The Soul-Shaping Reality of the Gospel

from Jan 26, 2011 Category: Tabletalk Magazine

David Wells

Throughout 2011 we are conducting interviews with influential pastors, scholars, and artist. This interview column will serve to show the lives and ministries of these interviewees, in order to stir our readers on to live more holy lives.

TT: Besides the Bible, what has been the most influential book you have read this past year?

DW: Most politicians answer a slightly different question from the one they have been asked, and so may I do so, too? The book I would love to see become the year’s most influential is J.I. Packer and Gary Parrett’s Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way. It argues that our churches should be catechizing because this kind of teaching, especially of our young, preserves doctrine. Biblical doctrine is what makes the church the church. We are stumbling in passing on the doctrinal core of the faith, and that goes to the heart of the church’s weakness today.

TT: Looking at the lay of the evangelical land, what do you see as the largest threat to the church?

DW: Every study on the internal life of the churches shows that they are becoming increasingly less literate biblically. With that, our ability to judge where our culture is intruding upon our souls is diminished. A church that is merely mimicking the culture, rather than offering a biblical alternative to it, is on its way to oblivion. That, in fact, has happened in many Western countries, where no more than two to five percent go to any kind of church at all on Sunday morning. The situation in Europe today could be where we ourselves are headed in the years to come.

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