David F. Wells of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Massachusetts, here challenges evangelicalism with a disturbing analysis of its present condition. He believes that we have allowed ourselves to be shaped by the popular culture whose ethos is alien to God-consciousness, to ‘other-worldliness’, and to passion for biblical truth. In putting ‘success’ before theology we have produced a plague of nominal evangelicalism which, unless reversed, leaves us ‘headed towards the oblivion of irrelevance before God’.
This material was first delivered at a Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals who have kindly assisted in the publication. Much fuller treatment of the same themes will be found in the author’s influential books, No Place for Truth and God in the Wasteland. While referring especially to the North American scene, the wider relevance of Dr Wells’ message is indicated by the fact that these two titles have joint publishers on both sides of the Atlantic, W.B. Eerdmans and IVP.
‘What is most lost is what most needs to be recovered. It is the unsettling, disconcerting, moral presence of God in our midst. He can no longer be the junior partner in our religious enterprises and he can never be just an ornamental decoration upon our Church life. It is because God now rests so inconsequentially upon the Church that the Church is free to plot and to devise its success in its own way. That is why so many of our forebears in the faith would scarcely even recognize us as their children today.’