Groothuis Reading Guide to Political and Cultural Discernment

Deep reading is required for wise thinking and courageous action, even action against the odds. Political authoritarianism cannot work itself out in a well-educated, intellectually alert, and spiritually energized people. One line of defense against the jack boot crushing the face of humanity forever (Orwell) is the knowledge of what matters most, for time and eternity. The world was changed for Christ forever when St. Augustine heard a little child sing, “Take up and read. Take up and read.” He took up the Bible, read it, converted, and proceeded, through his life and writings, to do more to convert a pagan world into a Christian one than any one of his age.

“Take up and read.” What should we read today? I offer a short—and it is hard to keep it short—list of works that will spark the intellect, quicken the nerves, and expand the understanding for our times. Deep reading requires asesis (əˈskēsəs), at least for those whose habits are not literary. Jesus requirement for Kingdom service apply to reading as well as to everything else, “Deny yourself. Take up your cross daily, and follow me.”  I divide my reading list into spiritual reality, intellectual engagement, cultural development, and political judgment. Of course, these categories overlap. I assume a regular and deep reading and study of the Bible. As C. S. Lewis said, the Bible is an education in itself.

Spiritual Reality

  1. St. Augustine, The Confessions
  2. J. P. Moreland, Kingdom Triangle
  3. Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality

Intellectual Development

  1. J. P. Moreland, Love Your God with All Your Mind.
  2. John Stott, Your Mind Matters
  3. Os Guinness, Fit Bodies, Fat Minds

Cultural Discernment

  1. Os Guinness, Renaissance
  2. Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism.
  3. Francis Schaeffer, Death in the City
  4. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

Political Judgment

  1. Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451.
  2. Rod Dreher, Live Not by Lies
  3. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
  4. Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto
  5. George Orwell, 1984 and Animal Farm
  6. George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language.”
  7. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart: Commencement Address Delivered at Harvard University, June 8, 1978.

Take up and read. The fate of your soul and the fate of your world depends on it.

5 thoughts on “Groothuis Reading Guide to Political and Cultural Discernment

  1. That’s an interesting list most likely of men who have the mind of Christ. I used to be a voracious reader of literature and loved history and went to college several times. Ever learning. Then I read the Bible and put most of that stuff away and would recommend people spend more time with the Bible and less in other works unless they are biblical studies. Because God uses his book to build the mind of Christ in you and you want that good spiritual mind built in you before being diverted by anybody else. With the mind of Christ you can then be a doer of the Word which is the will of God. Once you are a doer then you can preach, teach and exhort all the people who were too busy to let the mind of Christ be built in them. Then once they do the will of God He will reveal to them what His will is for their life. Before then everyone with an opinion tries to guide you. But best to have the best counsel which is God’s and who knows what purpose He built you for better than He does? Try loving and obeying Him and performing His will and see what happens.

    I am still learning today but it’s mainly Bible related. If you are from a long line of teachers and teach the Bible then you need to be really proficient on this stuff. The Holy Spirit is our tutor and people with the teachable spirit are apt to relearn a lot while putting it all into practice. Nobody knows it all but God.

  2. Thanks Doug for all you do and encourage others to become.  Robert howard Sent from Mail for Windows 10 From: Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.Sent: Friday, January 1, 2021 1:01 PMTo: rljehoward@gmail.comSubject: [New post] Groothuis Reading Guide to Political and Cultural Discernment Douglas Groothuis posted: " Deep reading is required for wise thinking and courageous action, even action against the odds. Political authoritarianism cannot work itself out in a well-educated, intellectually alert, and spiritually energized people. One line of defense against the "

  3. Google a tract by a missionary called:
    Christians, We Have A Problem With Our “Good News.” By Gerry Beauchemin.

    On the Tentmaker site.

    Maybe if we could deliver the right Gospel message we wouldn’t have the militant atheists and literal fundy ChrIstians up in arms against each other all the time. Who tells an unbeliever in a bald faced manner that they are going to hell when they never bothered to teach them the scriptures or researched the ancient languages? But it happens. Especially on internet sites. No wonder so many refuse to understand that God is love. Maybe because so many Christians replaced Him with wrath and fear in their messages. What may be seen as a warning by a Christian may be perceived as a smug threat by someone else and eternal torment is a lie anyway. So have the teachable spirit and read up on the false doctrine of eternal torment.

    If an apologist won’t debunk a bad doctrine then who will?

  4. John 7:17, ESV: “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.”

    Meaning: in Greek philosophy misunderstanding causes disobedience. But Christ said disobedience causes misunderstanding.

  5. I have a folder on my laptop where I keep 12 lists of books by theme/category which I am working my way through in a structured reading schedule, including Shakespeare, Chesterton, Lloyd-Jones, apologetics, classical novels, historical fiction, Great Books of the Western World, etc. This article has now been added to the 12 lists and become list 13 – so now working my way through these too Thank you.

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