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David F. Wells has written his book again. Indeed, reading a new book by Wells is something like my experience of reading new books by Anne Lamott. About 15 pages in, I find myself asking: Isn't this the same book, again?

Readers who pick up Wells's ...

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Josh McIntyre

January 15, 2014  4:52am

To butcher a Chesteron quote: A good book review tells us the truth about the book; but a bad book review tells us the truth about the book reviewer...

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Sean Whitenack

December 09, 2013  6:51am

"But isn't Scripture itself the product of a culture (many cultures), and doesn't the gospel invite us into the alternative culture of the body of Christ? Our goal is not a biblical viewpoint bereft of culture, but a cultural formation that's biblically infused." While I've benefited greatly from Smith's books in the past, this is a very troubling statement on the nature of inspiration. In fact, Smith may be a fine example of Wells' point regarding the the condition of the church in America today. Justin Taylor has a helpful review of the book from a more positive view online: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/12/07/why-the-new-boo k-by-david-wells-is-different-and-how-it-relates-to-his-earlier-works/ His thesis is that the book is different and offers something new.

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Daniel Klaehn

December 08, 2013  2:52pm

Terrible review written with a lack of respect for an elderly Church statesman. James Smith attacks the messenger (Wells) because he doesn't like the message (the Church is compromised because of its love for the world). That doesn't mean Wells' book is bad or wrong or written from a man out-of-touch with this generation. And, possibly, just possibly, Wells touches on themes similar to his other books because the Church is stiff-necked and refuses to heed his message. As far as I'm concerned, let Wells write all the books he wants (would Smith prefer another book by a prosperity preacher?) But Wells has earned the right to be heard, he has a message burning in his soul, and he has the Church's best interests in view. As for being a "theological grandfather," what about it? It would do Smith to put his Christian money where his mouth is and show a little respect for his elders. Smith is too comfortable in this culture and finds Wells' word of salt and light too direct for his liking.

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Wit D

December 07, 2013  8:04pm

James Smith have just encourage me to go and get the book. The bible warn us about people like Smith,in Colossians 2 v8. Empty and vain babble, design to show their own intellect or lack of it. God's word transcend culture and time. When this present western culture change again from bad to worst, God's word will be right here and remains the same, unchanging and exposing folly, from the so-call wise and the proud... Smith does not seem to understand , that he came into this world and met the Word, many have tried and failed to subvert the Word and yet it remains true,and tested in ages pass ; I wonder if all of his philosophy can explain that.?

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Matt Kamps

December 06, 2013  11:56pm

Mr. Smith is merely saying that God used the means of culture to bring us the scriptures, namely the Hebrew and Greek cultures to name two of them. In the same way, when we are in union with Christ, we find ourselves 'walking to the beat of a different Drummer.' Smith's point is that we can't just try and change our ideas about God, and expect to change things. Through Christian worship and spiritual disciplines, we need to 'get our toes tapping' to the new music of the kingdom. Smith's corrective of Wells is based on a fuller understanding of human nature. We are much more than the sum total of our thoughts and convictions. People are also (and maybe mostly!) products of their affections and desires, and although Christian faith does bring a renewal of the mind, it starts with the changing of the heart.

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Randall I Davis

December 06, 2013  9:14pm

Whether we are Smith or Wells or whoever - Christianity is a relationship before it is a system of beliefs or values...a relationship restored with God through Chris and always being enriched by The Holy Spirit. We live and breath in relationships...how wonderful that God would choose this most common thing to reach us, to indwell us and transform us to what we were created for! Hallelujah, What a Savior!

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Vic Christian

December 06, 2013  5:06pm

I agree with Steve - this writer (James Smith) comes across as a bit arrogant and his comment regarding scripture being a product of a culture is really off base. This makes me want to find the book written by Mr. Wells.

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Steve Page

December 06, 2013  12:57pm

The initial ugliness of the review turned me off and things didn't get better as I read further. "But isn't Scripture itself the product of a culture (many cultures)" I always thought that scripture was "God breathed" and not the product of a culture. I may not totally agree with Wells (although I thought, God in the Wasteland was very good.) but there's little I can take from this review.

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Chuck Anderson

November 30, 2013  8:49am

OK we get it Smith. You don't care for cerebral. But do you have to be so mean to say it? I saw Wells once debating at Harvard Divinity. What a model of courtesy and kindness he showed to those who differed with him. I think there is plenty of room for Evangelicals to learn from each other.

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