Why Read Old Books & How Often

This Saturday our Oxford Club for Men dives into the introduction and first chapter of A Practical View of Christianity by William Wilberforce. For information on the meeting click here.

I confess I am eager to tackle such a challenging manuscript by someone long since gone to his heavenly reward for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is this counsel from another voice from the past, C. S. Lewis:

There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books…. Now this seems topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old…. A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light…. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between…. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books (“Introduction” in On the Incarnation by Athanasisus, 3-5).

I can smell the salt air already. Hope to see many of the brothers on Saturday at 7.

Next Oxford Club for Men

We got off to to a good start this morning discussing the preface.

Our next meeting is slated for April 21 at 7 AM. Place is TBA.

We will tackle, Lord willing, the introduction and chapter one of A Practical View of Christianity by William Wilberforce.

I still have one copy of the Hendrikson Classic version if anyone is interested. See me tomorrow and I will be happy to place it in your hands. Cost is $10 or whatever you can afford.

To guide your study click Study Guide #2 Intro and Chapter 1.

New Oxford Book Now in Stock!

I managed recently to secure fourteen copies of the Hendriksen Classics version of our new read for the Oxford Club for Men. I am talking about William Wilberforce’s classic, A Practical View of Christianity.

Copies will be available this Sunday at the SDA resource table for a donation of $10 or whatever you can afford. While the study guide below will not conform to the pdf version of the book available free on line, and keeping in mind that this ebook version is not updated to modern English, you can still read it here if you prefer. For a previous post introducing this history-shaping resource click here.

We had to push back our first meeting to begin discussing this book to March 31 at the church office. We are on schedule to meet at 7 AM that day at the church office (bring your own breakfast) and a discussion of the preface.
For help in your prep here is Study Guide #1 – Preface.

May the Lord use this book that helped catalyze the Second Great Awakening to stir our hearts for pursuing great satisfaction in Jesus and passion to influence our culture for Him.

A Practical View of Christianity

Pastor Procrastinator has finally made a decision. The ball has been called on the next book for our Oxford Club for men.

Starting March 10, 7 AM at the church office, we will begin to tackle the only book William Wilberforce, Britain’s 19th century champion of the movement to abolish the wickedness of the slave trade, ever wrote, A Practical View of Christianity.

Chuck Colson, in writing the preface to the Hendrikson Christian Classics version of the book (1996) called it:

. . . a direct challenge to the corrupted church of his day. But the book’s impact can scarcely be overstated. It became an instant bestseller, and remained one for the next fifty years . . . . A Practical View is credited with helping spark the second Great Awakening (the first was begun by Wesley) and its influence was felt throughout Europe and rippled across the ocean to America (p. xv).

Need I say more. Oh that it would please God to use this work to flame the fires of revival in our brotherhood!

I am pleased to say as well that we can access the text from a number of different directions.

For the ebook version click here.

For a pdf version click here.

For a google books version click here.

For a good, old fashion book version, and the text from which I will lead our discussions, click here. The cost through Amazon is only $10.25 plus shipping. If enough of you want this version and will tell me, I will make a bulk order and we can avoid the shipping altogether. Just shoot me an email at revheff@gmail.com.

A study guide for our first meeting will come along shortly. Please pray with me that God will us this book mightily in our lives!

Masculine Mandate & Oxford Club for Men

Our next meeting for the men of OGC will take place on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 7 AM at the office.

If you need a jolt to motivate yourself to jump in on our study regarding biblical masculinity, take a gander at this clip.

Sobering, to say the least.

If that doesn’t rattle your cage and make you want to read chapter two in Richard Phillip’s book, I don’t know what will. It’s not too late to get on board and join the discussion. We’ve only tackled the first chapter so far. Copies of the book are available at the resource table on Sundays for $7.50.

Here is the study guide for chapter two to help get the most out of your reading.

The Masculine Mandate
Study Guide #2

1. What character from literature, film, or TV have you identified at some point as a “walking cornucopia of manliness?” How would you sum up that character’s approach?

2. How again does Phillips define our calling in life (Gen. 2:15) on p. 12? What two words say it all?

3. What would you say best describes your understanding of your calling before encountering Phillips’ grid? How do the two perspectives compare and/or contrast?

4. How would you unpack in your own words the first component of our masculine mandate? How does 2 Thess. 3:6-15 (not cited in the book) add to your insight about this component?

5. What two areas belong to the “gardens” to which we as men are called to give ourselves as cultivators? Of the two, where do you feel more competent and why?

6. What great misconception regarding gender roles does Phillips attempt to explode on p. 14? How do you react to his statement: God has given the primary calling of emotional and spiritual nurture to men and many of us fail to do it well? Why do you think men struggle with nurturing?

7. How would you unpack in your own words the second component of our masculine mandate? What further insight do you gain from Psalm 128 about this dimension of our calling?

8. How does the author exhort us to apply our responsibility to “bear the sword” at the bottom of p. 15? Where do you find yourself most challenged in these three areas and why?

9. How does Phillips define greatness at the end of the chapter? Whom would you identify as an example of this in your own life or in the greater body of Christ today and why?

10. What steps of practical application do you derive from this second chapter? How might you approach your own masculine mandate differently as a result of the reading and our discussion?