Charles Dickens's 200th birthday will be celebrated in 2012. Though his writings are now more than 100 years old, many remain in print and are avidly read and studied. Often overlooked--or unknown--are the considerable Christian convictions Dickens held and displayed in his work. This book fills that vacuum by examining Dickens the Christian and showing how Christian beliefs and practices permeate his work.
This historical work is written for pastors, students, and laity alike. Chapters look at Dickens's life and work topically, arguing that Christian faith was front and center in some of what Dickens wrote (such as his children's work The Life of Our Lord) and saliently implicit throughout various other characters and plots. Since Dickens's Christian side is rarely considered, Gary Colledge illuminates a fresh angle of Dickens, and the 200th birthday makes it especially timely.
Gary L. Colledge (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is currently an adjunct professor at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and at Walsh University in Canton, Ohio. He wrote his dissertation on Dickens and Christianity. Colledge is the author of Dickens, Christianity, and "The Life of Our Lord" and contributed several articles to the New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible.
"Colledge has written a serious, bracing, and inspiring book about one of the most underrated great writers in the English language. He shows clearly that Charles Dickens was a splendid example of what John Wesley called an 'experimental Christian,' a man less impressed by official pieties and sanctimonies of religious parties than by the hands-on, practical love of Jesus himself. This book shows clearly the power of the Law of Love at work in Dickens's masterful character portraits, and vindicates the conviction of G.K. Chesterton that even Dickens's 'anti-clericalism' or satire of false piety is, as it was in Chaucer before him, the scandalized ire of a true lover of the Way of the gospel. Dickens upholds a simple imitation of Christ as the remedy for social disorder and victimization, and Colledge convincingly shows how his work critiques a failed Christian practice and admonishes Christians to follow Christ more authentically." -David Lyle Jeffrey, distinguished professor of literature and the humanities, Baylor University
"In his highly readable book, Colledge does what every good critic should: he puts Dickens center stage and allows the author to speak for himself. Colledge helps us clearly hear the challenge Dickens makes to his readers to more closely follow Christ's example of compassion and caring. This book is long overdue." -Devin Brown, professor of English, Asbury University; author of The Christian World of "The Hobbit"
"Tolstoy and Dostoevsky both referred to Dickens as 'that great Christian writer.' Gary Colledge unpacks in great detail what that means in a winsome and convincing treatment that shows exactly how foundational Dickens's Christian faith and practice was to his work and life. Both accessible and direct, the book is conversant with and informed by ongoing Dickens scholarship without being academic. Colledge argues that Dickens was not a Christian novelist but a novelist who was deeply Christian, and helps the reader understand the difference. Just as Dickens emphasized practical Christianity that responds to the world's needs, so Colledge uses his deep understanding of Dickens to help the church think about its call today." -Daniel Taylor, author of Creating a Spiritual Legacy
"God and Charles Dickens offers new and valuable insight into the expression of Christian faith in the work of Dickens--and does so in an engaging and highly readable style." -Susannah Clements, associate professor and chair of the Department of Language and Literature, Regent University; author of The Vampire Defanged