In early preparation for a class I will be teaching in January on the Gospel of John I pulled a book off my shelf entitled Studies in the Fourth Gospel. Written by one of my favorite authors, it was published in 1969. Most of us would say: Wow, that’s an old book! And it is.
But I learned a long time ago that just because a book is old does not mean it doesn’t have something to say. In the preface of this book author Leon Morris writes, “I read books by [authors] of all sorts of opinions and profit not least from those with whom I disagree most fundamentally.”
I confess I do the same thing. I read books, articles, and posts of all kinds written by people with whom I do not agree. And I learn and grow from what I read.
That is not to say I don’t read material written by people with whom I agree. I read lots of things written by such authors. And I gain much from reading them.
I don’t think we should be afraid to read authors with whom we disagree. I think it can be good for us informing us and sometimes challenging us. I don’t think we need to read such material all the time, but I think we should include some in our reading diet. For example, the last several days I have read widely about the Supreme Court’s recent decision on gay marriage and how Christians should respond. I agree with some of what I read and I disagree with some of what I read. But I am now better acquainted with the thinking of others on the subject.
By the way, I think we should also include in our reading some old, older, and even ancient writings. (Hint: that includes the Bible.)
Do you agree?
Feel free to leave a comment below if you would like.