Something I’ve noticed lately has got me thinking… why is it that a lot of Christians I know tend to gravitate to contemporary selections when it comes to extra-biblical reading? That is if they read. Many don’t read anything beyond fiction. I’ve taken the opposite extreme, I tend only to read non-fiction books that are ministry, apologetics or theology related.
This is a trend I’ve seen among pastors as well. Youth pastors tend to be the worst culprits. There isn’t anything wrong with reading new stuff, but I tend to think that if that is all of the reading we do we are not balanced.
Also a trend I’ve seen with pastors, and youth pastors in particular, is loading up on ministry “how to” books. Again, nothing wrong with that, but balance is they key as well. Also I’ve noticed with many Christians a lack of desire to tread deep in theological waters. When I see that same trend in pastors & youth pastors I am fearful.
It bothers me when I see some in ministry being shaped theologically by Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Shane Claiborne, and Tony Campolo. I wonder if they have read Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Knox, and Huss. Even perhaps some later theologians (some alive, some with the Lord) like Jonathan Edwards, James Boice, Wayne Grudem, Millard Erickson, John Stott, D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, R.C. Sproul, and many others.
The results of this from what I can see have been: theologically shallow sermons, biblically illiterate churches, confused worldviews, and a trend to exegete the Bible based on culture rather than exegeting the culture with the Bible.
Evangelicals, by and large, don’t tend to think theologically about different positions they hold or beliefs that they have. Recent surveys have shown that the majority of Evangelicals don’t even think Christianly. The result being that many times in our beliefs and behavior we don’t really look that much different than the world we should desire to influence.
What do you think? Am I off base or am I on to something? I’d love to read your comments.