The Gospel in Dickens: Selections from His Works (The Gospel in Great Writers #6)

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


The Gospel in Dickens: Selections from His Works (The Gospel in Great Writers #6)


Edited by Gina Dalfonzo, with a foreword by Karen Swallow Prior


Plough Publishing House

Publication Date:

September 22, 2020




250 pages


Charles Dickens has been described as a lot of things. Overly wordy. Archaic. Religious but probably a Unitarian. But as Gina Dalfonzo and Karen Swallow Prior point out, these claims don’t really stand up to light. Dickens was certainly a passionate writer who used lots of words, but he didn’t over-write for more money. As Prior notes in her forward, the common claim that Dickens was paid by the word for his books is actually false. He was also quick to judge hypocritical Christians in his books and wasn’t fond of doctrinal disputes, but he had a deep love for Scripture and spoke about his Christian beliefs frequently in his letters. His work, both fiction and nonfiction, is filled with Biblical language and themes (particularly guilt and moral comeuppance). Dalfonzo gives readers a selection of Dickens’ writings, both fiction and nonfiction. The passages come from a wide range of Dickens’ work, from his best-known novels like Great Expectations and Bleak House to lesser-known works such as his posthumously published book The Life of Our Lord.

Dalfonzo organizes these quotes around three sections:

  • Sin and its Victims
  • Repentance and Grace
  • The Righteous Life

In the appendix, Dalfonzo reprints two letters Dickens wrote which highlight his religious beliefs.

This is the sixth book in Plough’s series of books about spiritual themes in classic authors’ works, and it doesn’t disappoint. Dalfonzo has picked a fascinating selection that shows how Dickens’ use of Biblical imagery and his indignation at hypocrisy appears not just in his most famous works but across the board. Her introductions before the quoted passages help as well, putting Dickens’ ideas in their proper context.

A wonderful look at a classic writer and the beliefs which drove him.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers interested in Charles Dickens’ work and the spiritual themes that appeared throughout his writing.

Christian Impact

Dalfonzo helps readers to see the Christian ideas that Dickens was passionate about, many of them ideas that Western Christianity has neglected in recent years and needs to return to. This makes the book not only compelling, but also quite topical.

Note: This book is the sixth one in The Gospel in Great Writers series by Plough, each one looking at religious ideas in the writings of a classic Christian author. To read ECLA’s review of the series’ previous book, The Gospel in Dorothy Sayers, go to:

The Gospel in Dickens: Selections from His Works

2 Responses to “The Gospel in Dickens: Selections from His Works (The Gospel in Great Writers #6)”

  1. Thank you for an excellent review of this sixth volume in a beloved series! I’d like to quote an excerpt on the Plough book page, if I may. May I request a small correction? Should be: “As *Dalfonzo* notes in her *introduction*, the common claim that Dickens was paid by the word for his books is actually false.” Again, thank you for introducing your readers to this wonderful anthology. best wishes, Maureen, Plough Publishing House

    • I’m flattered that someone at Plough enjoyed this review, Maureen. Feel free to quote it on Plough’s page, I look forward to seeing the excerpt. I will look into adding the correction to this review, keep in mind that may involve reposting the review which may remove your comment.
      Thanks very much,
      G. Connor Salter

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