Man can only find life among the dead.
The problem, in my opinion, is what has been called "chronological snobbery." C.S. Lewis likely coined the term and it is mentioned in his excellent autobiography, Surprised by Joy. The basic idea of "chronological snobbery" is that ideas and books and art that is made in our own time is somehow better or maybe more applicable than ideas and books and art from ages past. I think that this assumption, that the new is somehow better, is one of the worst and most damaging beliefs commonly held in Evangelical Christianity today - and it is held by nearly everyone.
Some of the best writing on this idea of chronological snobbery comes from G.K. Chesterton, before Lewis had ever coined the term. In his book, What's Wrong with the World, Chesterton wrote of "the modern mind," being "forced towards the future by a certain sense of fatigue, not unmixed with terror, with which it regards the past." He writes profoundly that "the future is a refuge from the fierce competition of our forefathers," and "I can make the future as narrow as myself; the past is obliged to be as broad and turbulent as humanity." Another idea I've seen expressed somewhere and with which I fully agree is that when we listen to the voices of ages past we live in a much more democratic world. This idea would also apply to the Church. Why do we accept the undemocratic idea that only those Christians currently living should have a vote when it comes to the interpretation of Scripture or the order of worship or the Christian life? Perhaps it is because the Church is not a democracy. But this fact does not save the modernist or post-modernist from scrutiny. Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth (John 16:13) and I've often heard this verse used as a rationalization for some novel theology or practice among Christians. But if this promise is true, that the Holy Spirit has been guiding His people into all truth, then He has been doing it for the past 2000 years and not for the past 50 or 100 as most Evangelicals seem to understand it. Therefore when Christians have understood Scripture to say something about a theological issue for many centuries, their understanding should have more weight than whatever fads are currently affecting the Church.
If Christ has not returned in 500 years I am certain that nearly all modern writers will have passed out of the memory of the populace and of the Church. Perhaps C.S. Lewis will still be remembered and read. But I am certain that Athanasius and Augustine and Luther and Calvin will still be read and will still have a profound influence on God's people. So my question is, why do we waste our time on writers who will not stand the test of time when great riches of thought and theology and devotion by saints unquestionably inspired (not as Scripture is inspired) by God are readily available? I think the clear answer is arrogance. We audaciously think we have discovered a better Christianity or a clearer understanding of Scripture than they had. We should spurn that "refuge" of the future and instead keep company with that great communion of saints which has gone before us. We should commune with them in their understandings of Scripture, in the liturgy and in the sacraments which we share.