5 Books That Changed My Life: Christopher Cleveland

Posted On September 05, 2023

Books can play a profound role in shaping our thinking about God, ourselves, and the world around us. We recently asked Dr. Christopher Cleveland, our associate professor of Christian thought, to share five books that have been particularly influential in his life.

1. John Owen, Christologia

This book is an excellent treatment of the importance of the person of Christ for the Christian faith. I found this book online when I was seventeen, and it radically changed my life. Reading it was a wonderful experience because every chapter presented some new and glorious truth about the Lord Jesus Christ. I could not put it down. It remains one of my favorite books to read to this day.

2. R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God

Dr. Sproul’s book The Holiness of God is a classic work on the attribute of God known as His holiness. I also read this when I was a teenager, and it made a huge impact on me. It presents a vivid picture of the biblical teaching regarding the holiness of God. This book helps us to understand worship and our right posture toward God and is thus valuable for the way that we live the Christian life.

3. Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God

Charnock wrote this massive tome on the existence and attributes of God in the seventeenth century. I read portions of it when I was young, and it had a significant effect on my life. This is because he articulates the nature of the divine attributes so clearly and vividly upon the basis of Scripture.

4. St. Anselm of Canterbury, The Proslogion

This work is an extended theological argument regarding the divine nature, expressed in the form of a prayer. In the process, Anselm develops an argument for the existence of God and then draws conclusions regarding His nature from it. The psalm-like character of the prayers in this book have been formative for me.

5. Sir Thomas Mallory, Le Morte D’Arthur

This work is a fifteenth-century version of the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. While not a work of theology, this book greatly influenced me when I was young because of its portrayal of chivalry, nobility, and honor. The most significant part of the story for me was the tale of the Quest for the Holy Grail. This story emphasized the importance of purity and how only the pure in heart in Christ could complete the quest. These ideals have stuck with me since that time and have shaped how I live my life.