Office Hours: Carl Trueman Explains Why The World Seems So Upside Down

Or Why It Seems Rude To Call Caitlyn, Bruce And Elliot, Ellen

If you are of sufficient age, you remember when Caitlyn Jenner was Bruce Jenner, one of the greatest Olympic Athletes in modern history. He won the gold medal in the Decathlon in the 1976 Olympics. If you are a little younger you might remember when Eliot Page was the Ellen Page, who starred in the film Juno. Were you to search the internet, however, you might not find much about Ellen. That person has been, as they say, “memory holed” and should you dare refer to Elliot as Ellen or Caitlyn as Bruce you may be accused of “dead naming” and, in some places, that can get you hauled before the local civil rights commission and a hefty fine. So you if you are wondering, “how did this come to pass?” you are not alone and you are not insane. Caitlyn and Elliot are symptoms of what Carl Trueman quite properly calls The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution.

I receive a lot of books in the mail. Some are worth reading. Some are not my cup of tea but only a few are important. This is one of those. It is not an easy book but it is a good book because it explains brilliantly what happened and why. Carl is the author of several other books and he writes regularly in First Things magazine and is the co-host of the Mortification of Spin podcast. He is also Visiting Professor in Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California and his full-time job is as Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies at Grove City College and he joins us in this episode to talk about his important new book.

Here is the episode.

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    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. It is indeed an excellent book though, as you say, not an easy read. But everyone should read it. I’m currently reading, “Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity – and Why This Harms Everybody,” by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, 2020. This book is a slow read also, but it’s worth the effort. It’s painful to see the thread of Critical Theory (the authors substitute “Cynical” as a play on words) worked its way through the Academy into mainstream America over the past fifty years into what we have now as “cancel culture,” “white privilege,” cisgender, etc., etc. One who has read Trueman’s book should definitely read this one. We may not be able to reverse these wayward trends, but we should at least keep informed.

    • Interesting thing about “Cynical Theories” is that it is written from an atheist POV, which makes the case against “Woke-ism” pretty compelling when it’s being derided from both religious believers and not. In fact, James Lindsay even likens the attitudes of this new political correctness as religious belief.

  2. Erik, yes. Darryl Hart has a number of post entries over at his old blog site about this “woke-ness” business. If you go there, scroll down to the search box and enter “woke” and you’ll see a number of them dealing with the illegitimacy of the contemporary American “evangelical” church’s embrace of this post-modern fantasy business.

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