April 19, 2008

Above All Earthly Pow'rs by David Wells

This is another one of the books I had to read for class that would be interesting to the general public. The full title of the book, Above All Earthly Pow'rs: Christ in a Postmodern World, gives a good picture of what David Wells is writiing. He is talking about how the Christian Church has been influenced by postmodernity and how it should relate to postmodernity.

Wells argues that the postmodern culture and Christianity are not compatible. In his own words, "The argument I have been developing in this book is that we should not make peace with postmodernity and that to do so carries the liability of losing Christian authenticity." (p. 248)

According to Wells, postmodernity says this world is meaningless, centerless, and spiritual (but not religious). As Americans, we want nothing to do with religion, but we want to dabble in whatever spiritualities make us feel good or simply sound right to us. There is no concept of something being true universally, as something that is true for you is not necessarily true for me.

The main influences that Wells believes got us to where we are today is the increasing immigration to our country which allows us to become familiar with other faiths as well as the rapid modernization which allows us to focus on the means and not on the message. He's not against immigration or technology but believes that they have brought about today's predominant American worldview.

One quote that I just had to share is when he talks about the growing anxiety of our culture. He defines anxiety as "living out the future over and over again before it actually reaches us" (p. 240). How true!

If you are interested in culture and Christianity, this is an excellent book to read. Wells is a great author that makes his subject interesting and academic at the same time.

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