Tuesday, December 07, 2010
The Pastor’s Perspective
First Published: December 18, 2007
Twitter: are you really going to spend 2011 watching television?
This is our last First Epistle for the Year of our Lord, 2007. Our faithful editor will take a brief break and we’ll have the new year’s first edition out for you in the second week of January. In the meantime, allow me to leave you with a thought to ponder over of the holidays.
Read more in 2008! That’s it. Think about it, and do it. I was recently with a friend who had been briefed by some high-level officials in the publishing industry who were commented on how few people finish books (especially big ones!) anymore. Well, Christians ought to be readers. So are you reading enough? I don’t mean glossy magazines or professional rags or sports pages. I mean substantial Christian literature.
Maybe TV is one barrier to this. I love John Piper’s article on this subject – “You Have One Life: Is TV Too Big a Part of It?” Here’s what he says: “If all other variables are equal, your capacity to know God deeply will probably diminish in direct proportion to how much television you watch. There are several reasons for this. One is that television reflects American culture at its most trivial level. And a steady diet of triviality shrinks the soul. You get used to it. It starts to seem normal. Silly becomes funny. And funny becomes pleasing. And pleasing becomes soul-satisfaction. And in the end the soul that is made for God has shrunk to fit snugly around emptiness.”
“This may be unnoticed, because if all you’ve known is American culture, you can’t tell there is anything wrong. If you have only read comic books, it won’t be strange that there are no novels in your house. If you live where there are no seasons, you won’t miss the colors of fall. If you watch fifty TV ads each night, you may forget there is such a thing as wisdom. TV is mostly trivial. It seldom inspires great thoughts or great feelings with glimpses of great Truth. God is the great, absolute, all-shaping Reality. If he gets any air time, He is treated as an opinion. There is no reverence. No trembling. God and all that He thinks about the world is missing. Cut loose from God, everything goes down.”
“Just think how new TV is. In the 2000 years since Christ, TV has shaped only the last 2.5 percent of that history. For 97.5 percent of the time since Jesus, there was no TV. And for 95 percent of this time there was no radio. It arrived on the scene in the early 1900’s. So for 1900 years of Christian history people spent their leisure time doing other things. We wonder, what could they possibly have done? They may have read more. Or discussed things more. For certain they were not bombarded with soul-shrinking, round-the-clock trivialities.”
Pretty hard-hitting, huh? The whole area is worth reflection.
Want some suggestions? Okay, here are twelve books to read in 2008 (one fore each month). 1. John Stott, Basic Christianity (IVP). 2. R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God (Tyndale House). 3. John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life (Crossway). 4. Don Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation (Baker). 5. J.C. Ryle, Holiness (Evangelical Press). 6. J. I. Packer, Fundamentalism and the Word of God (Eerdmans). 7. J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness (Crossway Books). 8. John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Eerdmans). 9. David F. Wells, No Place for Truth (Eerdmans). 10. John Piper and Wayne Grudem, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway). 11. J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Eerdmans). 12. Westminster Confession of Faith (Free Presbyterian Publications).
Happy reading and Merry Christmas!
Posted by Ligon Duncan at 4:30 PM