Friday, April 4, 2008

To Read the Old or the New?

"...if he must read only the new or only the old [Christian works], I would advise him to read the old... he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet... 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... We all... need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period... None of us can fully escape this blindness..." ~ C. S. Lewis

I think this is very wise advise. We are all, in one way or another, a product of our age and therefore have similar blind spots which lead to similar mistakes. When we read a work from a different culture and a different time we can finally, in various ways, step outside of our cultural biases and see truth from another perspective. Indeed other ages had their own biases, but they are in at least some ways different from our own. They may have missed things we can see clearly, but they may also see things clearly that we miss and this is vitally important if we desire to glorify God in wisdom and truth. A diverse diet of old and new Christian works can give us brief glimpses of our biases and can reveal truth to which we may be blind if left to our own reason.

By His Grace,

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