Have we lost our love for reading?

I remember when I was back in grade school there was a large campaign going on whose aim was to get every child to read more thus creating a future full of more intelligent children. I’m not sure their initiative worked but we have come such a long way since then. I am an avid fan of reading and very seldom will you find me without a book in my hands, on my shelves, or on my Kindle. My main focus recently has been of the theological persuasion, for example, I have been reading a systematic theology of Benjamin Warfield, Doctrine by Mark Driscoll, and many of the confessions and  catechisms of the early church fathers. Among those books my shelves are lined with other heavyweight theological titles both old and new. C.S. Lewis has been of most helpful to me when saying,

“There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient
books should be read only by the professionals, and that the
amateur should content himself with the modern books. . . . This
mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the
old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology. . . . Now
this seems to me topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a
writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern
books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would
advise him to read the old. . . . It is a good rule, after reading a
new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have
read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you
should at least read one old one to every three new ones. . . . We
all . . . need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes
of our own period. And that means the old books. . . . We may
be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century
. . . lies where we have never suspected it. . . . None of us can
fully escape this blindness. . . . The only palliative is to keep the
clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and
this can be done only by reading old books.”

I think among the church landscape today there has been a loss of the love of reading. There are many good reasons for not being able to read as much as the other guy but there are some horrible reasons, such as slothfulness or loss of zeal. We must be more earnest in our day to read all types of literature, I myself am focused on one topic when my base should be more broad. One of the subjects I have seen a loss of zeal for, in my opinion, is Apologia. I have become aware, even in myself, that the subject of Apologetic literature is shied away from, mainly because of the mental capacity it takes to tackle such a subject. I have recently purchased, The Reason for God by Dr. Keller, which is a good starting point for me because Keller makes his information easy to understand and applicable in a variety of situations. But as a whole I must be more diligent to read a broader base of subjects.

If we are Calvinist, we must read Arminianism Theology. We need to know about the downgrade controversy, Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism. We must take on theologians  like Karl Barth, Abraham Kuyper, G.K. Chesterton, John Calvin, St. Augustine, Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards. We should read about fundamentalism, existentialism, church dogmatics, neo-calvinism, dispensationalism, and the like. Let me exhort you, and myself, to take up subjects that are beyond us and which can cause headaches among many of us. I have determined to take up a reading plan for next year that will test and try, not only my intellect, but also my resolve to know God more and seek Him in the Word. If you want to take up this reading plan with me, please email me at dugdeepministries@gmail.com and let me know. I’ll be reading through  the Bible, Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, The Book of Concord, and the Heidelberg Catechism. It’s got some theological punch to it but my prayer for that plan is that God would stretch my mind and grow my heart leading to an application of truth and an outpouring of service to God’s glory alone. Let me leave you with this quote from Mortimer Adler on the necessity of difficult books.

“The mind can atrophy, like the muscles, if it is not used. . . . And
this is a terrible penalty, for there is evidence that atrophy of the
mind is a mortal disease. There seems to be no other explanation for the fact that so many busy people die so soon after
retirement. . . .Television, radio, and all the sources of amusement and information that surround us in our daily lives are . . .
artificial props. They can give us the impression that our minds
are active, because we are required to react to stimuli from outside. But the power of those external stimuli to keep us going is
limited. They are like drugs. We grow used to them, and we continuously need more and more of them. Eventually, they have
little or no effect.”

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