In our postmodern world, every view has a place at the table but none has the final say. How should the church confess Christ in today's cultural context?Above All Earthly Pow'rs
, the fourth and final volume of the series that began in 1993 with No Place for Truth
, portrays the West in all its complexity, brilliance, and emptiness. As David F. Wells masterfully depicts it, the postmodern ethos of the West is relativistic, individualistic, therapeutic, and yet remarkably spiritual. Wells shows how this postmodern ethos has incorporated into itself the new religious and cultural relativism, the fear and confusion, that began with the last century's waves of immigration and have continued apace in recent decades.
Wells's book culminates in a critique of contemporary evangelicalism aimed at both unsettling and reinvigorating readers. Churches that market themselves as relevant and palatable to consumption-oriented postmoderns are indeed swelling in size. But they are doing so, Wells contends, at the expense of the truth of the gospel. By placing a premium on marketing rather than truth, the evangelical church is in danger of trading authentic engagement with culture for worldly success.
Welding extensive cultural analysis with serious theology, Above All Earthly Pow'rs
issues a prophetic call that the evangelical church cannot afford to ignore.
AWARDS and RECOGNITIONS
Preaching Magazine, Books Every Preacher Should Read (2006)
Religious Studies Review
"Wells is to be praised for his vision of the gospel message as deeply transformational and counter-cultural."
"Any thinking Christian who desires to proclaim afresh to each new generation the unchanging message of Christ will need to absorb the penetrating, cogent and intelligent analysis offered in [Above All Earthly Pow'rs]"
Mark A. Noll
— University of Notre Dame
"This last of David Wells's penetrating four-volume investigation of the Zeitgeist envisions a duel between the plague of postmodernism (by which he means hyper-consumerism, functional nihilism, and meandering egotism) and the power of the Christian gospel understood in the classic formulations of the Reformation. Readers will be challenged as they grasp why Wells wonders if evangelical churches can survive the test. They should be heartened to discover why he believes that the risen Christ will prevail."
D. A. Carson
— Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"David Wells's singular examination of where America is going is grounded simultaneously in intellectual developments and sociological analysis. This merging of information from different disciplines provides many fresh insights, which become the focal points that prompt Wells to articulate the historic Christian gospel once again, with fidelity to the 'givens' of revelation and with relevance to the declining splendor of Enlightenment gods. . . Those who are serious both about the gospel and about thoughtful cultural engagement will not want to miss this book."
J. I. Packer
— Regent College
"With masterful breadth and penetrating insight, David Wells here rounds off his four-volume demonstration of the inauthenticity of much professedly evangelical church life. Hard thought and humility are required to appreciate the critique, though the light Wells throws on our secular culture and on key Bible doctrines makes the effort well worthwhile. There is prophetic perception here that needs to be taken to heart."
— syndicated columnist
"The finest critique of culture I have read since the late philosopher-theologian Francis Schaeffer. David Wells brilliantly outlines the lay of the cultural land and offers a type of GPS system for navigating it if we are to arrive safely at our final destination. Every Christian should read and internalize what Wells says in this powerful book."
— Beeson Divnity School, Samford University
"Over the past generation David Wells has offered a piercing analysis of the evangelical church, its seduction by consumerist, postmodern (read ultramodern) culture, and its temptation to negotiate the gospel in the interest of an ephemeral relevance. In this volume Wells is at his theological best as he extends his analysis to the central fact of Christian faith — the person and work of Jesus Christ. . . An important book for everyone who cares about the integrity of the gospel and the missional future of the church."