Posts Tagged ‘Carl Trueman’

I know, especially among undergrad Christians, its really popular to be anti-denominational.  That’s good in a sense because it reflects a sincere desire to be united and affective in shining forth Christ to our world.  But sometimes it seems like it’s just a fad, a pet cause, a way of rebelling against the system.  Church historian Carl Truemen captures the tension well:

The problem comes, of course, from the fact that denominations often exist for very good reasons; because people have strong opinions about things that matter. They may be wrong, but they have strong opinions about things one should have strong opinions about. J. Gresham Machen…talking about the dispute between Luther and Zwingli on the Lord’s Supper in the 16th Century said, ‘it was a tragedy that Protestantism split over a disagreement on the Lord’s Supper, but it would have been a much greater tragedy if Protestantism had been united because neither Luther or Zwingli thought the Lord’s Supper was really that important.’

Trueman has always been one of my favorite authors/lecturers.  His sharp, witty style is always fun to read as well as keenly insightful, and he has an ability to analyze history and make it relevant to today.

Like in these lectures.

He blogs here.

Good reads: 

Trapped in Neverland

From the Versace Vacuum to the Brand of Brothers

Goodbye Larry King, Hello Jerry Springer!

Newsweek on Gay Marriage

A Good Creed Seldom Goes Unpunished

On Meeting Joe Frazier: The Missing Element of Modern Theology

A Little Bit of Comfort for Machen’s Worrier Children


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Since all of the authors of this blog are Bible students, and I assume many of are readers are,  I hope to see some interaction.  My experience with this generation of undergrad students has been that reading the Bible as narrative (or story) is far more emphasized than reading it as proposition. I have no problem with narrative.  It is obvious that vast portions of the Bible are in narrative form, and that the Bible interprets itself quite often as a continual, unfolding narrative.  My problem is with the reckless either/or-ism that dominates much of the talk in this area, particularly among Emergents/postmoderns.  And so I offer this quote by church historian Carl Trueman to rattle the categories a bit (bear with the wordiness).

As to the notion of narrative, when this is introduced as being the overarching device for expressing truth, or as guiding all Bible teaching, then an alien philosophical framework has been introduced as an apriori principle for reading scripture.  Certainly there is much narrative in scripture, but to use this as the only axiomatic model for understanding and explicating the gospel is fallacious.

First, this approach ignores the fact that much of the Bible is not in narratival form. Second, this kind of approach fails to historicise itself by understanding that the use of narrative in this way arises in the context of modern, anti-metaphysical, anti-ontological philosophy.  It is potentially just as enslaved to unbiblical philosophical paradigms as any of the early Greek Apologists. Third…It confuses an insight, a tool, with the whole toolkit.  Doing theology by using nothing more than redemptive history is like trying to build a house from the ground up, armed only with a hammer. (Carl Trueman, Minority Report: Unpopular Thoughts on Everything from Ancient Christianity to Zen Calvinism).

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