Office Hours: With Carl Trueman “And Miles To Go Before I Sleep”

Office Hours 2016 full sizeCarl Trueman has been a university professor, seminary professor, a visiting professor at Princeton University, and a bi-vocational pastor. He is now Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies at Grove City College. He is also an old friend. We met in the early 1990s, when I was a post-graduate student in the UK and he was a young professor at the University of Nottingham. He very generously invited me to help with a collection of essays on Protestant Scholasticism, on which I’ve been making a living ever since. Carl, however, has gone on to a distinguished career writing in print and online. He’s the author of a number of books, one of the most recent is Grace Alone: Salvation As A Gift of God. Among his other works is The Creedal Imperative on the value of creeds and confessions and a couple of wonderful books on John Owen. In short, read Trueman. He was on campus recently to deliver the annual den Dulk Lectures on pastoral ministry. His theme: “And Miles to Go Before I Sleep,”

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  1. Dr. Clark,
    Thank you for interviewing Dr. Trueman this morning. Hearing about the challenges pastors confront increases my understanding of the blessing these men are to us, especially in the URC.
    Thank you!

  2. Gentlemen,
    What an odd, but pleasing experience, listening to a conversation on the other side of the world between two people I went to church with in different places and at different times.

    ‘The sun that bids us rest is waking/ our brethren ‘neath the western sky.’

    Allan Girdwood

    • Allan,

      What a wonderful surprise! I was just telling some students yesterday how gracious you were to me during my time in the UK.

      I am ever grateful.


      • I appreciate both Dr.Clark and Dr. Trueman’s commitment to credal and confessional Reformed theology and churchmanship. Thanks for the podcast.

  3. As a bi-vocational (associate) pastor, I can’t help but wonder if the majority of the issues the respectable Mr. Truman confronted in his time as a two hatted man, had more to do with the size of the congregation, and the denominational ‘ideal’. I understand his concerns, but most are ameliorated when the congregation to which a man may be bi- vocationed, Is far smaller…which of course makes said congregation open to the idealistic denominational charge of ‘since you do not have x members, you are merely a ‘mission work’, I.e. Not a true church.
    Our church on a good day has 10-12 members in attendance, we are faithful to the Christ-centered preaching of the word, and the regular administration of the sacraments. We are confessional (3 forms), we pay the rent on our worship space, and add to the church savings account without issue, but obviously are too small to afford a living salary to a full time minister. So far, none of the concerns mr. Truman brought up in his lectures affect us. I am aware of, and willingly deal with the personal issues of the body, I am a full time employee of the public education institution, and sometimes get a sermon acceptably completed at the last possible minute. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
    So what is different between he and I? His advice makes sense to anyone planning on ministering to a congregation of any size beyond ‘small’. But why must a church make such a distinction its aim at all? Isn’t it easier (and better) to feed a small flock, the size that couldn’t afford you, with your accompanied mandatory student debt in tow? Why isn’t a smaller church size an option being mentioned?
    It reveals, in my opinion, a certain denominational hubris; thAt in order to be legit, a church must seek to reach a certain size; which leads to the problems associated with that size, and then of course the need to be able to afford a pastor to deal with those problems. As a former member of both the URC and OPC, I fail to see that the conditions addressed are necessary. if a congregation of 100+ members strong cannot afford a full time minister, there are probably other problems that should be dealt with first, either on the salary expectations side, or the giving side. Or both. I love listening to the man, but in this case, what I think he dealt with were the product of many denominational assumptions, and not necessarily a problem for the church as church. Just throwing out an alternative perspective here.

  4. Since it is apparently Oxford reunion week, let me jump in and say hello! It’s a small (virtual) world.

    • Iain, I was recently ‘friended’ on Facebook by someone called Andy Young, whom I do not know (though we seem to have mutual friends), but who appears to be an EPCEW church-planter in Oxford. The best ideas always come around again.

      Best wishes,


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