5 Stars Out Of 5
It's Time We Found Our Bearings
November 24, 2013
Thanks to Crossway Books this is the newest book from the pen of David F. Wells and looks to be an important contribution not only to the series of books he has written but as well to our own lives as Christians today.
So many of us don't realize how much we have been affected by the culture around us. Yet the symptoms show up daily. In our reasoning about our culture regarding what's good and what's bad. In our attention span and ability to focus on God and His truth. In our conception of God and what He does for us. In how it is that we can meet with this God and His claims on our daily lives. And so on.
If you are familiar with the work of David Wells you will know that he has written extensively on the impact of culture on the church. Beginning with No Place for Truth: Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology he was launched into further analysis in God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams, Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision, and Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World. He then summed these up with The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World.
As he says,
"These volumes were a sustained cultural analysis and some critics have complained that they contain no answers to the church's current parlous state. The criticism has some merit. In my mind, I assumed an answer to the dilemmas unearthed and was not always as explicit in setting this out as I should have been."
And so now in this newest book he seeks to offer the answer:
"The more I have been engaged with what has happened in Western culture, the clearer has become my understanding of what has been principally lost in the evangelical Church. It is our understanding of God's character but an understanding in which that character has "weight." We now need to return, as God's people have done so often in the past, to find again what has been lost. And now, in this volume, I have shifted my focus. No longer am I so preoccupied with the culture part of the equation. Now I am look- ing out on life from the other side of things, what is symbolized by "Christ" in the Christ-and-culture juxtaposition of things. This volume reflects on what we have so often lost in our work of framing Christ- and-culture. It is the holy-love of God."
Wells is a sharp guide to the problems of our culture and its influence on us. This book offers a wonderful opportunity to get our bearings as Christians in this world, if we will reflect deeply upon it.
"But there is something important here for us to understand. It is that we must come to our triune God through this world and therefore, in our minds, we must deal with this world. There is no direct flight to God!_ . It is in our world, with all of its complexities, that we must live before the face of God."
"My focus throughout will be to offer a biblical theology of God's character but I will be doing so, all the time, with an awareness of the culture in which we live, at least those of us who live in the modernized West. This is a wonderful journey that Scripture sets before us.
Come, then, let us take our first steps down this road!"
Indeed. And that is just what he does, powerfully putting forth the theme of God's holy-love and how it speaks to us in our culture today. He begins by laying out the gospel from Old Testament to New. Then he spends time looking at God's character, specifically His love and His holiness. And then how the two beautifully meet in the atonement of Jesus Christ, His work on the cross. After that he looks at three things that flow from that: sanctification, worship and service. All with God's holy-love at the center.
This book is very accessible at just 272 pages long and written in a manner that enables a rewarding read.
In sum, set aside the money and take the time to read this important book and let us continue on this journey God has set before us.