My challenge to you is to read “old” as much as possible. Read Spurgeon, Whitefield and Wesley. Read old sermons and old books from old dudes.
Why? Because these guys weren’t distracted by Tivo or Facebook or Twitter. They thought deeply, prayed passionately, wrote proficiently and thought deeply again. The depth of one Francis Schaeffer book could out wit and out pace the thought process of the typical Christian writer today (of which I am one!)
Charles Spurgeon read books by the Puritans. A.W. Tozer had his devotionals out of old hymnals. Why? Because there was vastly more solid theology in them that in the dribble that flowed from most of the pulpits of their times. If that was true 50 years ago (for Tozer) and 125 years ago (for Spurgeon) then how much more true is it today? God isn’t worried about our best life now or later for that matter. If you don’t believe me ask the early disciples who were beheaded, crucified upside down or boiled in oil! Instead, God was concerned that the early disciples were conformed to the image of Christ and working to do the same in the lives of others. His same concern lives on today in our lives. So read men and women of God who are going to help propel you there as quickly and effectively as possible.
And if you don’t read books that are old, then read books that are by old souls. Writers like Oz Guiness, Tim Keller, Chuck Swindoll, Francis Schaeffer and Lewis Sperry Chafer are among them. These old souls have something to say that carries a weight of glory to them, a heaviness that makes a difference and leaves an imprint on your soul.
I love the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” To be honest, much of the stuff I see on the shelves of the Christian bookstore doesn’t deserve to be eaten. Much of it is cotton candy (pop psychology with a few verses tacked on to attract the Christain crowd) or arsenic (humanistic philosophy disguised as a “relevant” Christianity for postmoderns.) Most of these books shouldn’t even be tasted because of the poison in them. Few of them should be even tasted. Why? Because much of what lies at the premise of their musings is the same tired, old lie that started in the Garden of Eden when the snake hissed to Eve,“Hath God said?”
But there is one old book we should taste, consume and digest as much as possible. That book is God’s Word. Speaking of the great writer John Bunyan, the great preacher Charles Spurgeon once commented, “His whole being was saturated with Scriptureâ€¦Prick him anywhere; and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his soul is full of the Word of God.â€
This is what happens when you ponder and practice the best old book of all time!