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No Place for Truth: or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? Paperback – December 20, 1994
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"A stinging indictment of Evangelicalism's theological corruption."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
From the Back Cover
Written expressly to encourage renewal in evangelical theology, No Place for Truth explores the interface between Christian faith and the modern world in entirely new ways and with uncommon rigor. David F. Well's sweeping analysis examines the collapse of theology in the church, the academy, and modern culture, raising profound questions about the future of conservative Protestant faith.
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Top customer reviews
Written in 1993, Wells articulates (and somewhat prophesies) of the many perils of "reforming" a church without a solid, biblical theology.
Overall, I'd say this is a must-read for any well-meaning theologian.
I believe the depth of research and the knowledge Wells possesses is how every book should be published. Frankly, I'm tired of "theological" books that are written without any kind of sourcing, especially biblical. It is not enough in today's "truth is what you make it" to simply publish books of "opinion" theologically. Wells calls readers to return to a solid biblical foundation, centered on the Redemption story of Jesus Christ and Scripture as a historical truth.
Below are some highlights. I'm looking forward to ordering book number 2 in his series, God in the Wasteland.
Chapter 1: A Delicious Paradise Lost
* The transferring of values has been lost with the fracturing of our families.
* There was no chasm between private and public life. Now there is.
* There is a total lack of permanence in today's world.
* "We are everywhere and we have access to everything." We are transitioning from a life that was bounded and limited to a life that knows few bounds
* "The stream of information, the succession of new environments, and the number of new experiences have accelerated to the point sometimes of becoming unbearable.
Chapter 2: World Cliché Culture
The need to be in motion...is obviously very great.
"The Enlightenment promises have proved to be empty."
We are living in a fool's paradise. Comforting ourselves about what God is doing while the world is falling apart.
* Mass is the key. We generally defer to the lowest common denominator - creates fragmentation.
In the past, the West was held together by tradition, authority and power. Only power remains.
* The source of "authority" is only found in the private, self-consciousness now.
"the Church often seems to be blithely unaware of the peril that now surrounds it."
Chapter 3: Things Fall Apart
The shift from God to the SELF as the central focus of faith.
3. Virtues developed from the two
(Willard: Conviction, Conversion, Testimony)
The Church should infect culture. Has to be centered on Word.
Belief and Practice are inextricably related to each other.
We've abandoned doctrine and truth in favor of "life."
"In the absence of conviction, all belief collapses, even the belief in unity."
Chapter 4: Self-Piety
Individualism and Conformity
* We generally do what feels good. What's right is what feels good.
* Liberals generally believe if left to selves, the world would be fine.
* We need to balance Biblical narrative of dignity and depravity.
* The problem with individuality is that we are actually just conforming to the masses.
* TV has a huge influece on this conformity and mindless absorbtion into the masses.
* We care more about the "experience of Christ" than if Christ is objectively real.
Schuller: "Sin is not what shatters our relationship to God: the true culprit is the jaundiced eye that we have turned on ourselves."
* Bibical: The self is TWISTED, that it is in rebellion, that it is in need of help.
* "Theology becomes therapy."
Chapter 5: The Rise of Everyperson
"The love of freedom, from which individualism arises, is as fierece as the love of equality, from which conformity arises."
* Faith has become democratized. Every is seen has having the same ability to "hear" from God." Making up one's own mind now equals the greatest "success."
* Theology thus becomes open to reform on a strong leader's back only.
* "Genuine leadership is a matter of teaching and explaining what has not been so well grasped, where the demands of God's truth and the habits of culture pull in opposite directions.
* "The Christian faith should not be captive to anyone."
* "Without real leaders, God's people are led by the pollsters - which is to say, they lead themselves."
Chapter 6: The New Disablers
* Pastors are not merely managers.
* Should be worthy character, a passion for truth, and the kind of wise love that yokes together character and passion in service for others.
* Practical atheism: Reducing the church to nothing more than the services it offers or the good feelings the ministry can generate.
Chapter 7: The Habits of God
* Biblical prophets: They had a CERTAINTY about God. It is historical, not ways we could "do things."
* "A Christian mind sees truth as objective."
* We must find this truth outside of ourselves.
Chapter 8: The Reform of Evangelicalism
We must return to an understanding of the HOLINESS of God.
This is the first book in a series. Thus it is mostly concerned with identifying the problem with the work of proposing changes reserved for later volumes. Read this book!