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The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting and defending the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.
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In this book David Wells (distinguished Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), explores the "face-off between Christian faith and our morally degenerating culture." It is his purpose to demonstrate that that the enculturation that has taken place among evangelical Christians has been far more profound than many suspect. Not only is the culture shaping the moral vision of the church such that we are "losing our virtue," but because of this we are also losing our voice in the culture. But not only is this book a cultural critique, Wells also seeks to suggest ways that evangelicals can regain their voice in order to have a transformative impact on culture.
Among evangelical thinkers there are few who are as adept at cultural analysis as Wells. Not only is he an expert at identifying crucial cultural markers, he also properly understands and explains the roots and assumptions that lie behind these markers. Through this very readable volume the reader quickly becomes aware of the obvious breadth and depth of Wells' analysis. In a manner reminiscent of Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue, wells demonstrates that while much of the rich language of Christianity and Theology remains among evangelicals, the theological content and muscle that used to accompany such language has been lost. The result is an "emptied-out faith" which in turn results in the Evangelical Church having no answer to the national crisis of character that now exists in our culture. In his words, we have come to a point where the enculturation of the evangelical world has "hollowed out" evangelical convictions regarding the authority of Scripture and the importance of character formation that "no discernible ethical differences are evident in behavior when those claiming to have been reborn and secularists are compared."
I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to understand the cultural milieu in which we currently live and seek to minister in the name of Christ. Wells' work not only helps us clarify our moral vision but also properly reorder our hearts and minds away from what may be popular toward what truly matters. In a day and age of hollowed out, lukewarm, easy believism, this is both a challenging and motivating read.Mark Liederbach, Ph.D. (Univ. of Virginia)