The Lord of the Rings: A Book of the Century - Christianity Today

J.R.R. Tolkien...
The most recent issue (April 24, 2000) of Christianity Today (the leading evangelical Christian magazine) contained an article entitled "Books of the Century". While the first spot was (without surprise) taken by J.R.R. Tolkien's good friend C.S. Lewis with Mere Christianity, The Lord of the Rings weighed in at number four with the caption "A classic for children from 9 to 90. Bears constant re-reading." Here's the text that went along with the article...

If you want to be changed, read a good book. Or so said A. W. Tozer: "The things you read will fashion you by slowly conditioning your mind." Of the millions of books published this century, only a few hundred have shaped people in extraordinary ways. Here are some of those--100 books that had a significant effect on Christians this century.

Christianity Today asked more than 100 of its contributors and church leaders to nominate the ten best religious books of the 20th century. By best books, we meant those that not only were important when first published, but also have enduring significance for the Christian faith and church. We have included books which do not always prompt agreement, but which are important for evangelical Christians to read and contend with. A few "period" pieces also made the list of 90.

By far, C.S. Lewis was the most popular author and Mere Christianity the book nominated most often, Indeed, we could have included even more Lewis works, but finally we had to say: "Enough is enough; give some other authors a chance."

Readers are welcome to send us their own nominations of the top ten religious books of the 20th century, with comments.

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