Book Quotes: God the Evangelist by David F. Wells

One of my favorite things to do after reading a book is to go back and record meaningful quotes. I recently read a book called God the Evangelist: How the Holy Spirit works to bring men and women to faith by David Wells (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1987) and I thought I’d share some meaningful quotes from that book below. I hope you enjoy!

“the Holy Spirit’s true work is to lead sinners to Christ and through Christ to God; to make individual believers Christ-like in love, humility, righteousness, and patience; and to animate the church corporately to offer praise to God, service and help to each other, and compassionate outreach to the world.” – pg. xiii

“There are today many millions of people who hold ‘right opinions,’ probably more than ever before in the history of the Church. Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the ‘program.’ This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.” – pg. xiii, quoting A.W. Tozer

“the view of evangelism as first and foremost a Christian duty required by the Great Commission … is no older than the last century, prior to which the mainspring of evangelism among lay Christians was the naturalness of sharing Christ with one’s neighbor out of sheer inner excitement over the new life of hope one had found.” – pg. xiv

“Certainly true worship invigorates, but to plan invigoration is not necessarily to order worship.” – pg. xiv

“Suffering is the Christian’s road home; no other road leads there. But the twentieth-century West has come to think of a life free from pain and trouble as virtually a natural human right, and Christian minds have been so swamped by this thinking that nowadays any pain and loss in a Christian’s life is felt to cast doubt on God’s goodness.” – pg. xv

“as the glow of the hope of glory has faded, credibility has diminished, and zeal for sharing Christ has waned. Meantime, evangelism has been institutionalized . . . thus becoming a duty rather than a delight.” – pg. xv

“by evoking a heartfelt response of confession, celebration, repentance, obedience, and praise. Those who share this experience, the apostles assume, will know that they have received the Spirit.” – pg. 8

“The Spirit is the gift of the new age, the guarantee and foretaste, the pledge and first installment of what is to come when the fullness of salvation is revealed in Christ’s return.”  – pg. 10

“The Holy Spirit can inspire our Scriptures, miraculously create the humanity of Jesus, raise him from the dead, recreate human life, and fill and fashion the church to be Christ’s instrument because he is God. He can lead, teach, instruct, and pray because he is personal. He is our eternal contemporary, present with us in every moment of our lives, the one because of whom we have savingly believed on Christ and without whom we could not live in this present age confident of Christ’s victory.”  – pg. 10

“He illumines our minds, regenerates our heats, bends our wills, applies the benefits of Christ’s death to us, transforms us, fills us, empowers us, and leads us to love and worship Christ, by whom alone we are saved.”  – pg. 14

“The purpose in idolatry is always the same. It is to displace God, to replace him by gods of our own liking and, insofar as they are substitutes, to control them. We thus seek to become God through our gods.” – pg. 20

“The Holy Spirit transforms and renews all that is good, beautiful, and true in religious culture. Like human life, all of religious life is tainted with sin.” – pg. 25

“Outside of the supernatural working of God’s Spirit, unbelief is invincible, cultures are impenetrable, and doors are closed.” – pg. 28

“Jesus’ birth, baptism, miracles, teaching, sacrifice, and resurrection are all ascribed to the working of the Holy Spirit.” – pg. 29

“No leading of the Spirit can be accepted as the leading of the Spirit of Christ if it does not bring us toward him, does not confront us with the uniqueness of his life and death and call for our obedience to him.” – pg. 31

Regeneration: “The Spirit creates a breach with all that is past, making a new person with a new nature and new appetites that can be satisfied only in the new habitat of Christ. The Spirit does not simply renovate what is already extant in the sinner. The life of sanctification is not merely what is patched up from the life outside of Christ. The Spirit instead works to create a life de novo.” – pg. 33

“To trust in what we are is to build an insurmountable barrier to true faith in Christ.” – pg. 41

“It is not possible to claim with any legitimacy that the Spirit’s work has been experienced if we are not as a result consciously and explicitly looking to Christ as our Savior and substitute, our Lord and master. The Spirit’s work is to glorify Christ, and if Christ is not glorified in was that are cogently biblical, then the Spirit has not been at work.” – pg. 44

“It is he [Holy Spirit] who gives extraordinary power to the preaching of the Word, reality to worship, purity to life, and joy to giving.” – pg. 47

“Holiness is to be our pursuit, our walk. . . For the body of Christ is to preach, live, and exhibit a radically different moral life from that of the world around it.” – pg. 56

“Orthodoxy in matters of belief is not a substitute for holiness in life, either for the individual or the church, because orthodoxy in biblical terms includes the moral outcomes of that right belief.” – pg. 58

“Preaching is that event in which God bespeaks the words of Scripture, making their truth urgent, decisive, and contemporary. Preaching that is disciplined by the nature of Scripture as inspired is therefore that kind of exposition in which God’s truth is made so clear and memorable that it is lodged firmly in the hearts of those who hear it.” – pg. 60-61

“The allure of worldliness—its promise of acceptability and normality in the wider culture—cannot be compared with the allure of walking with God. . . We need that renewal of the Spirit that will make biblical truth a bracing reality in our lives, Christian worship a joyful and invigorating experience, and our life in the world one of effective witness and service. Without this foundation of spiritual reality, it is not possible for evangelism to be generated or even widely supported in our churches.” – pg. 64

“In secular societies, righteousness is supposedly what results when the greatest number suffer the fewest intrusions upon their person quests for peace and prosperity.” – pg. 66

“The Cross, therefore, is an eschatological event, because it brings forward into time a partial realization of the judgment of God. For those who stand in Christ, the judgment is already past. For them there is now no condemnation. For those who stand outside of Christ, however, the Cross is a somber and awesome revelation of God’s relationship to sin and of the judgment to come.” – pg. 67

“It [technology and information] will create a global, electronic village dominated by big business and show business where the aim is to say less and less to more and more people. This will lead to media imperialism on the one hand, and on the other, to passive, self-absorbed, introverted viewers, people who can easily be manipulated and whose skills in personal relations, whose capacity for community and fellowship, will shrivel.” – pg. 73

“Electronic media succeed because they are able to make us think that we are a part of the action. … it creates the illusion of participation in problems and events, it also leads us to confusing doing something with simply knowing something about a problem.” – pg. 74

“The desire to see men and women come to Christ is biblical; the need to be successful is not. Success is the sacrament of a secular age. Its outward and visible signs are affluence, prestige, power, the ascent of the corporate ladder, the wider influence, the bigger church, the biggest audience. Its inward and invisible grace is its sense of having arrived, of being somebody. . . in contrast, the search for God’s power in the Bible is inseparable from suffering, humiliation, and the loss of those things that give us standing in the world.” – pg. 93

“Worldliness is the ‘cool’ life, what encourages us to think, for example, . . . , that personal gratification is a right, and that self-interest expressed in career, material acquisition, and power is the goal to which all of life’s processes should be directed and, where necessary, bent.” – pg. 97

“Our world easily creates a fissure between our identity and our witness; those who are under its influence therefore imagine that Christian witness can float free of Christian identity, that what we say can be dissociated from who we are.” – pg. 98