive and recover from marital unfaithfulness

Harry Schaumburg Why did Harry love this book?

After the death of our daughter, shortly after birth, I felt abandoned by God and lost all desire to serve in any form of ministry. This book, above all others that I have read, helped me personally and spiritually to not only move on with my life, face new and challenging adversities, but to return to ministry; a ministry that has drawn in thousands from across the U.S. and from twenty-five foreign countries for a week of intensive counseling.

By Howard Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the classic biography of Hudson Taylor, the missionary to China and the founder of the China Inland Mission. This is a must read for anyone considering missions or already engaged in it and encouragement to any Christian.


Book cover of What Jesus Started: Joining the Movement, Changing the World

Cory Hartman Author Of Future Church: Seven Laws of Real Church Growth

From my list on making disciples today the way Jesus did.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cory Hartman (DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) collaboratively crafts practical tools, interactive processes, and breakthrough content for the Future Church Company, three interconnected organizations that exist to help the church embody the movement Jesus founded. I previously served as a pastor for thirteen years and founded Fulcrum Content, a gospel communication training organization.

Cory's book list on making disciples today the way Jesus did

Cory Hartman Why did Cory love this book?

Addison’s book lengthens and broadens Coleman’s Master Plan. While Coleman focuses on Jesus’ selection, training, and sending of his twelve closest disciples, Addison also examines what Jesus did before he named the Twelve, including rich historical background of his ministry context in first-century Palestine. In this way, Addison sheds light on how to engage unreached people who are still far from committing themselves to learn from Jesus.

Addison discerns a recurring six-step pattern in Jesus’ activity, in the early Palestinian church, in Paul’s Mediterranean travels, and in global disciple-making movements today. Importantly, he lays out these steps in a way that contemporary Western Christians unused to Jesus’ method can begin practicing them together.

By Steve Addison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Jesus Started as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year Sometimes we get so caught up in the power of Jesus shouting from the cross, "It is finished!" that we forget that Jesus started something. What Jesus started was a movement that began small, with intimate conversations designed to build disciples into apostles who would go out in the world and seed it with God's kingdom vision. That movement grew rapidly and spread wide as people recognized the truth in it and gave their lives to the power of it. That movement is still happening today, and we are called to play our part…


Book cover of The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era: Exploring the Background of Early Christianity

Paula Gooder Author Of Phoebe: A Story

From my list on opening up the world of the New Testament.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a New Testament scholar, with an expertise in Pauline Theology, who has spent my working life trying to make New Testament scholarship more accessible for non-experts. After studying at Oxford University, I taught in two theological colleges before taking a few years to be a freelance writer lecturer. I am a lay theologian and have worked with most dioceses of the Church of England but now am a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral where I oversee Theology, Learning, and Art in the life of the Cathedral. I hope you enjoy reading these books that have had such a big impact on me and my thinking.

Paula's book list on opening up the world of the New Testament

Paula Gooder Why did Paula love this book?

One way of opening up the world of the New Testament is through fictional accounts of life in the period; the other way is by doing a deep dive into some of the academic debates that have explored issues from this period. This is an accessible but fascinating book that explores the life, culture, and background of the New Testament and provides a vast array of interesting nuggets that will enhance your reading of the New Testament. This book opens up our imaginations by providing the information we need to imagine the world for ourselves.

By James S. Jeffers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What was life like for first-century Christians? Imagine a modest-sized Roman home of a well-to-do Christian household wedged into a thickly settled quarter of Corinth. In the lingering light of a summer evening, men, women and children, merchants, working poor and slaves, a mix of races and backgrounds have assembled in the dimly lit main room are are spilling into the central courtyard. This odd assortment of gathered believers--some thirty in number--are attentive as the newly arrived and travel-weary emissary from Paul reads from the papyrus scroll he has brought from their apostolic mentor. But if you were to be…


Book cover of Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Lisa McClain Author Of Divided Loyalties? Pushing the Boundaries of Gender and Lay Roles in the Catholic Church, 1534-1829

From my list on how we got so confused about women, gender, and Christianity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I do what I do for completely self-interested reasons. I am a woman, wife, and mother; a history professor specializing in the Catholic Church and gender; and a Christian (Episcopalian). I used to compartmentalize those roles. I was a Christian at church, a secular scholar at work, etc. It was exhausting. I was frustrated by conflicting messages about gender and faith from my family, profession, and religion. I wanted to be true to all aspects of my identity in all situations, but how? History is full of people who’ve questioned and adapted at the intersections of gender and religion. I learn from their journeys and add another piece of the puzzle.

Lisa's book list on how we got so confused about women, gender, and Christianity

Lisa McClain Why did Lisa love this book?

I don’t always agree with Bart Ehrman, but I do here. Forgeries, heresies, martyrs, even unfamiliar texts featuring women (who was Thecla and why was she hanging around with Paul?) contribute to an engaging read.

Whereas MacCulloch provides the “big picture” of Christian history, Ehrman targets the first centuries of Christianity—those centuries so critical to current debates about gender and lay roles in churches—to help us understand what we don’t understand about holy texts, especially ones that never made it into Christian Bible.

Ehrman takes us into the thought processes of early Church communities to help us see how Christians made decisions that shaped church policies relevant to gendered and lay leadership today.

By Bart D. Ehrman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lost Christianities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human.
In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings…


Book cover of The Church in the Canadian Era

Mark A. Noll Author Of A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

From my list on the history of Christianity in Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

Instead of experiencing a mid-life academic crisis, I discovered Canada. Through George Rawlyk, a senior historian at Queen’s University in Ontario, and then through many fruitful contacts with older and younger Canadians as well as frequent visits north of the border, I became increasingly intrigued by comparisons with U.S. history. Most of my specialized scholarship has treated American developments, but I have been able to explain those matters more perceptively by keeping Canada’s alternative history in mind. The chance to introduce undergraduates at the University of Notre Dame to Canadian history provided a regular stimulus to think about a common subject (Christianity) taking somewhat different shapes in the two nations.

Mark's book list on the history of Christianity in Canada

Mark A. Noll Why did Mark love this book?

In the sixteen years between this book’s two editions, religion in Canada underwent a revolution. John Webster Grant’s history of developments in Canada’s first century after Confederation (1867-1967) sparkled with wit, limpid prose, and telling incidents succinctly portrayed. His deep research in French sources, as well as English, made for an exceptionally well-balanced account of both Protestants and Catholics, both Quebec and the rest of Canada. The new chapter he added in 1988 was just as informative, perceptive, and wise about the difficult days for the churches that began so suddenly in the 1960s.

By John Webster Grant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Church in the Canadian Era as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Webster Grant?s The Church in the Canadian Era was originally published in 1972. It remains a classic and important text on the history of the Canadian churches since Confederation. This updated edition has been expanded to include a chapter on recent history as well as a new bibliographical survey. Its approach is ecumenical, taking account not only of the whole range of Christian denominations but of sources in both national languages.


Book cover of Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of its Practices and Beliefs

Vince L. Bantu Author Of Those for Whom the Lamp Shines: The Making of Egyptian Ethnic Identity in Late Antiquity

From my list on Christianity in Africa before colonialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had a love for the early Church in Africa since I took a trip to Egypt when I was in seminary. Since then, I’ve had a chance to visit all of the countries on the continent with ancient churches. It is my greatest joy to share what I learn with my students and any anyone else who will listen. I research and teach in the area of early African Christianity at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Meachum School of Haymanot. I have published two monographs on this topic and hold a doctoral degree in languages and literatures of Northeastern Africa during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. 

Vince's book list on Christianity in Africa before colonialism

Vince L. Bantu Why did Vince love this book?

This book is the best overall summary of Christianity in North Africa I have ever read. There are so many books that are close to this topic but are usually more specialized, focusing only on Augustine or archaeology.

This book not only surveys the influential theologians from North Africa, Perpetua, Tertullian, and Cyprian, but also illumines the lived worship practices of everyday Christians in what we now call Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria.

I love the well-rounded and comprehensive survey of North African Christianity that this book provides. 

By J. Patout Burns, Robin M. Jensen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christianity in Roman Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In-depth, illustrated exploration of how early North African Christians lived out their faith

Using a combination of literary and archeological evidence, this in-depth, illustrated book documents the development of Christian practices and doctrine in Roman Africa -- contemporary Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco -- from the second century through the Arab conquest in the seventh century.

Robin Jensen and Patout Burns, in collaboration with Graeme W. Clarke, Susan T. Stevens, William Tabbernee, and Maureen A. Tilley, skillfully reconstruct the rituals and practices of Christians in the ancient buildings and spaces where those practices were performed. Numerous site drawings and color…


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