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No Place for Truth: or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? Paperback – December 20, 1994


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No Place for Truth: or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? + 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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing; First Edition edition (December 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080280747X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802807472
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Time
"A stinging indictment of Evangelicalism's theological corruption."

Booklist
"An excellent addition to a theologian's library, this thorough study of the development of current evangelical expression will also inform the philosopher, the social observer, the cultural anthropologist, and even the interested general reader. . . Though profound, the book is easily approachable. Ecumenical thinkers will rank this presentation as the evangelical contribution to current interfaith dialogue."

Religious Studies Review
"A ground-breaking work in evangelical self-criticism. . . This book is must reading not only for evangelicals, but for those who know little and care less about the current evangelical constituency that now numbers a third of U.S. population. The acuity of Wells's analysis, as well as his self-critical spirit, show something of the intellectual prowess and recuperative powers within evangelicalism, and thus represent a small counterpoint to his otherwise accurate assessments."

Themelios
"While David Wells's careful reflection on the state of evangelicalism is firmly rooted in an American context, his analysis is so powerful and far-reaching that the Church throughout the Western world can scarcely to ignore it. . . This is a compelling book which must be taken seriously."

Christianity Today
"Wells's book is designed to be controversial. . . Many will agree with his incisive critique of modernity. Many of his pithy statements . . . will surely find their way into sermons. . . Wells is right in his claim that evangelicalism, if not evangelical theology, is flirting with abandoning objective truth through benign neglect. . . Wells's book can serve as a catalyst for evangelical self-examination."

Evangelical Journal
"I can find no fault with the method, style or validity of Wells' presentation. His demonstration of the changes wrought by modernity was both insightful and enjoyable; it provided the essential backdrop for his arguments about individualism and conformity, and their effects on the twentieth-century Christian. Especially impressive was his articulation of the changes wrought in the pastoral office. . . His writing style is scholarly, but accessible. . . . I would highly recommend No Place for Truth to everyone who now holds, or in the future plans to hold, a position of leadership in the church. It should be required reading at evangelical theological seminaries."

About the Author

David F. Wells is the Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. An ordained Congregationalist minister, he is also the author of more than a dozen previous books.

More About the Author

David F. Wells (PhD, University of Manchester) is the Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In addition to serving as academic dean at Gordon-Conwell's Charlotte campus, Wells has been a member of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, a distinguished lecturer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, and the recipient of a major grant from the Pew Charitable Trust. The author of numerous articles and books, he has written extensively on postmodernism, open theism, and the history of Christianity in America.

Customer Reviews

One of his most devastating critiques is of the modern seminary.
Martin Adams
If you are feeling that nobody around you knows what is right or what is wrong, this book is for you.
Marcelino Carvalho
I'm looking forward to ordering book number 2 in his series, God in the Wasteland.
John M. Alexander

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
In this brutally frank critique of modern evangelicalism, Wells demonstrates how the quest for "cultural relevance" in the evangelical church has in fact led to the church being co-opted by the some of the worst aspects of modern secular culture. Wells pulls no punches here. For instance, he characterizes the current vogue of "servant leadership" as simply being a crutch for pastors with no vision or ideas of their own, who must depend upon their congregations (or "audience") for direction. Although Wells seems a bit pessimistic in his overall view of modern society and culture, he is on target as far as the effects that modern culture has had on the evangelical church. Wells does an excellent job of describing the problem and tracing its origins, but he offers only some very general solutions - apparently he offers more in the way of answers in the companion volume to this book, God in the Wasteland. Proponents of the current models of "church growth" will probably find much to disagree with in this book; however, for those evangelicals who find themselves trying to make sense out of the changes that have swept the church in the past decade, this book is an excellent place to start.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Martin Adams on September 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a provocative, demanding and rewarding book that attempts to grapple with some of the central challenges of Christian thought and life in a modern or post-modern world. Looking through Amazon and one or two other online sites, it is clear that many readers have also read Mark A. Noll's The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. I have too; and by way of introduction to David F. Wells' book, it is worth making brief reference to the other.

Both books touch on similar subjects, though with different emphases. Both are concerned with the decline of what Noll calls "the life of the mind" within American evangelicalism; and both are concerned with how authoritative Christian thought can be sustained in this modern or postmodern world. I suspect that Noll's book has proved the more popular, even if the only direct evidence for that is the number of customer reviews on this site: 29 for Noll; 12 for Wells. And both books were published a year apart -- Wells in 1993, and Noll the following year. With a title like that, Noll was always going to be onto a winner!

However, I suspect that one of the reasons for these differing figures is that Wells writes from a different perspective, one that ultimately makes more demands on the reader. Another might be that Wells' position is subtly yet noticeably more pessimistic. Noll is an historian who is eminently capable of working in theology; Wells is a theologian who is eminently capable of working in history. One only has to look at satellite television to realise which of these subjects is the more popular; and I hope that nobody reading this review imagines that Christian television has any connection with theology!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Marcelino Carvalho on February 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
The people of God need to stop and to consider the path that they have been walking in the world. To become a relevant people, without losing a deep fidelity to the Scriptures, it has been the big challenge of those that profess to believe in Jesus Christ. In this book you will be invited to reflect on which type of Christianity you profess. About which kind of God you say: I believe in him. You will be invited to escape of the religions teachings and to immerse in the Bible, looking for the God who Lord Jesus preached and who He obeyed until his death on the cross. If you are feeling that nobody around you knows what is right or what is wrong, this book is for you. Fantastic book is this! Don't lose it!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ignatious Valve on November 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
The following situations and beliefs are true in many Protestant/Evangelical churches today.

- `Worship' is the pinnacle of the church service. Worship is considered successful based on the feelings of those involved.

- Sermons are focused on self-gratitude and self-esteem rather than the Bible.

- Theology is considered a bad word, just a few rungs higher than Hitler.

- The Bible is used only to support a thought, belief or idea rather than our thoughts, beliefs and ideas being based on the Bible.

- The `experience' of God is more foundational than the truth of God.

- 53% of those claiming to be Bible-believing, conservative Christians claim there is no such thing as "absolute truth."

The title of this book summarizes it well. The author's main point is that Evangelical churches have been heavily influenced by the culture and have thus lost the conviction that truth is absolute and theology is important. With this as a premise for the book, the author writes (sometimes painstakingly) about the process by which our Western culture has morphed into what it is today. With detail, the author then traces the history of Protestantism that later spawned Evangelicalism. Weaving it all together, the author presents how Evangelicalism has succumbed to a relativistic culture. And ultimately how this led to the death of theology.

How has all of this happened? The stated purpose of David Well's book is "to explore why it is that theology is disappearing. (emphasis mine)" No claim is made for the content of theology, or even for the poor quality of theology. This is not the intention of the book.
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