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No place for truth, or, Whatever happened to…
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No place for truth, or, Whatever happened to evangelical theology? (original: 1993; edição: 1993)

de David F Wells (Autor)

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1,110313,269 (4.33)1
Has something indeed happened to evangelical theology and to evangelical churches? According to David Wells, the evidence indicates that evangelical pastors have abandoned their traditional role as ministers of the Word to become therapists and "managers of the small enterprises we call churches." Along with their parishioners, they have abandoned genuine Christianity and biblical truth in favor of the sort of inner-directed experiential religion that now pervades Western society. Specifically, Wells explores the wholesale disappearance of theology in the church, the academy, and modern culture. Western culture as a whole, argues Wells, has been transformed by modernity, and the church has simply gone with the flow. The new environment in which we live, with its huge cities, triumphant capitalism, invasive technology, and pervasive amusements, has vanquished and homogenized the entire world. While the modern world has produced astonishing abundance, it has also taken a toll on the human spirit, emptying it of enduring meaning and morality. Seeking respite from the acids of modernity, people today have increasingly turned to religions and therapies centered on the self. And, whether consciously or not, evangelicals have taken the same path, refashioning their faith into a religion of the self. They have been coopted by modernity, have sold their soul for a mess of pottage. According to Wells, they have lost the truth that God stands outside all human experience, that he still summons sinners to repentance and belief regardless of their self-image, and that he calls his church to stand fast in his truth against the blandishments of a godless world. The first of three volumes meant to encourage renewal in evangelical theology (the other two to be written by Cornelius Plantinga Jr. and Mark Noll), No Place for Truth is a contemporary jeremiad, a clarion call to all evangelicals to note well what a pass they have come to in capitulating to modernity, what a risk they are running by abandoning historic orthodoxy. It is provocative reading for scholars, ministers, seminary students, and all theologically concerned individuals.… (mais)
Membro:joelbytes
Título:No place for truth, or, Whatever happened to evangelical theology?
Autores:David F Wells (Autor)
Informação:W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co (1993), 318 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:print

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No Place for Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? de David F. Wells (1993)

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This is a very unsettling book. Like Mark Noll's "The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind" Wells, a Professor at Gordon=Conwell Seminary, documents the decline in importance of sound theology. This book came out almost 20 years ago. If anything the problem has gotten worse. Men and women ignoring sound doctrine and in some cases, the Gospels. Look at the Tea Party, the GOP and current thinking about you-name-it. ( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
History
  CPI | Aug 8, 2016 |
David Wells provides a penetrating critique of the demise of evangelical theology over the past several decades. His book should be an alarm to evangelicals to wake them up to truth and discover how modernity has subtly eroded truth from its midst. He wrote the book in response to a student’s casual comment about the benefit or lack thereof on spending money to take a theology course that appeared to be irrelevant in enabling one to minister to people. The student’s comment is a current reality in the way many people view theology even ministers. Wells identifies the central purpose of his book is “to explore why it is that theology is disappearing.”

CHAPTER 1: A DELICIOUS PARADISE LOST

The book begins with a step back in history as Wells gives one a picture of life a small New England town over a century ago. This was a predominantly puritan community where the church was the center of spiritual and social life in the town. Everything within the community seemed to revolve around the church. The pastor and the church were responsible for educating the children in the community. The church was Calvinistic in its beliefs. During that time universities in the U.S. existed primarily for the education of ministers. Things did not change much in this town and everyone had a role to fulfill. Times changed and American society moved from a more rural community with people migrating to urban areas. The inventions of the telegraph, phone, and television improved communication. The inventions of the train, streetcars, and the automobile allowed people to become more mobile. The outside world with all its inventions intruded into this small community and subtly changed it over time.

CHAPTER 2: WORLD CLICHÉ CULTURE

An overview is given of how things have changed from the enlightenment to modernity. Rapid change, urbanization, capitalism, and technology have all influenced modernity. The democratization of society and the growth of the sciences exerted their influence on society. Society slowly became more pluralistic and even in the church, experience was trumpeted over truth. The modernization of society has been driven by capitalism and commerce, which has transformed the landscape into an urbanized America. The urbanization of society has brought individuals from different religious and cultural backgrounds and has in turn slowly caused the pluralism one sees today.

The external secularization, “process of accepting and perpetuating values,” and the internal secularism, “values of the modern age,” have arisen as people no longer take values from the church but determine their values in themselves. Pluralism is seen as one of the greatest threats to the Christian faith. This process of modernization has occurred slowly and its influence is being felt within the evangelical community. The basis of absolute truth has disappeared

CHAPTER 3: THINGS FALL APART

Wells argues for the point that theology should be the same whether in the academy or in the church. Doing theology according to Wells involves a “confessional element, a reflection upon the confession, and a cultivation of virtues that are grounded in the first two elements.” The New Testament church from the beginning has emphasized the passing on of true doctrine but it is quite evident in the past several decades how a belief in truth has eroded.

Evangelical Christians do not think and reflect much about God today but rather they desire what is pragmatic in meeting their needs. The urbanization of society has meant that generally more educated and professional people are involved in church and tend to have theological views that are more liberal than ones living in rural areas. Christian ministry has become a profession instead of a calling. The Doctor of Ministry degree has been an attempt to make ministers appear more professional. Leadership Journal emphasizes the pragmatic side of ministry with little emphasis on theology. Universities have slowly replaced theology departments with religious studies. The emphasis on the sciences pushed religion departments to emphasize the psychology and sociology of religion to sustain their place in the university. A large percentage of Americans even today call themselves evangelicals but the perceived beliefs are not grounded in confessional values.

CHAPTER 4: SELF-PIETY

The progression of modernism has led to an overwhelming emphasis upon the self. Wells draws the conclusion that one of the results of the Reformation was “that the individual has access to ultimate without the interposition of any intermediaries.” Although the reformers and puritans had a solid basis in truth that helped in the denial of self that can no longer be said of people today. Wells emphasizes the affect that television has had on modernizing our culture.

Culture as defined by Wells “is the outward discipline in which inherited meanings and morality, beliefs and ways of behaving are preserved.” The modernization of America has removed morality out of the schools and also has moved the value system from the church to the psychologist. The new church is about experience and what is in it for the individual. Truth is out and pragmatism and feeling is in. Wells says that the “psychologizing of life cuts the nerve of evangelical identity because the common assumption beneath the self movement is the perfectibility of human nature and this is anathema to the Christian gospel.” He also goes on to state that this psychologizing “undermines the desire and capacity to think, without which theology is obviously dead.”

CHAPTER 5: THE RISE OF EVERYPERSON

The culture has changed considerably due to the rise of “everyperson,” defined by Wells as, “the person who is the product of the American experience of democracy, the person for whom democracy is not simply a political system but an entire worldview and for whom, therefore, culture and truth belong to the people.” The democratization of America has led to “making up one’s mind” and “taking one’s destiny in one’s own hands.” It has also has led to the “importance of the public in which one’s views find their validation.” This has translated into the church in that “the audience is sovereign: and “ideas find legitimacy and value only within the marketplace.” This can be seen in the theological emphasis in such magazines as Christianity Today. Perhaps one of the most challenging sections of the book for ministers is found on pages 214-217 where he observes that ministers have abdicated the role as leaders with vision and have become managers of public opinion with a spiritual twist.

CHAPTER 6: THE NEW DISABLERS

The direction of professionalization in the culture and the decline of theological education led to changes in perception of a pastor and his role. The pastor changed from a “broker of truth” to a manager of people. When one moves away from the truth as found in the Word of God as the center and focus for all that one does then one allows other influences to determine function. Character, exposition of the Bible, and theology were replaced by interpersonal skills and administrative abilities. Pastors have followed careers instead of callings. Sermons became more centered on people and less centered on God. Not only have people in the pew become pragmatic but also people behind the pulpit. Theology is a rare commodity but the newest method is the new rave consumed. The view of a good church is one that is producing and growing not necessarily one that believes the truth.

CHAPTER 7: THE HABITS OF GOD

One of the key aspects of the Christian faith is that the Bible is the written history of God at work through his people in history. The truth contained is objective and historically verifiable. The prophets and apostles believed these truths and lived and preached like they believed these truths. An argument regularly surfaced is that the present is so distant from biblical times that it is impossible to have a biblical worldview. Wells identifies the assumptions underlying this belief as the rejection of old values and belief in future progress, an inability to adopt older worldviews, and a present pluralism that does not allow for a simplistic biblical worldview. Wells counters that humanity has not progressed much, that we have a choice in worldviews, and that the pluralism we now experience actually brings us closer to a biblical worldview.

In order to help one understand the perspectives above Wells identifies the beliefs of the pagan mind that may help one better understand the modern mind. Nature was the focus of their gods and their experiences connected them with the supernatural. The supernatural world was unpredictable and their religion was typically sexual. They made decisions based upon experience and focussed on the future.

Wells identifies three key historical events in the Bible, the call of Abraham, the Exodus, and the establishment of the Davidic Kingdom, which helped to shape the identity of the Israelites. In the New Testament “the incarnation, death, resurrection, and return of Christ bring each of these events to final fruition.” One of the key statements Wells presents about the biblical mind is that “God’s truth was transmitted through events external to the individual meant that it was objective, and the fact that it was objective meant, further, that his truth was public.”

Wells sums up the view of the modern mind that “reality is so privatize and relativized that truth is often understood only in terms of what it means to each person. A pragmatic culture will see truth as whatever works for any given person. Such a culture will interpret the statement that Christianity is true to mean simply that Christianity is one way of life that has worked for someone, but that would not be to say that any other way of life might not work just as well for someone else.” The process of recovering a biblical mind in the midst of such a culture is the biblical teaching of truth.

CHAPTER 8: THE REFORM OF EVANGELICALISM

Wells spends a tremendous amount of space in this book documenting “the evangelical bias toward modernity” but only provides some glimpses of solutions. He proposes a second book to offer some more helpful solutions. The challenge for evangelicals is to re-learn how to dissent instead of capitulating to modernity. The church must be the key place for theology to flourish. If the church is to regain her theological moorings and reject belief in modernity, then she must discover that “the holiness of God is the very cornerstone of the Christian faith, for it is the foundation of reality. Sin is defiance of God’s holiness, the Cross is the outworking and victory of God’s holiness, and faith is the recognition of God’s holiness. Knowing that God is holy is therefore the key to knowing life as it truly is, knowing Christ as he truly is, knowing why he came, and knowing how life will end."
  benphillips | Jan 31, 2009 |
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Has something indeed happened to evangelical theology and to evangelical churches? According to David Wells, the evidence indicates that evangelical pastors have abandoned their traditional role as ministers of the Word to become therapists and "managers of the small enterprises we call churches." Along with their parishioners, they have abandoned genuine Christianity and biblical truth in favor of the sort of inner-directed experiential religion that now pervades Western society. Specifically, Wells explores the wholesale disappearance of theology in the church, the academy, and modern culture. Western culture as a whole, argues Wells, has been transformed by modernity, and the church has simply gone with the flow. The new environment in which we live, with its huge cities, triumphant capitalism, invasive technology, and pervasive amusements, has vanquished and homogenized the entire world. While the modern world has produced astonishing abundance, it has also taken a toll on the human spirit, emptying it of enduring meaning and morality. Seeking respite from the acids of modernity, people today have increasingly turned to religions and therapies centered on the self. And, whether consciously or not, evangelicals have taken the same path, refashioning their faith into a religion of the self. They have been coopted by modernity, have sold their soul for a mess of pottage. According to Wells, they have lost the truth that God stands outside all human experience, that he still summons sinners to repentance and belief regardless of their self-image, and that he calls his church to stand fast in his truth against the blandishments of a godless world. The first of three volumes meant to encourage renewal in evangelical theology (the other two to be written by Cornelius Plantinga Jr. and Mark Noll), No Place for Truth is a contemporary jeremiad, a clarion call to all evangelicals to note well what a pass they have come to in capitulating to modernity, what a risk they are running by abandoning historic orthodoxy. It is provocative reading for scholars, ministers, seminary students, and all theologically concerned individuals.

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

2 edições deste livro foram publicadas por Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co..

Edições: 080280747X, 0802806503

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