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This month, in the Ordained Servant Online, Diane Olinger reviews the book Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke.
Much of Tony Reinkeâ€™s book Lit! is autobiographical, reflecting his journey in literature (89). He doesnâ€™t consider himself a natural born reader or scholar, but one who developed these characteristics, in spite of himself, as a result of his desire to learn more and more about Christ. Speaking of his conversion experience, he writes: â€śThe sight of Christâ€™s glory permanently changed my life. And it forever changed how I read books.â€ť Reinke is a theological researcher, writer, and blogger who has worked for C. J. Mahaney (who provides a foreword for Lit!) and Sovereign Grace Ministries. The title of the book refers to â€śthe motto of the reading Christianâ€ť: â€śIn your light do we see lightâ€ť (Ps. 36:9).
The book is separated into two parts: a theology of reading (chapters 1â€“6), and a collection of practical suggestions for readers (chapters 7â€“15). With respect to his theology of reading, Reinke begins with the idea that there are essentially two categories of literature: Scripture, which is inspired, inerrant, and supreme; and everything else, which is not. Reinke encourages us to â€śread the imperfect in light of the perfect, the deficient in light of the sufficient, the temporary in light of the eternalâ€ť (28). Christians can read a broad array of books to their benefit, but only if they read with the discernment that comes from a biblical worldview (59). Fallen creation â€ścontinues to emit the Creatorâ€™s glory, a glow that can be found in the pages of great booksâ€ť (16).
Reinke presents a theological justification for reading non-Christian books (which he defines as books not written by Christians or not written from â€śan explicitly Christian motive,â€ť (65). In doing so, Reinke acknowledges that Christianity is positioned antithetically to the world. We must read with an awareness of the gulf fixed between ourselves and the greater part of contemporary literature (60). However, Reinke insists that non-Christian literature has value as a bridge over this gulf. Read more...