Posts by Carl Trueman

Posts by

Many congratulations to both Jon Master and Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary on his appointment as their new president, starting July 1 next year. Jon has all the qualities needed for a seminary president: a good churchman (twice on a Sunday -- a sadly rare thing these days), a fine...
Just over a decade ago, the big surprise in American evangelicalism was the sudden popularity of Calvinistic theology captured by Collin Hansen’s memorable phrase, ‘young, restless, and Reformed.’ More recently, another unexpected trend has emerged – an interest in classical...
The recent New York Times interview with Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary, is one for the ages. Indeed, critique is almost pointless as the interview itself begs not so much questions as gasps of amazement at the breathtaking combination of leaps of logic, misrepresentations of...
Preaching on Sunday for my friend, Jeff Stivason, at Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church I was reminded of how beautiful unaccompanied psalm singing can be. While I am not an exclusive psalmodist , I was first ordained as ruling elder in a (then) psalms-only denomination (the Free Church of Scotland...
I have been asked to put together an undergraduate elective course on the doctrine of God for Grove students for next year. There is, of course, a current (and most welcome) revival of interest in Protestant circles in classical Trinitarianism and the theology of the first four ecumenical councils...
It was a real pleasure to see Barry York’s very kind interaction with my recent DenDulk Lecture. The lecture itself was, as I confessed, long on analysis of the manifold temptations to corruption and incompetence to which religious institutions are prone and rather shorter on solutions. Barry...
In our ongoing discussion of the doctrine of God, it is worth reflecting on the fact that a church needs two things to be confessionally healthy: a sound form of words (a creed or confession); and a form of government by which the content of this can be preserved from generation to generation...
Given the positive response to our first two posts, and the fact that the doctrine of God is now emerging as a contested locus within our own denomination, we continue this ongoing series with some reflections on the type of questions that should be asked of candidates relative to the Christology...
Matthew Barrett , a professor at Midwestern Baptist Seminary , recently wrote to us with some questions that he verbally asks of seminarians in his classes. As the author of a recent book, None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God , he is rapidly emerging as a leading advocate of historic...
The last few years have seen a significant – and most welcome – revival of interest in the Christian doctrine of God among Reformed and evangelical writers. Scholars working in patristic, medieval, and Reformation periods have enriched our knowledge of the creedal and confessional...
A number of people have emailed with regard to my recent series asking versions of the following questions: But don’t words change their meaning over time? So doesn’t the nature of what we subscribe inevitably change as well? A number of observations are in order. First, words do indeed...
Etienne Gilson once commented that to be a competent philosopher, one also needs to be a competent historian of philosophy. Given some of the he terodox ideas currently being promoted by those who claim to be confessional Protestants , Gilson’s rule would seem to apply to theologians as well...
'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.' 'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.' 'The question is,' said...
In Part Two of this four part series, I offered some thoughts on the nature of doctrinal development. Now I want to turn to the discipline of Biblical Theology. Biblical Theology as a discipline emerges formally with the work of Johann Philipp Gabler in the late eighteenth century. In his justly...
Last week, I offered some preliminary thoughts on the relationship between Biblical and Systematic Theology. This week, I want to consider why it is that theology demands more than just harvesting the immediate results of the exegesis of biblical texts. Proper Christian theology is always...
Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Paideia Center Conference in Orlando, focused this year on the catholic, creedal understanding of God. I also sat on a discussion panel with Mike Allen, Scott Swain , Blair Smith and Liam Goligher , discussing the Trinity debate of 2016. Asked how it...
A number of years ago, I had occasion to fly to Korea via San Francisco. Flying across the US on a clear day is one of those rare pleasures which really allows you to get the geographical measure of the place: how flat much of the country is; how the snow-capped Rockies push the land upwards...
Three recent books are worth reading. The first is Thomas Weinandy’s Jesus Becoming Jesus . Weinandy is a Franciscan theologian who is well-known in orthodox Protestant circles for his superlative exposition and defense of classical theism, specifically immutability and impassibility . In...
I taught ministerial candidates for 25 years at three separate institutions and, during that time, came across one question in relation to doctrine more than any other: “Is it preachable ?” In fact, I suspect it was often not really a question -- more an implicit objection to a doctrine...
With moving job and house in the last two months, I was only vaguely aware of the Revoice Conference until a few weeks ago. Then suddenly my phone started to light up as friends forwarded me tweets and blog posts and interviews, pro and con. Finally, at the weekend a whole pile of very disturbing...
It was some six years ago that I accepted the call to become Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Ambler, Pa., as a bi-vocational appointment. I had been on the session there for two years as Teacher and took the call because it was clear that finances meant a full-time pastor was not...
I arrived on Faculty at Westminster in the summer of 2001. I had only been on campus for a couple of months before a group of students approached me one lunchtime and tried to recruit me to a most sinister and dangerous cult. `What?', I hear you cry, `Are the Moonies, the Children of God, and the...
Amid all of the discussion surrounding the so-called Pence Rule and also the forthcoming book from my friend, Aimee Byrd, there is one lacuna that is slightly puzzling. It is certainly the case that what the Rule seeks to achieve for Mike Pence are good and proper things, and the mockery to which...
Amid all of the discussion surrounding the so-called Pence Rule and also the forthcoming book from my friend, Aimee Byrd, there is one lacuna that is slightly puzzling. It is certainly the case that what the Rule seeks to achieve for Mike Pence are good and proper things, and the mockery to which...
The second century is arguably the Cinderella of the early church, generally neglected in favor of other, apparently more exciting and accessible, periods. It is populated by largely shadowy figures about whom we know enough to be tantalized, even impressed, but it lacks the giant intellects and...
Some years ago a student came to ask me if the Puritans had a theology of suffering. Apparently he had been told by someone that they did not. My response pointed to three basic facts. First, the Puritans lived in a time before the discovery of antibiotics, analgesics and flush toilets. Disease and...
Many people outside of Scotland may be unfamiliar with the story of the Rev. Kenny Macdonald who died last weekend. His story is well worth reading and pondering. I met him only once -- when we both happened to be visiting my soon-to-be father-in-law in hospital in Inverness in 1989. A most...
While thinking about the #MeToo movement, and the prominent place being played in it by members of the Hollywood establishment, I have asked myself a couple of times, ‘Is this a root-and-branch reformation of the structure of modern morality or merely something superficial?’ To be more...
I am grateful to Todd for mentioning my upcoming DC lectures and also to RTS DC for their kindness in asking me to present some of the firstfruits of my Princeton work in a public forum. The two lectures are entitled as follows: Lecture 1: Acknowledging the Unacknowledged Legislators: From William...
Over at Marginalia , a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books, my old pal Bruce Gordon of Yale Divinity School has put together a panel of scholars to offer reflections on the Reformation. Bruce's Introduction and Joseph Koerner's Art in a State of Siege are already available. My...
Such is the technological and moral temper of our times that a serious report with the bizarre title Our Sexual Future with Robots might scarcely raise an eyebrow in a world where the scientifically possible is fast becoming the only judge of the ethical and where celibate friendship is now the...
Lesbian feminists with a penchant for Nietzsche, Freud, and DeSade are not typically my type. Nevertheless, I fell in love with one in 1993 and have never quite recovered. I was then (as now) a happily married man and nothing untoward actually happened. But when I purchased a copy of Camille Paglia...
My inbox has been full of positive reactions to the PBS docudrama which aired last night. It is now available online here.
I recently had the pleasure of doing a podcast with Tony Payne, of Moore College, Sydney, in which we talked about the piety of the Reformation and Reformers. You can find it here . We also chatted briefly about the greatest literary description of the impact of Protestant piety upon the households...
This week's Spectator has a powerful, if very harrowing, article on prostitution and the harm it does . All pastors -- all Christians -- should read it. It reminded me of a podcast interview the MoS team did with Heather Evans, of Valley Against Sex Trafficking. That too is worth a listen for...
This week I am giving the Moore College Lectures in Sydney. The title of the series (with due homage to the great Peter Taylor Forsyth) is Reformation Preaching and the Modern Mind . My hope is to use the Reformers, especially Luther, as a source for building a theological understanding of what...
Over at his blog at Patheos, Professor Chris Gehrz has responded to my most recent post at First Things . Rod Dreher has provided a good reply but I offer here just a couple of brief comments. First, Professor Gehrz seems on the whole to think that I see the problem with the LGBTQ movement as one...
For me this summer is to be one of engaging Martin Luther. Next Friday I am to be the token Schwaermer at a conference on the Word of God for Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pastors and theologians. In August I am giving the Moore Theological College Annual Lectures on ‘Reformation Preaching...
I have received unexpected and unsolicited gifts of two drinking vessels recently. The first, from the person we at the Spin know simply as Evil Amy the Less, the author who last year had the slanderous temerity to base (and indeed name) the character of an alcoholic priest in her novel of medieval...
Reading Augustine's De Trinitate this semester with a group of students, I was struck by this brilliant analysis of the way that sin operates. It comes from Book XII: "For just as a snake does not walk with open strides bur wriggles along by the tiny little movements of its scales, so the...
Donald Macleod has written a moving obituary of the Rev. Dr. Iain D. Campbell. You can find it here .
‘To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.’ So wrote John Henry Newman in his famous essay on doctrinal development. I have critiqued this comment from a confessional Reformed perspective in First Things and will do so again in a forthcoming collection of essays on the...
My favourite church history book of 2016 is Bruce Gordon’s John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion . I confess to being a little partisan: Bruce is my oldest scholarly friend since we were both postgraduates in Scotland in the late 80s and denizens of the Scottish Church...
My favourite church history book of 2016 is Bruce Gordon’s John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion . I confess to being a little partisan: Bruce is my oldest scholarly friend since we were both postgraduates in Scotland in the late 80s and denizens of the Scottish Church...
I’ve spent the last few months finishing up a book with Bob Kolb, the Luther scholar, entitled Between Wittenberg and Geneva: Lutheran and Reformed Theology in Conversation . It is due from Baker later next year. Bob is, for my money, the greatest living Luther scholar in the English-speaking...
Todd’s inaugural post as the new editor of this blog (all complaints to Pruitt from now on, please) makes a very good point and also highlights Fred Sanders’s fine review of Richard Rohr’s book on the Trinity . Sanders is witty and sharp as always – and rightly so, for the...
It's been interesting seeing some of the sharp rhetoric being used about Christian voting over the last few weeks, rhetoric that has if anything become more extreme in the last twenty-four hours. But here's the thing: if you are a pastor who thinks an evangelical who voted for Trump has...
Reformation Day 1516 brings us to the final year countdown to the 500th anniversary of Luther's call for a debate about the nature and scope of indulgences, the event which is popularly seen as the start of the Reformation. It promises to be a busy year for Luther maniacs like myself and here...
If reading about Luther’s life is essential as a means of orienting you to understanding his theology, the next thing is to read that theology for yourself. If you have Latin and German and access to a decent theological library, then the Weimar edition of Luther’s works is an option...