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SPIRITUAL RENEWAL IN 'THE COURAGE TO BE PROTESTANT' - By David Wells

SPIRITUAL RENEWAL IN 'THE COURAGE TO BE PROTESTANT'

Book Review

By Julian Mann
http://cranmercurate.blogspot.co.uk/
May 31, 2014

The Courage to be Protestant - Truth-lovers, marketers and emergents in the postmodern world (IVP, 2008) by David F. Wells is one of the most spiritually renewing books your curate has read for some years.

With the cut-the-price-so-more-will-buy ethos becoming firmly entrenched in the older denominations as their leaders try to cling on to the social and political platforms their forebears enjoyed in the Protestant West, Dr. Wells's prophetic appeal for a God-centred approach to building the church has even more weight six years on from publication.

The book concludes with an outstanding peroration:
Letting God be God over the church means that he becomes foundational to its being, thinking, and doing. In a highly pragmatic culture, such as we have in America, doing cuts itself off from thinking. The only thinking that gets done, at least with respect to the church, is about the how-to questions...I believe that today there is a yearning for churches in which God is God. Those are the churches that most easily become the communities we have all lost, where relations are developed, even in this fallen world, in the sight of God. They are where people strive to be truthful in those relations, which really is the key to integrity, and integrity ties together our public and private lives...Unless the Lord rebuilds the evangelical church today, as we humble ourselves before him and hear afresh his Word, it will not be rebuilt (p247-248).

In the light of this godly call to the evangelical church in the West to worship our God rather than our culture, the Book of Common Prayer Collect for Ascension Day seems wonderfully appropriate:
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.

Amen.

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