It is no coincidence that the first book printed after the development of the printing press was a copy of the Bible. Christian thought on a wide scale has long been influenced by key Christian writers. These authors have left their mark on Christian culture and philosophy through their published works.
1. C.S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis was a British professor and novelist known especially for his science fiction series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis lived from 1989 to 1963, and many of his writing reflect the wartime era in which he wrote. Although he wrote in his own autobiography that he became an atheist at the age of 15, he was later turned to Christianity through the influence of his friend and Oxford colleague J.R.R Tolkien, as well as other famous Christian authors including George MacDonald and G.K. Chesterton. He left his mark on Christian literature with his books on Christian apologetics, including Mere Christianity, which offers a reasoned and logical case for the truth of his faith.
2. Billy Graham
Billy Graham is a Southern Baptist preacher who has been a spiritual adviser to 12 American presidents. He has authored dozens of books, including The Secret of Happiness, Angels: God’s Secret Agents, and his own autobiography. He has left his mark as a television preacher and prison crusader. He is a much-admired man who fought for civil rights and has the ability to transcend national politics.
3. Rick Warren
The pastor the California megachurch Saddleback Church hit it big in 2002 with The Purpose Driven Life. The book, which includes a 40-day personal devotional, had one of the longest runs for advice books in the history of the New York Times Best Seller list. The success of the book spurred a national movement in the United States among churches and Warren became one of the country’s most widely-recognized evangelist preachers. He even hosted a debate for the presidential candidates in 2008 on spiritual issues.
4. Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
Although these two authors have written works separately, it was their Left Behind series published in the late 1990’s that left an indelible mark on American culture. The series of 16 novels topped the bestselling lists and inspired several action films and computer games. The authors focused their writings on the “end times,” with a cast of characters left behind after the “rapture.” This stirred an interest in the study of the Bible’s eschatological writings.
5. James Dobson
This founder of the organization Focus on the Family has left his mark as an evangelical leader and Christian author. His views have become widespread through his writings on traditional marriage and child discipline. He has been an outspoken supporter of conservative politics.
When she’s not rereading the Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, Louise Baker is writing about online schools for Zen College Life, a directory of higher education. She most recently wrote about the best accredited online colleges.