What Are Your Favorite Brethren in Christ Books?

Here at the search for piety and obedience, we’re interested in all things Brethren in Christ: history, theology, literature, art — you name it, we like it.

So it stands to reason that we’re also interested in Brethren in Christ books, and — more specifically — what Brethren in Christ books speak to you, the readers. To that end, we’ve been asking folks to reflect on their “Three BIC Books” — the three Brethren in Christ texts that have meant the most to them — intellectually, spiritually, practically.

Thus far, I and two dedicated readers have shared our “three BIC books.” Check out our lists:

Devin C. Manzullo-Thomas
Harriet (Sider) Bicksler
Thomas B. Grosh IV

Readers: What are your “three BIC books”? And why are they your favorites? If you’ve got a list you’re interested in sharing on the blog (or if you’re willing to prepare one), leave a Comment below or shoot me an e-mail. I’ll get you set up.


About Devin Manzullo-Thomas

Father to Lucas. Husband to Katie. Prof and administrator at Messiah College. PhD student at Temple University. Member of Grantham BIC.
This entry was posted in Three BIC Books... and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What Are Your Favorite Brethren in Christ Books?

  1. My choices would echo Harriet Bixler’s. Maybe because Harriet’s and my growing up experiences were parallel in many ways: both of us missionary daughters; we were in fact girlhood friends; we both went off to boarding school for a time; we both even ended up with the same illness that laid us up temporarily.

    I grew up on There is No Difference: God Works in Africa and India. Of course, with my paternal grandfather as one of the authors, that is not surprising.

    I note that all three of you have picked The Quest of Piety and Obedience. I found this book to be essential BinC reading. Dr. Wittlinger’s excellent scholarship combined with a lucid writing style and clear-eyed approach to history make it mandatory reading for any serious BinC scholar.

    Finally, with my mother as of the subjects in Celebrating Women’s Stories: Faith Through Life’s Seasons, I had to pick this work as my final choice. It was wonderful reading the mini-biographies of so many women, sisters–who stood/stand every bit as tall as any BROTHER in the BinC church.

  2. Aubrey Hawton says:

    My choices would be the same as Devin’s, although if I had to put them in order, I think Bishop E. J. Swalm’s book would be at the top of my list. I suspect that has more to do with my first-hand knowledge and friendship with the author, who attended the Stayner BIC Church, and was a fixture there through my formative years. I remember many sermons on non-resistance through my first 20 years of life, and they influenced my convictions on this BIC core value. I suspect now, although I’m no longer have BIC membership, that I have stronger peace convictions than the majority of BIC members!

    My second choice would be the same a Devin’s second choice: Nine Portraits. Again, it’s partially based on quite personal reasons. My great-great-grandfather, Bishop Charles Baker, is one of the featured personalities. I can also play the “BIC Name Game” with some of the other personalities, based on some of the genealogical research that I’ve done.

    Finaly, Dr. Wittlinger’s thorough historical analysis of the BIC, from small, isolated Pennsylvania sect to ecumenically-minded denomination, has to be on every Top Three list for BIC readers, in my opinion. It was through it that I learned of the schisms in the BIC that have always fascinated me: the Brinserites; the Old Order River Brethren; the flirtation of some congregations with Russellism (for forerunner of the current Jehovah’s Witnesses); the development of the Calvary Holiness Church in Philadelphia and (briefly) a couple of other Pennsylvania locations, along with Apple Creek, Ohio; the difficulties in the Kindersley, Saskatchewan area that led to a Church of the Brethren congregation’s development. I’m eagerly awaiting the updates that are in preparation now.

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