Item description for Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World by David F. Wells...
Overview In this prophetic call to the evangelical church, Wells stresses that Christians need to confess Christ as the center in a society lacking a center, as the sovereign in a world seemingly ruled by chance, and as the one who can give meaning in a nihilistic culture.
Publishers Description The deflation of the Enlightenment worldview and rise of the post-modern mood over the last decades has altered the relation of Christian faith to culture. How, in this new situation, should the church confess Christ? "Above All Earthly Powers" paints a picture of the West in all its complexity, brilliance, and emptiness.
As David F. Wells masterfully depicts it, the postmodern ethos is relativistic, individualistic, therapeutic, and yet remarkably spiritual. By placing a premium on marketing rather than truth, the evangelical church is in danger of selling authentic engagement with culture for worldly success. Christians need to confess Christ as the center in a society lacking a center, as the sovereign in a world seemingly ruled by chance, and as the one who can give meaning in a nihilistic culture. "Above All Earthly Powers" issues a prophetic call to the evangelical church that it cannot afford to ignore.
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.94" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 2006
Publisher WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING CO.
ISBN 0802824552 ISBN13 9780802824554
Availability 0 units.
More About David F. Wells
David F. Wells is the Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. An ordained Congregationalist minister, he is also the author of more than a dozen previous books.
David F. Wells currently resides in the state of Massachusetts.
Reviews - What do customers think about Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World?
Important Reading, Not Easy Reading Feb 25, 2007
David Wells is to the late 20th Century and the early 21st Century what Francis Schaeffer was to the second half of the 20th Century. Both men were astute students of history and culture and both men were brilliant biblical thinkers. Like Schaeffer, Wells provacatively integrates sociology, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, history, and theology, always with theology as the controlling grid.
That said, "Above All Earthly Powers" is not an "easy" read. It's not the type of book that one picks up and thumbs through while multi-tasking. Nor is it a book to read all in one sitting. Because Wells integrates so many important topics and themes and weaves them together, readers need to dedicate the time to wade through the deep meaning.
As the subtitle suggets, Wells focuses on Christ in our postmodern world. To do so, he provides a splendid chapter on modernity. This is important since some critics of post-modernity are criticized because they appear to be lovers of modernity. Instead, Wells shows how the hubris of modernity naturally led to the arrogance and pride of post-modernity.
But Wells' most important contribution in "Above All Earthly Powers" is not his sociology, but his ecclesiology: his theology of church life. Since Christ is above all powers, since humanity is fallen, how Christian engage those who are not Christians must flow from these fundamental truths. As Wells sees it, the "seeker" model and the "emergent" model both have fatal Pelagian flaws. They both adhere to too optimistic a view of the nature of human nature apart from the power and grace of Christ.
What Wells suggests then, is a model for ministry and outreach based upon the simple but profound Gospel truth that we can do nothing apart from God and His grace. That's the "Readers' Digest" version. Pick up a copy for yourself and read the rest of the story.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction," "Soul Physicians," "Spiritual Friends," "Biblical Counseling," and "Martin Luther's Pastoral Counseling."
A Great Title for Understanding Postmodern Culture Feb 7, 2007
This book was fantastic, and it addresses issues critical to the church today. From 9/11 to mega churches this book discusses it.
A piercing analysis on church and culture Jan 28, 2007
This is not an easy text to read, particularly to those who do not have a pre-requisite in sociology like me, a freshman when it comes to the study of culture, but an excellent one, and therefore, highly recommended for both Christians and non-Christians. Keep in mind this review I wrote does not come from an expert in Dave Well's area of expertise, but from a layman Christian exposed for the first time to this topic of influence and interaction of Christianity and culture.
Prof. Wells begins by outlining the characteristics of modernity and post-modernity, which I find very useful, and can immediately affirm his observations from what I see and encounter, particularly from a personal experience of life and work in Silicon Valley.
It is interesting that post-modernity, while maintaining some of the characteristics of its modern 'parent'; mainly the omnicompetence of the human being which manifests itself in the autonomous self (p.32), is at large, as he points out, a rebellion against its modern parent. The rejection is mainly against the insistence of rationality (p.61) of modern minds that exclude everything supernatural, which is good and bad for christianity. It is good because it gives the gospel a better chance to penetrate cultures, but it is bad because its prevailing principles of relativism, emphasis on experience, new privatized, experimental spirituality, superficiality and conformity, as well as the autonomous self have infected the church. What particularly strikes me real hard is Well's observation in agreement with that of Harold Bloom's who claims that this new 'wave' of post-modern spirituality which seems to have been adopted by some evangelical denominations is at the bottom 'gnosticism' which he then expounds on greater details what it is in the past, what it is now today and how it is manifested (ch.4).
"This 'religion', Harold Bloom argues, resolves itself into a spiritual quest in which the self is both subject and object of the search. His argument is that this quest underlies much overt religion which on the surface expresses itself doctrinally and in very different ways - Roman Catholic, Mormon, Seventh-Day Adventist, and Southern Baptist. As a part of his argument he claims that America is gnostics without knowing it." (p.134)
Wells then continues on elaborating the effects of relativism, or lack of absolute standard of right and wrong, namely, self-centeredness, meaninglessness and emptiness (ch.4-5), and countered it with the gospel. His is an exquisite, elaborate, elegant, sophisticated and somewhat academic way of presenting the gospel beginning from the Fall (p.164-168), and God's wrath against humanity in their rebelliousness, and his grace in Christ (p.199-232.
The topic of autonomous self including opentheism (a doctrine which I believe comes out naturally out of the doctrine of autonomous self) in ch.6 is covered (p.233-250) and refuted (p.262) skillfully with great emphasis on the sovereignty of God in Christ.
The last two chapters 7 and 8 deal with the fact many churches seem to be burdened more to be successful than faithful with the natural consequences of compromising or even abandoning doctrinal truth in the name of relevance and contexts, to accomodate more church-goers by fitting to their needs and taste. Experience, self-help and self improvement programs and fun are now the main 'menu' at church. It seems, therefore, the church, established by Christ to influence cultures, has now been influenced by cultures. The last chapter is a sober, yet encouraging call to the church to stand firm in the faith, or to return to the faith "that was once for all entrusted to the saints" since as Wells said in the keynote address during the 2006 Desiring God National Conference, whose topic was taken from this book, "The Supremacy of Christ in a Post-Modern World", that despite the difficulty that the church faces in these post-modern days, the victory is locked up, or to quote him on the last page,
"Indeed, it is entirely unnecessary to even think about overcoming the post-modern world because it has already been overcome in its sin. It is only ours to see the victory of Christ on the Cross being realized afresh in the actual circumstances of our time. That will happen when the Church humbles itself afresh, seeks the power and cleansing of God, and asks to have its vision renewed of the victory of Christ and to see, once again, his greatness. So may it be!" to which I say "Amen!"
It's simple Dec 6, 2006
I've read over 15,000 pages of biblical material in the last 2 years for my graduate degree. This book was the most helpful, truthful and articulate. This Christmas, I'm telling all my friends that if they will read this book, I'm buying. If you care about the purposes and glory of God and desire to see the affluent American church "get it" this is the book for you.
One of the Best Books on Christ and Culture Oct 16, 2006
We live in an age of pragmatic churches and theology. It seems that our culture (and the marketing techniques of Hollywood) often leads the Church in the West rather than Scripture. With the rise of church leaders such as Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and the emergent church movement, the Church today looks more like the latest "how to" rather than like Jesus. Today pastors are running all over the United States trying to find the right method to reach their community for Christ when all the while Jesus is being ignored.
Dr. David Wells deals with Christ and culture in this powerful book ABOVE ALL EARTHLY POW'RS: CHRIST IN A POSTMODERN WORLD. Dr. Wells leaves nothing unchallanged. He dives into where modern culture is today and also shows why the Church must have a firm grasp on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Dr. Wells shows that only a biblical Christ is the answer to reaching modern man. In fact, despite modern man's advances he is still lost without Christ (Romans 3:10-23). Dr. Wells shows us that Christ does matter today and that He still is the only way to salvation (Acts 4:12).
I highly recommend this book for all disciples of Jesus. This book is a powerful challange for us all.