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

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

by David F. Wells
     
 

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In Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision, theologian David Wells argues that the Church is in danger of losing its moral authority to speak to a culture whose moral fabric is torn.

Although much of the Church has enjoyed success and growth over the past years, Wells laments a "hollowing out of evangelical conviction, a loss

Overview

In Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision, theologian David Wells argues that the Church is in danger of losing its moral authority to speak to a culture whose moral fabric is torn.

Although much of the Church has enjoyed success and growth over the past years, Wells laments a "hollowing out of evangelical conviction, a loss of the biblical word in its authoritative function, and an erosion of character to the point that today, no discernible ethical differences are evident in behavior when those claiming to have been reborn and secularists are compared." The assurance of the Good News of the gospel has been traded for mere good feelings, truth has given way to perception, and morality has slid into personal preference.

Losing Our Virtue is about the disintegrating moral culture that is contemporary society and what this disturbing loss means for the church. Wells covers the following in this bold critique:

  • how the theologically emptied spirituality of the church is causing it to lose its moral bearings
  • an exploration of the wider dynamic at work in contemporary society between license and law
  • an exposition of the secular notion of salvation as heralded by our most trusted gurus—advertisers and psychotherapists
  • a discussion of the contemporary view of the self
  • how guilt and sin have been replaced by empty psychological shame
  • an examination of the contradiction between the way we view ourselves in the midst of our own culture and the biblical view of persons as created, moral beings
Can the church still speak effectively to a culture that has become morally unraveled? Wells believes it can. In fact, says Wells, 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.

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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802846723
Publisher:
Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
02/28/1999
Pages:
228
Sales rank:
1,251,205
Product dimensions:
6.01(w) x 9.08(h) x 0.74(d)

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