As a former pastor of thirteen years, a biblical evangelist of almost four years, and a used bookseller of about thirteen years I am shocked and awed by the lack of intelligent reading material in the homes of most Christians. This lack has nothing to do with the abundance of public libraries (at least here in the USA) which provide books for free. I am no scholar in the area of literacy, but it's safe to say that most Americans don't read for the following reasons:
- The predominant role that television plays in American culture.
- They were taught to hate reading by the public school system.
- Parents do not read to their children.
- The general "dumbing down" of America.
- The continued growth of the internet as the main source of knowledge.
- A suspicion of anything "intellectual".
- The dreck that is marketed to us as literature via the big Christian publishers and mini-big box Christian bookstores.
As I see it, there is hope. Those of us who are turned on to biblical evangelism from sources such as Way of the Master (and others) come to the table with the same cultural deficiencies. Fortunately, as believers move beyond the TV program and pick up some of Ray Comfort's books they discover the joy of reading. They see authors and preachers that he cites and they begin reading books by these men and women. Reading becomes a life-line for newly discovered ideas about theology and evangelism.
The "con" in this situation is that most popular biblical evangelism resources are online. Many of these new biblical evangelists don't depend on the printed word, but on what they can glean digitally using Google and "cut and paste". This isn't the same thing (by a long shot) as reading. The proof lies in the mangled use of the English language they use when they write. Readers generally become fairly good writers, even if they are not formally taught grammar or style.
My hope is that this blog serves to point biblical evangelists in the direction of good, theologically sound reading. This will help us move beyond the habit of parroting popular evangelists and become original thinkers and communicators of the magnificent Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. May He be glorified.