Saturday, February 8, 2014

reading highlights from david wells

Reading God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our World, by David Wells (Crossway, 2014).  Here are some highlights so far...

This is the direction in which our culture is pushing us: God does not interfere. He is a God of love and he is not judgmental... We see him as a never-ending fountain of these blessings. He is our Concierge.
 
We have exited the older moral world in which God was transcendent and holy, and we have entered a new psychological world in which he is only immanent and only loving.
 
We are now thinking of ourselves in terms, not of human nature, but of the self. And the self is simply an internal core of intuitions. It is the place where our own unique biography, gender, ethnicity, and life-experience all come together in a single center of self-consciousness.  And none of it is framed by absolute moral norms. This is where the overwhelming majority of Americans live.
 
This is not a generational matter. It was, and is, a cultural matter.
 
This was the soil on which Oprah built her TV empire. The followers who watched her show week by week were as conventional as apple pie in their own minds. The Pied Piper whom they followed, though, really is not. She heralded an age when God is found in the self, when salvation is only about therapy, happiness is just around the corner, and consumption is everyone’s right. And the nice thing about Oprah is that she herself is not perfection on toast. She is so very human. Her follies and shortcomings are all on display in moments of painful honesty. It was as if she was in her own private confessional—though confessing to herself—but the whole world was privileged to listen in.
 
Under the postmodern sun, everyone has a right to their own version of reality. When this comes about, any culture loses its ability to renew its own life.
 
There are a number of these fallen boundaries of which we should be aware. The distinction between soul and body was a boundary that disappeared increasingly after the 1960s as our culture began its self-transformation.
 
One suspects, though, that the outcome will not be very different. When these social experiments collapse, they bring behind them immense confusion, disorder, and suffering.
 
There is panic in the culture because we know our era is ending. Our horror movies are not just stories. They are a kind of mirror of ourselves.
 
That is why we must come back to our first principles. And the most basic of these is the fact that God is there and that he is objective to us. He is not there to conform to us; we must conform to him.
 
That calling is to know God as he has made himself known and in the ways that he has prescribed. We are to hear this call within the framework he has established. He is not there at our convenience, or simply for our healing, or simply as the Divine Teller handing out stuff from his big bank. No, we are here for his service. We are here to know him as he is and not as we want him to be. The local church is the place where we should be learning about this, and God’s Word is the means by which we can do so.
 
-- David F. Wells, God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-love of God Reorients Our World. (Crossway, 2014)

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