David Wells on White Horse Inn


I am a huge fan of David Wells, Andrew Mutch Distinguish Professor of Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and he was recently a guest on the White Horse Inn. You can access the episode here (a short registration is required).

Wells is a profound thinker who has analyzed the culture of churchianity and demonstrated rather thoroughly how deficient much of our current evangelicalism is in America.

White Horse Inn has also provided a couple of links to essays by Wells that are worth the read. In The Changing of the Guard and What It Means For Christians Today Wells writes,

We are living, I believe, in a unique cultural moment. Every generation, I know, imagines that it is unique. And most generations, unfortunately, believe that their uniqueness lies in their superiority over all that lies in the past. Mark Twain once observed that when he was a boy he was embarrassed because of his father, who appeared to know so little, but when the younger Twain was a few years older, he was amazed at how much his father had learned in so short a period of time! Every generation tries to get airborne on the plastic wings of this kind of conceit, and in this atmosphere it is almost inevitable that we become breathless about the present and begin to say and do foolish things, as did the pastor whose morning prayer in church began: “O Lord, have you seen the New York Times today?”

In a second link, On My Mind: The Skinny God, He writes:

Many years ago, J. B. Phillips wrote a book called Your God is Too Small. It was quite popular at the time, in 1952, although it now seems rather quaint. The juvenile understanding of God Phillips was attacking then is, by contemporary standards, rather innocent. This, however, is a book which I believe should be written afresh every decade. For is it not the case that our internal bias (cf. Rom. 1:21-5) constantly tilts us away from God’s centrality and toward our own? And does this not lead us to focus more on ourselves and less on him? Even worse, don’t we then substitute our importance for his greatness?

This inward bias is now being mightily encouraged by our experience of the modern world, the upshot of which is our fascination with our self. Those who are well fed seldom think about food but for the hungry this becomes a consuming preoccupation. And for modern people, the self has likewise become an obsession. We are the starved. How else can we explain the fact that America has half the world’s clinical psychologists and one third of the world’s psychiatrists? Over approximately the last thirty years, the number of clinical psychologists has increased 350%, clinical social workers 320%, and family counselors 680%, so that today we have two psychotherapists for every dentist and there are more counselors than librarians. The plagues of the modern self are providing sustenance for an extraordinary number of professionals, as well as driving a burgeoning publishing industry.

Wells is dead-on in his analysis of the church culture and the culture at large. I highly recommend his writing. Follow this link to find links to four of Wells’ most important books. I’m not suggesting that you will fully agree with everything he has to say because at times his ideas of Sovereignty are a bit much, but I am confident you will resonate with his thoughts.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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