Trueman: Do We Need Another Mark Of The True Church?

The Reformers outlined several marks of the church: the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, and, at times, godly discipline or biblical worship. Today, they would need to add another: constant apologizing to the world.

Whether it is saying sorry to the world for the election of Trump, or for racism, or for not being loving to the LGBTQ community, Christians now seem to spend a lot of their time apologizing. One might be forgiven at times for thinking that the world is going to hell in a handbag because of the church and her failings rather than anything the world itself has chosen to do. Of course the church, being full of ordinary people, sadly often reflects the behavior of the surrounding world even as she is called to something higher. That was the case in Corinth in the first century, when Paul was forced to call out the Christians there for factionalism, a worldly view of power, and the tolerance—if not the indulgence—of the same sexual immorality that characterized the world.

…Today, one needs barely glance at Christian Twitter to see endless repentance for the sins that the world regards as top priority. One finds many horizontal repentances directed toward other men and women, but little that is directed heavenward. Not many repentant racists use the language of “against you, you only, have I sinned” when they mull over past bigotry to which their churches, or maybe even themselves, have been party. And that is interesting.

I wonder if today’s turmoil is partly due to the fact that much of this current repentance is but hokey wokeness, selective in the sins it calls out—and selective on the basis of what the world thinks is important. This, we think, is the way to make the world take us seriously once again—as if the world ever has taken us seriously, or is even meant to. Read more»

Carl Truman, “Woke Repentance,” First Things August 25, 2020


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  1. I believe it was McArthur that said the true church can be identified as those who vote for Trump.

    • That sounds a bit like works-based salvation. But of course I am probably wrong. But 4 More Years, nonetheless.

    • That is not entirely accurate. MacArther did say, “from certainly a biblical standpoint, Christians could not vote Democratic.” The basis of this statement was the blatant support of gross immorality officially advocated by that party. Then, still in the context of standing for biblical morality, MacArthur said, “any real true believer is going to be on your [Trump’s] side in this election.” While “on your side” might be interpreted as “vote for”, that’s not precisely what he said.

  2. Why not? In my opinion, Reformed Churches barely follow the ones we acknowledge. When Reformed Churches start admitting to the Lord’s Table those with views contrary to the Reformed faith, we have already begun to lose our position. We almost say that there are many truths, so pick the one that suits you, after all, we are all united by faith, never mind the flawed theology.

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