Youth Feature: Why not read a dead author?

Jason Ramsey
01 November, 2010 1 min read

Why not read a dead author?

As part of the work I do with ET, I get books sent to me from time to time to read, that are aimed at young people.

Never in the history of Christianity has so much been written by young people or for young people than in the last century! And that is a really good thing.

For the same reasons that we have youth groups, youth books are helpful. Specific application for young people and dealing with problems young people face are going to be useful. For the same reason, we produce and publish these ET youth pages for your reading and enjoyment.

But while all these things are indeed good, they can have massive downsides that I have noticed. One is a down-playing of theology. So much focus on application, and a misunderstanding of how much teenagers can and need to understand has led to too many practical ‘how to’ manuals without enough theological content.

If a young man or woman wants to grow as a Christian, they don’t need a set of practical manuals; they need a book on God and on Christ. While there are a few practical teenage books out there packed with theology, many are not. And for that reason, I want to encourage every young man and woman: why not, just for a change, read a book written by someone dead?

Reading books by the likes of C. H. Spurgeon, J. C. Ryle, Thomas Watson, John Owen (and countless other puritan writers) can be, while incredibly challenging to read, very helpful and worthwhile when you get through it.

Puritans especially had a high view of God and reading those books or a prayer book like Valley of vision could help you mature and grow in your faith and love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Also, knowing the doctrine of perseverance of the saints encourages us, knowing that these great authors lived for Jesus right to the very end. We can be really helped by what they wrote, knowing just that.

So there is your challenge: Why not try reading a dead author? It will certainly do you some good, even if it makes your head hurt!

Jason Ramsey

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