Tuesday, June 11, 2013

What Would Jesus Read?


A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere. ~CS Lewis 

Faithful atheists aren’t alone in fearing the ubiquitous traps of literature. Upon reading last week’s piece, “Eat the Meat & Spit Out the Bones” a mortified pastor responded: “I would NEVER...EVER council [sic] someone to ‘eat the meat and spit out the bones.’ To do so would be to disqualify me as an under shepherd of the Good Shepherd. 

Below is my answer to him. May God bless your reading. 

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I think you are perhaps getting hung up on semantics. You don't like the phrase "eat the meat and spit out the bones."  

Yet I believe you are fine with: "all non-inspired authors’ works need to be interpreted through a biblical lens, processed through a Christian worldview, and digested with discernment." If you will but reread my article, you will discover that this is precisely what I mean by the "dreaded" phrase. 

I am not comfortable with telling my congregants what they can or cannot read, watch, or listen to.  

(I do not see such "oversight" in scripture. However, I have seen heavy-handed pastors who feel empowered to dictate all things to their folks...it's usually not pretty.) 

However, I am very comfortable teaching scripture, instilling godly principles and thought patterns, and developing minds and hearts with a biblical worldview. As Paul exhorts,  

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ (Philippians 1:9-10). 

While I don't tell my people what they can or cannot read, it's been my joy to have various parishioners ask me about a particular book/article and/or author.  

On several occasions I have went through a book/article with an individual and discussed where the author is right or wrong. On nearly every occasion the person would remark that I confirmed to him/her what he/she was previously thinking. (I can’t describe how that makes me feel as a pastor!) 

I am a pastor. I am not a dictator. What a privilege, what a responsibility, to serve Christ as a trusted teacher of His precious, thinking people! 

As John MacArthur once observed concerning the call to pastoral ministry, “It is a mercy.”

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It’s also a mercy, dear reader, to live in a world which is filled with writing.  

My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. . . . In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad of eyes, but it is still I who see. (CS Lewis, “Experiment in Criticism”) 

So read! And whatever you read, see it through a biblical lens. And remember this too: There are more books than hours…so choose wisely. 

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