A Plea to Read – Reformed Perspective

…or, the story of a boy, a repairman, and the Truth This recent article (posted Feb.1, 2018) on the Reformed Perspective website follows well on the heels of my previous post about the importance of “doing theology.”

In it, Rev. William den Hollander makes a “plea to read” based on the point that we are all theologians. But our theology, he correctly points, is dependent on the sources we use. And that’s where reading comes in. Here’s the point he wants to get across:

So, if we’re all theologians then the important question is what kind of theologians are we going to be? You see, the problem with the atheist isn’t that he’s a theologian, it’s that his theology is coming from the wrong source. If we don’t study theology from the right sources – if we don’t allow our thoughts and words about God to be shaped by the right sources – then our theology is going to be shaped by the wrong sources. If we don’t consciously do theology – that is, if we don’t consciously train our minds in the knowledge of God – we’re going to end up basing our theology either on our own experiences and our own feelings or on whatever else we happen to be taking in.

Because we are reading. Maybe some of us – and I’m talking especially about my generation and younger – are reading more than ever. I’m thinking of social media. Don’t tell me you’re not a reader if you’re on Facebook or Twitter. Maybe those who only use Instagram, which focuses on pictures, can have a legitimate claim not to be readers, but the other social media users can’t. [1]

But the problem with only reading online, and not engaging in books, is that by its very nature the online world tends towards the superficial. Let’s think specifically of theology – of the study of God. If your thoughts are shaped by your reading of little quotes that someone decided to share, taken out of context, written by who knows who, or if all you read are the musings of someone who is just “feeling philosophical” (as the Facebook status often says) then you can’t expect anything but superficial knowledge.

That, I think, is the biggest danger with losing our interest in reading deeply and studying deeply the doctrines of God found in his Word. We end up with an overall superficiality in terms of our theology, what we know about God. Worse, we can rely more on our subjective experiences than the objective truth we find in God’s Word.

Important point, is it not? It applies to reading blogs like mine too, with its short quotations and references to what others say on a given subject. But I hope you know by now that the point of my blog is precisely to accomplish what den Hollander is pleading for – more and better (deeper) reading, especially when it comes to our theology – our study of (learning about) God!

So don’t just read; read longer and deeper, as well as wider. In the Word. And in the words of men who have studied the Word and reflected on it and want to teach us something more about our God. Be a theologian grounded in God’s own self-revelation.

To read the rest of den Hollander’s article, visit the RP link below.

Source: A PLEA TO READ – Reformed Perspective