Jer.6:16 – Thus says the LORD:
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

I have been criticized for many things over the years but I think the funniest thing I have been accused of is possibly quite true. Someone said that I quote dead people in my sermons. I confess, I am guilty of quoting the dead. Funny thing is the Bible was written by “dead people” and even my critics quote the Bible. What got me started in my obsession with reading and quoting old dead people happened after the outpouring of the Spirit began to effect my church in 1994. Strange phenomenon were happening quite regularly in our services so I decided to look closely at revival history to see what I found. Over the next few years I became obsessed with the Great Awakening and specifically the writings of Jonathan Edwards. It was as if the revival winds of another century were blowing through the pages of his writings and I simply couldn’t get enough. Here is how C. S. Lewis describes the importance of reading old books.

“This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology. Wherever you find a little study circle of Christian laity you can be almost certain that they are studying not St. Luke or St. Paul or St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas or Hooker or Butler, but M. Berdyaev or M. Maritain or M. Niebuhr or Miss Sayers or even myself (contemporary authors in Lewis’s day). 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. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet.”

This paragraph is something I stumbled upon during my quest for the ancient paths. It was a confirmation to me that I was on the right path. For some reason Christians seem to be fixated with the fact that we are growing in revelation as time goes on. I think maybe the opposite is true, we tend to forget the lessons of the past and ignore the teachers the Lord raised up historically. So maybe its time for you to read Luther, or Augustine, or Edwards or possibly Paul the Apostle for yourself. Its not good enough to go by what others said that they said, you need to go there for yourself. So find yourself a good old book and maybe the Lord will use it to make all things new in your life.

1 thought on “READING OLD BOOKS”

  1. Gathering a life perspective is uniquely obtained. However long we remain teachable and the sources we are introduced to have the opportunity to resonate or even be rejected. Will we get some things wrong? Likely, but that’s where the Fathers oversight and our sincere humility steers us towards His course.

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