A Christian Reading Manifesto (Worth Your Time!)

This was a mention in one of Tim Challies’ a la carte last week, and it is powerful piece on the need for a new generation to take up the deliberate and diligent labor of reading. Yes, the author writes especially with young adults and young people in mind, and I would echo that urgent plea.

The author, Dr. David Steele, begins by laying out his concern as we face our technologically rich “information age”:

Despite the benefits of recent technological tools, we are also experiencing a phenomenon that should be of grave concern to pastors and Christian leaders. Many people, especially millennials (people born between 1981 and 1995) are eager to learn but appear resistant to reading. They are “on the verge,” in the prophetic words of Neil Postman, “of amusing themselves to death.”2 They may eagerly listen to a podcast or watch a YouTube video, but a growing number of people pass when it comes to the written page. They are quick to listen but slow to read. Thus, we stand at the crossroads. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips but many resist the challenge to read books. Pastors should be especially concerned as they seek to train and equip the next generation of Christian leaders, who are in many cases, reluctant to read.

But then he lays the groundwork for his “reading manifesto”:

Mark Noll laments, “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”3 Thirty years earlier, Harry Blamires offered an even grimmer assessment: “There is no longer a Christian mind; there is no shared field of discourse in which we can move at ease as thinking Christians by trodden ways and past established landmarks.”4 These allegations should serve as a warning and alert Christians, thus refueling their resolve for learning and spiritual growth. My own view is one of cautious optimism. That is, I maintain (despite the evidence) there is still hope for the evangelical mind. But a new awakening will require a commitment to, you guessed it … reading.

I offer this Christian Reading Manifesto as a brief rationale and apologetic for evangelicals, especially young people. My hope is that many will respond to the challenge and enter a new era of learning which will accelerate their Christian growth and sanctification. Lord willing, this new resurgence of learning will impact countless lives in the coming days and help spark a new Reformation.

What follows are his seven (7) points about reading, each of which is essential. I encourage all our readers – and especially our young people! – to take note of these points. Print this article off and reference repeatedly this summer. And then dive into a classic of the Christian faith. Steele offers some good suggestions, but there are plenty of others. I think of J.I. Packer’s Knowing God or A.W. Pink’s Sovereignty of God. If you need help finding a book, I’d be happy to assist you. I’m confident we could find one that matches your interests and that would challenge you at the same time.

Source: A Christian Reading Manifesto – Veritas et Lux