10 books like Redeemed by Fire

By Xi Lian,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Redeemed by Fire. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Souls of China

By Ian Johnson,

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

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.

The Souls of China

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…


A New History of Christianity in China

By Daniel H. Bays,

Book cover of A New History of Christianity in China

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.

A New History of Christianity in China

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…


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

By Ryan Dunch,

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

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.

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

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…


The Call

By John Hersey,

Book cover of The Call

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.  

The Call

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


Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

By Howard Taylor,

Book cover of Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

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.

Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret

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.


What Jesus Started

By Steve Addison,

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

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.

What Jesus Started

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…


The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era

By James S. Jeffers,

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

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.

The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era

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…


Lost Christianities

By Bart D. Ehrman,

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

Ehrman’s many books are worthy of study, especially this one which shows how Christianity developed over the first three centuries. The older view, that there was one mainstream church surrounded by many smaller deviant sects or “heresies” has now been discarded. Prior to Constantine, there were many groups all claiming to be Christian and no one was dominant. Each battled for supremacy. Only in the 4th century CE did one faction emerge as dominant, the group favored by two Roman Emperors, Constantine and Theodosius.

Lost Christianities

By Bart D. Ehrman,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…


The Church in the Canadian Era

By John Webster Grant,

Book cover of The Church in the Canadian Era

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.

The Church in the Canadian Era

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.


The Chinese Confessions of Charles Welsh Mason

By Charles Welsh Mason,

Book cover of The Chinese Confessions of Charles Welsh Mason

Charles Welsh Mason, self-described “unconscious martyr of the Antichrist,” for reasons the author himself is only able to ascribe to a “morbid hallucination,” gives up his post, servants, and comfortable life as a young English customs officer in a treaty port in 1890s China for a bizarre plot to lead a band of Chinese rebels to overthrow the Manchu Government and declare himself “King of China.” The scheme unravels when he’s caught with a hoard of illegal arms. Almost unbearable suspense unfolds, masterfully narrated, as the authorities struggle to connect the dots. Even after his arrest Mason is wined and dined by his British superiors in Shanghai, incomprehension preventing their full appreciation of his mad plot. Finally imprisoned, Mason is shipped back to England to live out his remaining decades as a solitary eccentric. I do not recall any book set in China’s past or present, whether fiction or nonfiction,…

The Chinese Confessions of Charles Welsh Mason

By Charles Welsh Mason,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Chinese Confessions of Charles Welsh Mason as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this old China tale like no other, Englishman Charles Mason tells of his doomed attempt to overthrow the Qing dynasty.


Lawrence of Arabia famously wrote that, "All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men," for they may act upon their dreams. Such a man was young Charles Mason, who, in the late 1880s, secured a job with China's British-run Imperial Maritime Customs Service at a river port. Here the glamor…


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