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The courage to be Protestant

By David F. Wells
May 2016 | Review by Joseph Hewitt
  • Publisher: IVP
  • ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-84474-278-3
  • Pages: 248
  • Price: 14.99
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I bought this some years ago and regret having never read it until now.

What changed me? The fact that next year is the 500th anniversary of Luther’s historic nailing of 95 theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenburg, initiating the Protestant Reformation.

That led to my asking the really big question: where are the true Protestants today? Is there anyone around with the calibre of a Luther, Knox or Spurgeon? Has truth really ‘fallen in the streets’ (Isaiah 59:14)? If so, why? Is the church today no longer biblical? Yes, there are voices, but with so little punch or the Davidian conviction of 1 Samuel 17:36.

David Wells, a writer reminiscent of Francis Schaeffer, has summarised his previous four books in this 2008 publication. I certainly value his diagnostic skills. He writes with a critical eye upon the scene in the USA, but I can see its application to the UK.

Following chapters entitled ‘The lay of the evangelical land’ and ‘Christianity for sale’, this penetrating work takes up five doctrinal themes: Truth, God, self, Christ, and finally, the church. He lays bare much modern thinking and current trends among churches.

David Wells ends his book with a succinct and challenging conclusion. Quoting 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, he responds to the pertinent question, ‘Who builds the church?’, by using the following headings: ‘God is sovereign’, ‘We are captive’, ‘Means of growth’, and ‘Let God be God over the church.’

Nothing is sure to happen if we do not humble ourselves under the authority and mighty hand of God, praying and seeking for his honour and glory to be exhibited in all local churches. We must turn from looking inward to looking unto Jesus. Men of today, are we worthy of our past history? Are we walking worthy of the gospel?

Joseph Hewitt


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