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Dr. James Emery White Christian Blog and Commentary

Ten Great Books on Church and Culture

As promised, in honor of today’s #CCConference2016 in the U.S., here are the ten books I would consider foundational for anyone beginning to think about “church and culture.”

I have a bias – I like those books that save you from reading another ten. I also like those books that lay a groundwork for comprehensive, long-term thinking about the intersection of faith and society, as opposed to just the latest cultural fad.

That may explain why so many on my list are not “new” books, but several years old. For some, it’s because they are more relevant now than ever before. For others, it’s because they framed the issues and dynamics, currents and realities, in a way that stands the test of time and helps inform our present. 

As with my previous blog on theology books for “normal” people, the list is not meant to impress in terms of academic respectability. If anything, I tailored the list to make it highly accessible. And yes, one is my own. But it’s a title I still stand by as a helpful introduction to the day in which we live. 

Berger, Peter. The Sacred Canopy.

Cahill, Thomas. How the Irish Saved Civilization.

Guinness, Os. The Gravedigger File

Hatch, Nathan. The Democratization of American Christianity.

Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations

Kraft, Charles. Christianity in Culture.                                     

Lewis, C.S. The Abolition of Man.

Niebuhr, H. Richard. Christ and Culture.

Schaeffer, Francis. Escape from Reason

White, James Emery. Serious Times.

James Emery White


About the Author

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.