Invitation from John Piper
The following letter is an invitation from John Piper to join him at a conference focused on David Well's excellent book on Christ and postmodernism followed by related essays, an interview with Wells and a link to a new blog focused on the Conference and this book:
When I read David Wellsâ€™ new book, Above All Earthly Powâ€™rs: Christ in a Postmodern World (Eerdmans, 2005), I knew I wanted to build the Desiring God National Conference around the message of this book. Amazingly when I called Dr. Wells, he was available for our dates, September 29 â€“ October 1, 2006. I am thrilled at the team of speakers who will join him in exalting the biblical Christ in this new-but-ever-the-same postmodern world of sin in which we live.
The burden of Wellsâ€™ book is first to understand the postmodern world, and then to confront that world with the never-changing Christ. His thesis is that the West today is not simply a product of Enlightenment ideology, with its rejection of authority and reliance on reason without revelation, but is also the product of a process of consumeristic, technological, media-driven modernization that created an experience of reality which affirms and reinforces that ideology.
One effect of this modernization has been to give rise to the centrality of the psychologically oriented self in the place of a morally oriented human nature. The postmodern, all-consuming â€œselfâ€â€”with its self-made spiritualityâ€”is subject to no outside authority. All reality has contracted into this self. It is radically individualized and privatized and insistently therapeutic. It does not feel at home in the doctrines and traditions of religion. It is on an endless quest for the enhancement of its experience measured by itself alone. â€œAll of this has produced soil throughout society that positively invites the new spirituality. It seems normal and natural. That is why it is as difficult for the church to contest today as was Gnosticism in the early centuriesâ€ (p. 138).
America is tuned in to spiritual matters but not to religious formulations. This makes it very easy to gain a hearing for what is spiritual but hard to maintain a genuinely biblical posture because that becomes a part of â€œreligion.â€ It is very easy to build churches in which seekers congregate; it is very hard to build churches in which biblical faith is maturing into genuine discipleship. It is the difficulty of this task which has been lost in many seeker churches, which are meeting places for those who are searching spiritually but are not looking for that kind of faith which is spiritually tough and countercultural in a biblical way (p. 119).
Into this world and this spiritual situation an amazing team of speakers is eager to speak on behalf of the risen Lord of the universe, Jesus Christ. I am honored that they were willing to come. David Wells, Professor of Historical Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, will set the stage for us on the theme, The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World. Don Carson, Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, will speak on â€œThe Supremacy of Christ and Love in a Postmodern World.â€ Tim Keller, Senior Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, will address â€œThe Supremacy of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World.â€ Mark Driscoll, the Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, will aim at the topic â€œThe Supremacy of Christ and the Church in a Postmodern World.â€ Voddie Baucham, the founder and leader of Voddie Baucham Ministries in Texas, will tackle the theme â€œThe Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Postmodern World.â€ My own address will focus on â€œThe Supremacy of Christ and Joy in a Postmodern World.â€
Our aim is to call the church to a radical and very old vision of the Man, Jesus Christâ€”fully God, fully sovereign, fully redeeming by his substitutionary, wrath-absorbing death, fully alive and reigning, fully revealed for our salvation in the inerrant Holy Bible, and fully committed to being preached with human words and beautifully described with doctrinal propositions based on biblical paragraphs. We love Dorothy Sayersâ€™ old saying, â€œThe Dogma is the Drama.â€ We think the post-propositional, post-dogmatic, post-authoritative â€œconversationâ€ is post-relevant and post-saving.
We would like to worship this Christ with you. That is what we plan to do: speak, think, pray, and worship the supreme Christ. I hope you consider coming.
For the glory of Jesus Christ,
Eros Spirituality Vs. Agape Faith by David F. Wells
We Are Not Peddlers of God's Word by David Wells
Interview with David F. Wells, author of Above All Earthly Pow'rs (January 2006)
Desiring God National Conference Blog
Learn More About David Well's New Book
Above All Earthly Powâ€™rs: Christ in a Postmodern World (Eerdmans, 2005),