Therefore, while accommodating God in the growing consumer market, the Church has marketed God as a commodity. A product becoming familiar to most of the consumers day by day is becoming equally dispensable. A market where consumer is considered sovereign, God’s status is at stakes. With the loss of His objectivity and transcendence, the God of today has become weightless. He proposes that the church must distance itself from modernization and keep up with the spirit of God as an other self and an objective transcendent Being.
The very idea of giving in to traditions is in its very essence against the idea of ecclesiastics. He believes that if the church of the sixteenth century can reform, so does the church of today. CRITICAL INTERACTION WITH THE AUTHOR’S WORK. According to David Wells, the seductive cultural currents of the modern world are not only fruitless but they have increasingly robbed humans of their past appetite for transcendence and morality. The growing trends of inwardliness are disconnecting individuals from their outside world.
In order to find significance to their existence, modern individuals are delving more and more to their inner potentials, rather than looking out upon some other greater source of inspiration. This personalized view of morality is making it a variable. Rather than a fixed code to which every individual had to comply with. Personalized moral values are creating mere confusion. The worst form of this seduction is evident in the new Evangelicalism. Modern Church has turned therapeutic and managerial in its operations and has adopted shifting market trends.
The wasteland where God has been proclaimed to be dead, as proposed by Nietzsche almost half a century earlier, He is kept alive only in an etherized state, vulnerable at our expense. Chip M. Anderson holds a similar view point and says, “Even if the evangelical community has not quite buried God, we certainly have tamed Him. We have refashioned Him into the image of an omnipotent Friend or divine Psychologist who champions our full potential. This, in turn, has led to a new focus for measuring spirituality.
” Wells describes the ways in which Church has popularized itself and is convinced that the “Church is paying a high price for all its success ”. With its preoccupations for building mega structures the Church is loosing its basic essence of Christianity. He condemns Barna’s Church proposal that explains the techniques through which Church can capture religious market. According to Barna, “Like it or not, the Church is not only in a market but is itself a business” .
Wells explains the way in which the new Evangelic are making the Church an enterprise, headed by entrepreneurs and managers, rather than by God and Christ. In order to achieve their aim to multiply in number, the entrepreneurs are trying hard to adjust God in the modern world. They promote God more as a product and the followers as customers. This he explains is not a healthy ideal for it makes God powerless. “When the consumer is sovereign,” he adds, “the product (in this case God Himself) must be subservient” .
Wells proposal is to objectify God and promote His otherness as a Being apart from the personal self. This he believes is the only way out to defeat the modern culture of subjectivity and disorder. In a world where there is an appetite for God but a common disenchantment towards theology and scriptures, Wells believes otherwise. He thinks that a strong theology is needed as an anti thesis to post modern cultural trends. This in its very form is what the Evangelicalism was all about initially. Compromising with dominating circumstances can not be the case with God’s Word.
Another writer has well said, “Therefore, even if it means swimming against the current of this age, a genuine return to the original proclamation and apologetic of the New Testament is the only lifeguard for rescuing imperiled human rationality and for reviving the souls of our contemporaries who are drowning in the depth of postmodern pointlessness and despair ” Wells vision of the future is made of mixed sentiments. The young seminaries as Wells observe take theology and scriptures seriously but they do explicit current trends of self being locus for intellectual combat.
In an over all analysis David F. Wells creates a balanced critique on the modern society and its eventual corruption of Church. Though most part of the book is preoccupied with its critical evaluation of modern world and Church, supported with a number of contemporary analysis, nowhere does the book becomes boring. Taking the problem of the Church a little further, this volume promises other sequels to come to deal with the issues presented. CONCLUSION David Wells has convincingly presented his evangelical concerns, which might not be appreciated by premodern sensibilities. The strength of his critique is its focus on the perils of modern way of living.
Wells has successfully restrained from criticizing unnecessarily. This makes his work even more effective. He compels his readers to think of the future of the church beyond the present reality. I believe that wells have been successful in creating a volume that provides an objective insight and is equally thought provoking. His suggested reforms might be hard to achieve in the modern world, but are actually in essence with the true spirit of Christianity. The revival of a bold theology and its implications is a concern not conclusively debated in this volume; however, the issues are further discussed in his next volumes