In the three previous “Our Time” articles, I provided you with thoughts from David Wells’ book, No Place For Truth. We need to now push forward into the follow-up book by Well’s entitled God in the Wasteland (Eerdmans, 1994). Wells notes in the Preface to Wasteland that No Place for Truth “produced only half the picture” . . . because “It offers an explanation of the cultural factors that have diminished the place and importance of theology in the church, but it offers no suggestions for a remedy of the problem” (ix). God in the Wasteland begins “developing the other half of the picture” concerning how the cultural factors influenced the evangelical church and what steps need “to be taken to reverse the situation” (ix).
“Worldliness is that system of values and beliefs, behaviors and expectations, in any given culture that have at their center the fallen human being and that relegate to their periphery any thought about God. Worldliness is what makes sin look normal in any age and righteousness seem odd” (29).
“It is one of the remarkable features of contemporary church life that so many are attempting to heal the church by tinkering with its structures, its services, its public face. This is clear evidence that modernity has successfully palmed off one of its great deceits on us, convincing us that God himself is secondary to organization and image, that the church’s health lies in its flow charts, its convenience, and its offerings rather than in its inner life, its spiritual authenticity, the toughness of its moral intentions, its understanding of what it means to have God’s Word in this world” (30).
“The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is that God rests too inconsequentially upon the church. His truth is too distant, his grace is too ordinary, his judgment is too benign, his gospel is too easy, and his Christ is too common” (30).
“There is a profound sense in which the church has to be “otherworldly.” It carries within itself a discernibly different view of life from what passes as normal and normative in society” (41).
“Truth is not simply knowledge untainted by life’s biases and conventions: it is the reality of God himself (John 7:17; 8:47; 1 John 3:10). It has the power to dislodge people from the safe and comfortable conventions of the world where these are mistaken or unethical, to wrench people free from their sin (John 8:32–34). To be in the truth is to be in God, to be free, to have life. To be separated from the truth is to be mired in darkness, falsehood, and corruption with the stink of death hanging over everything” (42).
What do you think? More to come.