John Wesley, cofounder of the Methodist movement, attended a meeting in May 1738 at Aldersgate Street in London, England. He went reluctantly, forhe wasstrugglingtoestablish is ministry and questioning
whether he truly knew God. But as he
listened to a reading of Martin Luther’s
Preface to the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, he was overcome with comfort.
Wesley noted the experience in his
journal: “About a quarter before nine,
God works in the heart through faith in
Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.
I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for
salvation; and an assurance was given me
that He had taken away my sins, even
mine, and saved me from the law of sin
This public reading of Luther’s writing
was crucial to Wesley’s spiritual develop-
ment, providing him encouragement at a
time of need.
Today Canadians have free access
through digital downloads and public li-
braries to many such Christian classics,
writings characterized by a biblical view
of the Christian life and which have been
recommended by “a multitude of voices
across Church history” (Reading the Chris-
tian Spiritual Classics: A Guide for Evangel-
icals, IVP Academic, 2013).
But which of these many books have
been the most helpful to the greatest
number of believers? Faith Today asked
several Canadian leaders for their recommendations and to remind us why
WHY CHRISTIAN CLASSICS MATTER
With thousands of new Christian books published each year,
why read the old ones? BY BEN WHITE