Category Archives: David Wells

“Here is hope” by David F. Wells

“To the Church has been given the charge of proclaiming the Word of God. This revelatory Word is not a concatenation of human opinions and ideas but rather is God’s own proclamation, the very means by which He speaks, even into postmodern society.

It is, therefore, the making possible of what would be entirely impossible without the grace of God and the powerful working of the Spirit through whose work, and despite the stammering and faltering lips of the preacher, is heard once again the divine summons to stand before God and hear His Word.

Here is hope. We have not been cast adrift upon an infinite ocean but, rather, we find ourselves in a universe not of our own making where all our best thoughts of God are swept away as upon a ferocious current only to be replaced by the eternally simple speech of the triune God.

He draws near through His Word, He lifts the fallen, He feeds the hungry, He corrects the wandering, He rebukes the self-sufficient, and everywhere there is found the sweet fragrance of His grace where He has spoken through His Word and ministered by His Spirit.”

–David F. Wells, Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 176.

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“Without this transcendent Word” by David F. Wells

“The issue of inerrancy basically focuses on the nature of the Bible. It is entirely possible for those who have sworn to defend the concept of biblical inerrancy to function as if they had no such Word in their hands.

Indeed, it happens all the time. And the sad fact is that while the nature of the Bible was being debated, the Bible itself was quietly falling into disuse in the church.

Without this transcendent Word in its life, the church has no rudder, no compass, no provisions. Without the Word, it has no capacity to stand outside its culture, to detect and wretch itself free from the seductions of modernity. Without the Word, the church has no meaning.

It may seek substitutes for meaning in committee work, relief work, and various other church activities, but such things cannot fill the role for very long. Cut off from the meaning that God has given, faith cannot offer anything more by way of light in our dark world than what is offered by philosophy, psychology, or sociology.

Cut off from God’s meaning, the church is cut off from God; it loses its identity as the people of God in belief, in practice, in hope. Cut off from God’s Word, the church is on its own, left to live for itself, by itself, upon itself.

It is never lifted beyond itself, above its culture. It is never stretched or tried. It grows more comfortable, but it is the comfort of anaesthesia, of a refusal to pay attention to the disturbing realities of God’s truth.”

–David F. Wells, God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 150.

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“The kingdom of God” by David F. Wells

“The kingdom of God, in the Gospels, is never a realm. It is a rule. And it is the rule of God. The primary idea in this language is that God Himself has begun to rule. It is present, but this reign still has to be concluded and consummated at some point in the future.

Let us not miss an important point here. It is that this reign, this rule, is something God is doing. The reason, clearly, is that this is not something that emerges from ‘below,’ which we ourselves can get going. It must come from ‘above.’ We cannot bring it about; only God can.

We can search for the kingdom of God, pray for it, and look for it, for example, but only God can bring it about (Luke 12:31; 23:51; Matt. 6:10, 33). The kingdom is God’s to give and to take away. It is ours only to enter and accept (Matt. 21:43; Luke 12:32).

We can inherit it, posses it, or refuse to enter it, but it is not ours to build and we can never destroy it (Matt. 25:34; Luke 10:11). We can work for the kingdom, but we can never act upon it. We can preach it, but it is God’s to establish (Matt. 10:7; Luke 10:9; 12:32).

God’s inbreaking, saving, vanquishing rule is His from first to last. It has no human analogues, no duplicates, no parallels, and no surrogates. It allows of no human synergism. The inbreaking of the ‘age to come’ into our world is accomplished by God alone.

This is all about the spirituality that is from ‘above’ and not at all about that which is from ‘below.’ It is about God reaching down in grace and doing for sinners what they cannot do for themselves. For if this is God’s kingdom, His rule, the sphere of His sovereignty, then it is not for us to take or to establish.

We receive, we do not take; we enter, but we do not seize. We come as subjects in His kingdom, not as sovereigns in our own.”

–David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 196.

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“The church is to be otherworldly in the world” by David F. Wells

“The church is utterly unlike any other organization in the world. In the church are those who belong to another world. At least that is supposed to be the case. Why is this? Because when it gathers, it is hearing a summons to stand before the God of all eternity, to worship in awe before Him, to acknowledge His greatness, to humble itself, to learn to live in this world on His terms, and to do its business as His. It is in all these ways otherworldly.”

–David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 223-224.

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“The temptation the church always faces” by David F. Wells

“The temptation the church always experiences is to be like the world. It is the temptation to enjoy the comfort of a majority, to be at home, to be at peace, to have no enemies. Is it not true that we all yearn for such an experience? However, if the church is to be truly successful, it must be unlike anything else we find in life.”

–David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 224.

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“Rethink your thoughts about the church” by David F. Wells

“The church is not our creation. It is not our business. We are not called upon to manage it. It is not there for us to advance our careers in it. It is not there for our own success. It is not a business. The church, in fact, was never our idea in the first place. No, it is not the church we need to rethink.

Rather, it is our thoughts about the church that need to be re-thought. It is the church’s faithfulness that needs to be reexamined. It is its faithfulness to who it is in Christ, its faithfulness in living out its life in the world, that should be occupying us.

The church, after all, is not under our management but under God’s sovereign care, and what He sees as health is very often different from what we imagine its health to be. The church, let us remember, is called the ‘church of God’ (Gal. 1:13; 1 Cor. 15:9).

Churches are ‘the churches of Christ’ (Rom. 16:16) because they are His, bought by His precious blood. Christ not only constituted the church (Matt. 16:18), but God has given us the blueprint for its life in Scripture.

What we need to do, then, first and foremost, is to think God’s thoughts after Him, think about the church in a way that replicates His thoughts about it. We need to ask ourselves how well, or how badly, we are realizing our life in Christ in the church, how far and how well churches stand as the outposts of the kingdom of God in our particular culture.”

–David F. Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 222-223.

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“Worldliness” by David F. Wells

“Worldliness is that system of values, in any given age, which has at its center our fallen human perspective, which displaces God and His truth from the world, and which makes sin look normal and righteousness seem strange. It thus gives great plausibility to what is morally wrong and, for that reason, makes what is wrong seem normal.”

–David F. Wells, Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 4.

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