David Wells

I haven’t been posting much because I am on the road, visiting the Auburn Avenue Pastors’ Conference. But just a quick note — on the plane ride here, I finished David Wells’ latest book, The Courage to Be Protestant. Magnificent book, and I love that man. Pretension after evangelical pretension is mercilessly dissected. Over against the marketers and emergents, Wells sets the truth of God, whole and unvarnished.

And yet, one discordant thought did strike me in the course of reading the book. This point is not about Wells or his book, but rather about the behavior of those who read his book, and respond to it in difference ways. The subtitle refers to three groups of people — truth-lovers, marketers and emergents. And yet, in my experience, out of these three groups (the first group being marked by their acceptance of Wells’ important point that the truth is fixed, objective, and not for sale), which group has been responsible for telling the most lies about me and what I believe? That’s right, and the contest is not even close. The ones misrepresenting me in the most enthusiastic ways have been drawn almost exclusively from the first group. The truth-lovers.

When you abandon the concept of truth, everything turns to mush, and you lose the ability even to tell an old-fashioned lie. If you retain the idea of objective truth, this means that you live in a world in which truth-telling is possible. But that doesn’t mean the truth-telling necessarily happens.

One important qualification. Not everyone who differs or who misunderstands is lying.