Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision

Overview

This book is about the disintegrating moral culture in contemporary society and what this now means for the church. The questions raised by this theme are large and vital: How does Christian faith speak most effectively to a culture whose moral fabric is torn, a culture in which sin has disappeared conceptually and in which secularized life is offering up its own forms of salvation? And can today's church, which has drunk deeply from the well of modernity, truly recover its moral character enough to make a ...
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Overview

This book is about the disintegrating moral culture in contemporary society and what this now means for the church. The questions raised by this theme are large and vital: How does Christian faith speak most effectively to a culture whose moral fabric is torn, a culture in which sin has disappeared conceptually and in which secularized life is offering up its own forms of salvation? And can today's church, which has drunk deeply from the well of modernity, truly recover its moral character enough to make a difference in society? Can the church indeed speak effectively and in ways that are germane to a culture that has become morally unraveled? Wells believes it can. In fact, with postmodernity now so heavily ladened with its own cynicism, he believes that no time in this century has been more opportune for the Christian faith - if the church can muster the courage to regain its moral weight and become a missionary of truth once more to a foundering world.
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Editorial Reviews

CBA Marketplace
For its sweep, content, and thorough analysis. Wells' book may be among the most important published this year.
Church Libraries
One of the most significant evangelical books of the year....Wells is one of those rare evangelicals who have read widely in contemporary secular scholarship and digested it for readers. His evaluations are always judicious and thought provoking.
Preaching
A book which pastors need to read in order to understand the cultural changes we are experiencing and understanding how we must confront a secular culture.
Publishers Weekly
Wells urges the church to return to classical spirituality and not to allow the message of that spirituality to be diminished by the cultural habits of the modern world. This argument is one that has recurred throughout history, but Wells makes it in plain language accompanied by a straightforward critique of the ways in which, he believes, secular culture's notions of virtue fall short of Christianity's.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Noted evangelical theologian Wells (God in the Wasteland) weighs in on the perpetual problem of whether the church can retain its moral integrity and still play a vital role in today's culture. Wells argues that, in the postmodern world, the church is in danger of losing its moral character by compromising its teachings about virtue, including doctrines of sin and guilt, by making too many concessions to cultural teachings on virtue. Wells addresses his concerns by examining two kinds of spirituality that, he says, characterize the church. On the one hand, he says, classical or Reformation spirituality is the hallmark of Christianity, and he uses this spirituality to represent a general understanding of the doctrines, devotional habits and moral character of the Christian life. On the other hand, postmodern spirituality, Wells says, is forged in the interaction between biblical truth and the intuitions or instincts of the contemporary world. According to Wells, postmodern spirituality is more concerned with shame (falling short of what others expect of us) rather than sin (falling short of what God expects of us). Wells urges the church to return to classical spirituality and not to allow the message of that spirituality to be diminished by the cultural habits of the modern world. This argument is one that has recurred throughout history, but Wells makes it in plain language accompanied by a straightforward critique of the ways in which, he believes, secular culture's notions of virtue fall short of Christianity's. (April)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802846723
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 2/28/1999
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 805,987
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
I A Tale of Two Spiritualities 21
Can the Church Be Reformed? 21
Spirituality 30
Embarrassed by Modernity 46
II The Playground of Desire 53
Rebels and Restrainers 53
Obeying the Unenforceable 62
Bowling Alone 65
Control 75
III On Saving Ourselves 81
Surviving and Assembling Ourselves 81
From Character to Personality 96
From Nature to Self-consciousness 104
The New Healers 110
IV The Bonfire of the Self 117
From Guilt to Shame 120
On Feeling Ashamed 133
Lost in Moral Space 140
V Contradictions 147
From Amnesia to Memory 147
Honor and Shame 164
VI Faith of the Ages 179
Whatever Happened to Sin? 180
Whatever Happened to the Church? 196
The Courage to Believe 205
Bibliography 211
Index 223
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