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God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams Paperback – October 5, 1995

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Continuing the examination of evangelical theology he started in No Place for Truth; or, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology (Eerdmans, 1993), Wells expands on the previous work by offering a remedy to the diminished place of theology in the church by suggesting a return to a belief in God and away from culture modernization or worldliness. Wells is convincing in his statements that mass consumerism and self-obsession lead to mega-churches where the "consumer is sovereign, the product (in this God himself) must be subservient." A comparative survey of seminarians conducted during 1988 and 1993 provides support for this religion of civility. An extensive bibliography makes this book a useful addition for more substantial religion collections.
L. Kriz, Sioux City P.L., Ia.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

David F. Wells's award-winning book No Place for Truth--called 'a stinging indictment of evangelicalism's theological corruption' by TIME magazine--woke many evangelicals to the fact that their tradition has slowly but surely capitulated to the values and structures of the modern world. In God in the Wasteland Wells continues his work on a biblical antidote to the modernity that has invaded today's church.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 2nd Paperback Edition edition (October 5, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802841791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802841797
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I think this is one of the best books I've read of serious Christian thought in the last few years. He teaches on ramifications of our po-mo thinking and also brings out clearly the way our consumer bent way of thinking has dictated the presentation of the gospel. Many times in ways we do not even see or sense...yet the 'consumer as king' mentality has not been challenged in the church and the believer feels at home sitting in judgement on eternal truths. An extremely worthwhile read,
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Format: Paperback
This second in Well's trinity follows on the heels of "No Place For Truth." In it, Well's strongly presents evidence that Christianity is on the brink of caving into the pressures of a postmodern culture and world that it finds itself in.
As in the kings in the Divided Kingdom, many chose to compromise and/or align with the enemies or allies. We know how this turned out for the church. Will the church today heed prophecy such as Well's before it's too late?
Expressing the opinion that the church is being attacked both within and without to speak different messages with different words, Wells challenges the church to be the church; to say a different message which confronts and challenges the world to align itself with the world's Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.
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Format: Hardcover
In this sequel to the groundbreaking 1993 book entitled "No Place for Truth" (which is also strongly recommended), a professor from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary shows how evangelical churches have slowly but surely fallen for the values of postmodern society. Christian ministers in particular should pay close attention to Wells' thoughts, as he calls for a return to preaching God's holiness as an antidote to the church's compromised state.
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Format: Paperback
I am reading this book as part of a course in basic theology, and it is very illuminating. I would highly recommend this book to anyone in the church who wants to tell about "the reason for the hope that lies within you..." It is not just for a few pastors and teachers to know theology; it is the opportunity of everyone in the church.
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Format: Paperback
When David F. Wells published No Place for Truth he promised to follow up his critique with a more positive proclamation, which he adumbrates in God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c. 1994). (He reneges a bit on the "positive" promise, however, opting to set forth a more modest "perspective" for such proclamation. As we all know, it's easier to pick things apart than to weave them together! So this is more a continuation of the first volume than a blueprint for construction.) The volume, as the title portends, resumes Wells' cultural critique of "modernity;" he believes Western Christian culture has been swept aside by powerful secular torrents. Traditional values and "timeless truths" have simply faded from prominence, if not slipped from memory.
Renewing his distinction between "modernization" and "modernity," Wells grants the material comforts of the former while condemning the spiritual poverty of the latter. Clinging like barnacles to better nutrition and transportation have come fractured families and suicidal adolescents. At the heart of the crisis lies "the central issue with which Our Time must now reckon: the loss of its center" (p. 14). "At its starkest," Wells says, "it is the transition from Mozart to Guns n' Roses, from Aquinas to infomercials, from Milton to gangsta rap. We may now have everything, but none of it means anything anymore" (p. 14). In the midst of this cultural upheaval, the Christian Church has lost its footing. Particularly, Wells holds, evangelicalism has lost its theological foundation, seeking "cultural acceptability by emptying itself of serious thought, serious theology, serious worship, and serious practice in the larger culture" (p. 27).
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The primary concern of God in the Wasteland is the influence modernism and modernity has had on the Christian Church as a whole. Wells, a theology professor, offers a look at the trend of mega-church building, its emphasis on marketing, and its effects on theology. He discusses how the philosophies of Christianity, postmodernism, and New Age spiritualism have reacted to modernism and its perhaps prematurely called death - the end of the "Enlightenment project." In the wake of the centuries old endeavor, a progression towards the ideal of man, the effects are still felt in the church. Christians are faced with re-establishing their relationship with God after distancing themselves for those centuries.

There are two methods of modernism that the Church has incorporated: marketing and giving the people what they want. This results from an attitude shared with capitalism: the people are consumers. This, consequently, makes God the product and the Church the salesman. The terms are irreligious, but as Wells point out, they are used by those practicing a church growth doctrine. The exemplar of this doctrine is George Barna, who applies business models to churches to make them grow. He states that pastors would do better to have a Master of Business Administration degree, rather than a Master of Divinity. Modern pastors need "gifts" of delegation, confidence, interaction, decision-making, visibility, practicality, accountability, and discernment. Barna suggests the power of visual realization, envisioning the large church and making it happen. The greatest controversy is over his idea of adapting the product to the customer's needs.
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