Christ in Postmodern Culture
Every now and then, I am going to post a book review. I feel that reading is essential to developing a sharp mind with the ability to think critically.
David Wells has offered the Christian community a wonderful, thought provoking critical analysis of Christianity and our society in his book- “Above All Earthly Pow’rs”. Below is my attempt to provide a concise summery of his arguments;
“There has been a long trail of contextualized theologies, written over the last half century, in which the external dimension virtually replaces the internal, cultural interests eclipse biblical norms, and the result has been a kind of compromise, trendiness, and manipulation which ends up promoting worldly agendas, be they political, social, ideological, or personal, in the place of biblical truth.” (6-7)
Wells begins by explaining that ‘creating a new self’ is championed in our culture. This theme is developed as the essence of the postmodern rebellion, where a progressive reconfiguration of life is deemed a necessity.
The next portion of the book articulates that the melting pot of cultures has contributed to a lack of group history, and an unhealthy focus on our own individualistic historie.
With these developments there has been a sense of metaphysical loneliness. Which Wells argues has driven the search for new consciousness.
The next three sections of the book are devoted to themes of Christ in a spiritual, meaningless, and decentered world, where man has been left to find substitutes for meaning to fill the void of emptiness.
Wells concludes that the church has bought this man-centered mentality and has become entertainment driven. In the scramble for success the church is moving away from truth, doctrine, and discipline.
Essentially, what the enlightenment thinkers dreamed of has become reality in postmodernity. God has been pushed to the margins, and the ‘improvement’ of man has become the measure of progress in society. This paradigm shift has given birth to the lies of postmodernity and consumerism, which have crept into the church. The mission of many churches has become to ‘satisfy mans individualistic needs’. The free market of religion has encouraged this change by the fear of boredom. In the scramble for success, the church has progressively moved away from truth, doctrine, and discipline. Human progress and self fulfillment have become society’s goals. Unless the church stands for biblical truth it will strip itself from all that make it distinctive and become an irrelevant, unauthentic social club.
Wells arguments are challenging and insightful. Just something to think about….