In his book, No Place for Truth, David Wells examines the steady disappearance of theology in the evangelical church over the past century. The subtitle (or the alternate title) of the book, Whatever happened to Evangelical Theology? explains well his approach and concern in the book. What has happened to theology in the Church? When did doctrine become a dirty word? What are the consequences of such a trend? Wells explains the situation like this,
We now have less biblical fidelity, less interest in truth, less seriousness, less depth, and less capacity to speak the Word of God to our own generation in a way that offers an alternative to what it already thinks (12).
Wells then compares the ‘old orthodoxy’ with the ‘newer evangelicalism’:
The older orthodoxy was driven by a passion for truth and that was why it could express itself in only theological terms. The newer evangelicalism is not driven by the same passion for truth, and that is why it is often empty of theological interest (12).
Wells then follows with what will be his approach in the book:
Let me explain how I am going to develop this case. My central purpose is to explore why it is that theology is disappearing (This task is substantial enough in its own right that I will have to leave to another volume assessments about what can be done to reverse it.) It is already clear, however, that my approach in this book is going to be broad rather than narrow. It is not theology alone in which I am interested but theology driven by a passion for truth…why has the passion for truth diminished? (12, emphasis added).
I highlight those last few words because I think they are so instructive for us as we do theology. What is driving our theology? Is it a passion for truth? Or is it a passion for doing theology? There is a subtle, yet monumental difference between the two. The former will keep our thinking clear, compelling and useful; the latter will make us, in the long run, indifferent to Christ and the Church, and probably make us very hard to talk to. In fact, according to Wells assessment, theology pursued without a passion for truth will probably soon disappear altogether.