1. The Bible
The Bible is the most translated book in all of history (the whole Bible has been translated into over 540 languages and 2,890 languages have had at least some portion of the Bible). The Bible is the number one best-selling book in all of history (over 3 billion copies). It is the most widely read book in the world. There is no question that it is the most life-changing book ever written. The most influential Bible translation in history is without doubt the 1611 King James Version. The Bible is also the most valuable book in history. A single copy of the Guttenberg Bible (printed in 1456) was sold in 1987, for over US$4 Million. One copy of William Tyndale's original printed New Testament was sold for over £1 Million. The impact of the Bible upon Western civilisation has been absolutely enormous. The Bible has inspired the greatest literature, the greatest art, the greatest achievements in architecture, the rule of law, the separation of powers, checks and balances, representative government, the sanctity of life, compassion, charity, liberty and justice. The Bible tells the Greatest True story ever told about the Greatest Man, who accomplished the most important task ever - the purchasing of our Salvation with His Blood.
2. Confessions by Augustine
This autobiographical work by Augustine of Hippo, was written in Latin between 397 and 400AD. It details Augustine’s sinful youth and conversion to Christ. Its original title was Confessions in Thirteen Books. It is widely recognised as the first autobiography ever written and was an influential model for Christian writers throughout the Middle Ages. Confessions provides an unbroken record of the development of one person’s thought process and is the most complete record of any single person from the 4th and 5th centuries. The first 9 books are autobiographical and the last 4 are Theological and philosophical commentary. It begins with: “For Thou has made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” Confessions not only encourages conversion, but offers guidelines on how to turn to Christ. Each book/chapter begins with a prayer to God, for e.g. “You have broken the chains that bound me. I will sacrifice in Your honour.” It is being consistently recognised as one of the “great masterpieces of Western literature.”
3. The City of God by Augustine
Published in 426AD, The City of God by Augustine of Hippo, was written in response to allegations that abandoning the old pagan religions and embracing Christianity had brought about the fall of the Roman Empire. Augustine depicts the history of the world as a universal conflict between God and the devil. Men build men’s cities and men destroy men’s cities. But there is a city built by God, which no man can destroy. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the key, the focal point and the goal of man, as well as all of human history. All of human life, whether individual or collective, shows itself to be a dramatic struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness. The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilisation, the centre of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its deepest longings. Far from polytheistic worship/idolatry being necessary to secure worldly prosperity, it is idolatrous false religion which brings about the decline and destruction of any civilisation. Moral corruption preceded the fall of Rome. We need to live in the light of eternal judgment. The City of God is a cornerstone of Western civilisation.
4. Lex Rex (or The Law and the Prince) by Samuel Rutherford
Written in English, published in 1644, Lex Rex defends the rule of law and the lawfulness of defensive wars, advocating limited government and constitutionalism. Building on arguments from the 16th century Vindicae Contra Tyrannos, Lex Rex attacks absolutism and totalitarianism, emphasizing the importance of Covenant and ruling in accordance with God's Law. Just as we owe allegiance to the king, the king owes allegiance to the King of Kings. If the King is in rebellion to the King of kings, then we must not join in his rebellion against God. We must obey God rather than man. Lex Rex was an inversion of the popular term: Rex Lex (the king is law, or the king’s word is law), to Lex Rex (the Law is King). God's Law is the eternal standard and any law not in conformity with God's Law is invalid and no law at all.
5. The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
First published in 1536, The Institutes is a monumental masterpiece. The final edition of The Institutes, published in 1559, contains more than 1,000 pages, in 80 chapters. The Institutes stands out as the finest textbook of Theology, Manifesto for the Protestant Faith, Handbook for Catechism, weapon against heresy and guide to Christian Discipleship. It is a systematic masterpiece which has earned itself a permanent place amongst the greatest Christian books in all of history.
6. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Acts and Monuments) by John Foxe
First published in 1563, Acts and Monuments, or what we today call Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, included over 60 distinct woodcut illustrations and was at that time the largest publishing project ever undertaken in England. The book was over a foot long, two palm’s span wide, too deep or thick to open with any one hand, as it exceeded 1,800 pages and weighed the same as a small infant. The 1570 edition was in two volumes and had been expanded to over 2,300 pages and 150 woodcut illustrations. Starting with the persecution of the Apostles and early Christians under Jewish and Roman persecution, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, includes a history of the Protestant Reformation and the vicious persecutions by the Papist Roman church against Bible translators, Protestant Reformers and dedicated believers. Foxe’s Acts and Monuments was chained beside the great Bible in cathedrals from 1571. It was greatly respected at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and avidly read by soldiers in Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army. It has been described as: “the single greatest influence on English Protestant thinking of the late Tudor and early Stuart period.” Acts and Monuments helped to frame English consciousness (national, religious and historical) for over 400 years. It inspired the Protestant Faith of Queen Elizabeth I’s era and galvanised resistance against the Spanish Armada.
7. The Pilgrim's Progress – From This World to That Which is to Come by John Bunyan
Published in 1678, Pilgrim's Progress has been translated into more than 200 languages and has never been out of print for nearly 350 years. Written while Bunyan was imprisoned, Pilgrim's Progress is recognised as one of the most influential and successful best-selling books in English, in all of history.
8. An Enquiry Into the Obligation of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathen by William Carey
Published in 1792, An Enquiry led to the founding of the Particular Calvinist Baptist Missionary Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen and launched the Modern Missionary Movement. William Carey is recognised as the Father of Modern Missions.
9. Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa by Dr. David Livingstone
Published in 1857, Missionary Travels became one of the most popular travel works ever published in English. With 47 illustrations, engravings, maps and portraits and the Victoria Falls fold-out front piece, Missionary Travels inspired unprecedented interest in Africa and mobilised thousands of Missionaries to Evangelise and disciple previously unreached tribes throughout the continent.
10. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Published in 1859, A Tale of Two Cities contrasts Paris before and during the French Revolution and London affected by the Great Evangelical Awakening. With sales of over 200 Million copies, A Tale of Two Cities is one of the most successful best-selling novels of all time. The clash between Humanism and Christianity is so clear in this novel, that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, presented a copy of this book to French President Francois Mitterand.
11. How Should We Then Live: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture by Dr. Francis Schaeffer
Published in 1976, How Should We Then Live traces Western history from ancient Rome through the Reformation, the Renaissance and the devastations caused by secular humanism and evolutionism. Schaeffer warns of subtle forms of information control and psychological manipulation of the masses by unscrupulous governments.
12. The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Published in 1973, The Gulag Archipelago exposed the brutal communist concentration camp system, which destroyed over 50 million lives in the Soviet Union.
13. What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? by Dr. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe
This landmark book tackles the most unbridled slanders and attacks against Christianity and demonstrates that everything good in this world, from morality to health, from art to economics, from science to civil liberties, would never had occurred, had Jesus Christ never lived.
14. Understanding the Times by Dr. David Noebel
First published in 1994, Understanding the Times provides a comprehensive guide to the most popular worldviews of our day: Secular Humanism, Marxism/Leninism, and the New Age movement. These worldviews are then compared to Biblical Christianity. Dr. James Kennedy described studying Understanding the Times as more valuable than a university education.
15. How Christianity Changed the World by Professor Alvin Schmidt
First published as Under the Influence, in 2001. Professor Schmidt documents how Christianity established the sanctity of life, elevated sexual morality, gave freedom and dignity to woman, invented charity and compassion, pioneered hospitals and health care, pioneered universal education, dignified labour and established economic freedoms, launched the scientific revolution, innovated liberty and justice for all, abolished slavery, produced the greatest ark in architecture in history, gave to the world its greatest music and literature and additional holidays, words and symbols that shaped civilisations for centuries.
16. Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and its Aftermath - Edited by George H. Nash
President Herbert Hoover spent the last half of this life documenting the insidious and traitorous scheming’s of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency and its subversive pivotal role in instigating and expanding the Second World War with the ultimate effect of destroying the main obstacles to the expansion of communism in Europe and Asia, betraying a third of the world’s population behind the Iron Curtain. Supressed for over 50 years, this Magnus Opus challenges all historians of the 20th century with previously supressed facts which should radically alter everyone’s understanding of the Second World War and its aftermath.
17. The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas, 1939-45 by Sir Max Hastings
British journalist, Sir Max Hastings, who has worked as Foreign correspondent for the BBC, Editor in chief of the Daily Telegraph and Editor of the Evening Standard, has authored numerous historical books, chiefly on matters of defence and has won major awards. In The Secret War, Max Hastings examines the espionage and intelligence machines on all sides in World War Two and the impact of spies, code breakers and guerrilla movements on the events. Bringing together British, American, Russian, German and Japanese sources to tell of the, until now, mostly unknown, secret war waged throughout WW2, which profoundly influenced the outcome. It requires virtually all history books on the Second World War to be rewritten.
18. Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War – How Britain Lost its Empire and the West Lost the World by Patrick Buchanan
In this monumental history, Patrick Buchanan makes the case that, if not for the blunders of British statesmen, Winston Churchill first among them, the horrors of two World Wars and the Holocaust might have been avoided and the British Empire might never have collapsed to ruin. Half a century of murderous oppression of hundreds of millions under the Iron boot of communist tyranny might never had happened and Europe’s central role in world affairs might have been sustained for many generations to come. Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War is a bold insight into historic failures of judgment that tragically ended centuries of Christian European rule and guaranteed a terrible future that no one in the vanished world could have envisaged in their worst nightmares.
19. Shake Hands with the Devil – The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by General Roméo Dallaire
First published in 2003, General Roméo Dallaire, the commander of the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in Rwanda, documents how the United Nations and international community failed to prevent the slaughter of over 800,000 people in just 100 days in the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda.
20. A History of Central Banking and the Enslavement of Mankind by Stephen Goodson
Economist, Stephen Mitford Goodson, once Director of the South African Reserve Bank, catalogues the hidden hand of moneylenders throughout history in fomenting wars, revolutions, depressions, recessions and other social upheavals to retain and extend their power and profits.
21. The Institutes of Biblical Law by R.J. Rushdoony
Expounding the Ten Commandments, The Institutes of Biblical Law provides an outline for establishing essential foundations for free and productive societies. With a remarkable, detailed grasp of historical background and the impact of human culture, this three volume series is superior to a college degree programme.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Several of these books are available from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, Tel: 021-689-7478, Fax: 086-551-7490, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.