This book club exists to help equip God's people to delight in His glory and declare that glory to our neighbors and the nations by applying the Scriptures to the great books of our culture, seeking to find areas where we share general revelation with the authors, and pointing out areas where the authors contradict God’s Word. We want to appreciate the works as literature, but also challenge the false philosophies and dangerous examples we find, and bring the gospel to our neighbors and the world using great literature as Paul did in Athens in Acts 17 when he quoted Greek poets while sharing his faith.
Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” All too often Believers are either disengaged from the culture around us or are immersed uncritically in the culture. When we are disengaged from the culture we struggle to share the gospel in any relevant fashion, but when we are immersed uncritically in the culture we can easily be taken captive by worldly philosophies and sins. Our study of Classical Literature seeks ways to appreciate and understand our culture, yet critically exam these books, comparing them to Scripture, so that we can then use the books to build bridges to the lost.
In the Old Testament we see people like Moses, Solomon, Daniel, Esther, Mordecai, and Nehemiah who were educated in the faith and Scripture, but also in the world’s ways. Moses refuted the false gods of Egypt, Solomon was able to answer all of the questions the Queen of Sheba asked, and Daniel, Esther, Mordecai and Nehemiah were able to minister effectively to their pagan kings. Part of their usefulness lay in their ability to communicate, listen, and relate to their kings at an intellectual level. Our book club, seeks to do the same thing.
Classical Lit & the Gospel began in the summer of 2019 with a study of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and how fallen man seeks to replace God with the State which leads to brutality and oppression, leaving man hopeless and desperate. In the fall we studied Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby which approached man’s condition from the opposite end of the spectrum, wealth and pleasure run amok, leading to dissipation and death. In Jan.-Feb. of 2020 we examined the children’s classic, Alice in Wonderland by Louis Carroll and looked at the adult world through a child’s eyes and saw how so much of our world is sheer nonsense! Later in 2020 we studied Ray Bradbury’s dystopian science-fiction classic, Fahrenheit 451.
Our method is to pick a classic, have about 3 sessions over a 9-10 week span, and cover the book thoroughly. We meet on designated Saturdays for about 2 hours with a fellowship meal where we listen to music that is related to the author or the work, then a lecture/discussion/application time where we examine the author’s life, the background to the work, and the text itself. Future studys will include Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and others.