I was wondering last night just what books I might recommend to evangelicals if I were a Roman Catholic.
Would I go the route of Catholic Answers-style tomes or perhaps conversion accounts from folks like Scott Hahn? No, I would probably opt for books that helped evangelicals better understand and appreciate my beliefs but without risking too immediate or drastic an alienation in our friendship. But would my books present some controversy, some new ideas, be a stretch? Certainly, that couldn't (and shouldn't) be avoided. But I’d prefer recommending books to my non-Catholic friend that would would best stimulate some mutual investigation, something that would get us thinking and talking together. It would, I hope, be a way for us to honestly think about our differences in a perspective that also sees what we have in common.
So, what books would I suggest to my non-Catholic friend? I eventually chose these four: Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton; The Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen; Evangelium Vitae by Pope John Paul II; and Jesus Rediscovered by Malcolm Muggeridge. They are all relevant, eminently readable and contain important spiritual value to Catholics and evangelicals alike. They would make excellent conversation starters.
But what about turning things around? In my case, turning things back to the way they actually are. For I am, and not merely by accident of birth but by conviction, not a Catholic.
So what books have I, evangelical that I am, suggested to Catholics to give them a fuller, more sympathetic understanding of the doctrines and priorities of my Christian faith? That's a bit tougher because I've recommended a whole bunch over the years, including several titles each from the respective pens of C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Joni Eareckson Tada, Josh McDowell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Chuck Colson, Randy Alcorn, Nancy Pearcey, and Jospeh Bayly.
But, keeping in the spirit of the game, I’ll again just pick just four: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis; The God Who Is There by Francis Schaeffer; Heaven by Randy Alcorn; and, in what will probably be the only surprise to most of the evangelicals reading this, Mr. Jones, Meet the Master, a small collection of sermons and prayers from Peter Marshall.
I would, of course, be interested to see what titles and authors would be suggested by others (Catholics and evangelicals alike) or to learn whether or not you even think the exercise worthwhile. Drop me a line, won't you? I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org