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In his book God in the Wasteland (pp. 214-215) David Wells writes:

I want the evangelical church to be the church. I want it to embody a vibrant spirituality. I want the church to be an alternative to post-modern culture, not a mere echo of it. I want a church that is bold to be different and unafraid to be faithful . . . a church that reflects an integral and undiminished confidence in the power of God’s Word, a church that can find in the midst of our present cultural breakdown the opportunity to be God’s people in a world that has abandoned God.

To be the church in this way, it is also going to have to find in the coming generation, leaders who exemplify this hope for its future and who will devote themselves to seeing it realized. To lead the church in the way that it needs to be led, they will have to rise above the internal politics of the evangelical world and refuse to accept the status quo where that no longer serves the vital interest of the kingdom of God. They will have to decline to spend themselves in the building of their own private kingdoms and refuse to be intimidated into giving the church less and other than what it needs. Instead, they will have to begin to build afresh, in cogently biblical ways, among the decaying structures that now clutter the evangelical landscape. To succeed, they will have to be people of large vision, people of courage, people who have learned again what it means to live by the Word of God, and, most importantly, what it means to live before the Holy God of that Word



  1. are you going to follow up with the step by step instructions on how to make this happen? what david wells is writing is what we are so hungry for. all we know to do is pray for the people with the vision to make it happen in our community. there are hundreds around us wasting away with no knowledge of the love of Christ and the freedom in His grace. help us pray for people of vision of reaching the community of west memphis.

  2. I don’t know.

    I like a lot of what he wrote, but one thing stood out to me. “I want the church to be an alternative to post-modern culture, not a mere echo of it.”

    The church should give alternative beliefs from the beliefs of postmodernism. But I think we need to face the fact that while we are in America, we are in a postmodern culture (if not a post-postmodern culture).
    I am all about going overseas. That’s what the Lord commands, and that is what he’s laid on my heart. Overseas, the teaching that good church planters give about the culture is that the culture needs to be wieghed against scripture. What is good and does not go against the word of God, you can keep. What contradicts scripture, you must throw away.
    Western Christians seem fine with that overseas. They love that! They praise people like Hudson Taylor, who adapted himself to the culture of those he was trying to reach.
    But they seem to hate the idea of having a Christian postmodern culture. In that culture, like any else, we must throw out what is bad. We have to defend the absolute truth of the gospel of Jesus. But the things that are acceptable, we don’t need to condemn. A bunch of punk rock guys with tattoos and piercings and mohawks sitting around smoking cigarettes over a glass of beer talking about why Jesus Christ is the only salvation is a really cool thing to see.
    I hope that the church can be the church. Evangelical, Reformed, Charismatic, whatever! I hope that the church worldwide will be the church.

    Interesting passage though.

  3. Adam, your comments about mohawk hairdo, tattoo laden punk rock Christians smoking, drinking, and talking about Jesus as the salvation paint a vivid picture.

    Without getting into scripture, this lifestyle seems more rebellious to society in general, and at the same time, highly conforming to their social circle. In our postmodern world there is certainly a need for punk rock Christians that aren’t afraid to reach out to punk rock non-Christians. They can certainly relate to them much better than I could. So, without attacking this stereotype, I have two questions. 1) Should we encourage or discourage this lifestyle? 2) If we should discourage it, how would we draw them into a less punk-rock lifestyle without risking them losing their Christianity or ability to witness? OR 2) If we should encourage it, how do we encourage it while holding them to the higher moral standards expected of a Christian?

    By the way, although I don’t know either of the answers, I believe that the evil at the center of our worldliness has been asking the opposite questions since our creation and their intentions are very purposeful.

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