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Above all Earthly Powers: Christ in a Post-modern World

Author: David F Wells
Published By: William Eerdmans/IVP (Grand Rapids/Leicester)
Pages: 320
Price: £14.99
ISBN: 1 84474 106 0

Reviewed by P Mark Pullinger.

This volume is the fourth in a series started in 1993 which puts a mirror to the western world and in particular the place and context of the evangelical church within it.

This book stands strongly on its own agenda, without necessarily needing a knowledge of its precursors, and reflects particularly on a post-modern, post ‘9/11’ world. Wells takes and unwraps three issues - the subtle, but significant cultural changes since the event in New York city; the deep reminder that this event gave of the globally multi-ethnic complexity that makes up the current context of the western world; and, of the effect that this ‘evil’ had in illuminating the poverty of the evangelical church in truly meeting this multi-layered and spiritually-needy cultural milieu with a clear message and demonstration of the Christian gospel. The heavily marketed and largely homogenous juggernaut churches that developed from the 70s and 80s come under some helpful and well-researched critique; that they have had their day, and that the revisiting of some New Testament values on ‘doing’ church may better address the emerging contemporary societal and cultural issues brought into focus into that post 9/11 context.

Whether the reader is involved in seeking roots on which to develop new expressions of ‘doing’ or developing church, or more generally concerned for the gospel in contemporary culture, this readable and informed work has much to say to both caution and inspire. Reading past the American emphasis, there is much that will help in theologically and pragmatically instructing the development of the (evangelical) church in the United Kingdom and Western Europe as it seeks to embrace the new contexts of the 21st century society with the gospel of Christ.

P Mark Pullinger

Assistant Curate in South London, with interests in music, liturgy, and biblical studies, particularly in helping others explore the larger shapes and threads which form and unite both Testaments.

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You are reading Issue 39 of Ministry Today, published in March 2007.

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