Carl Trueman made a big splash by speaking uncomfortable truths to seemingly intractable power in The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020). In Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution (Wheaton: Crossway, 2022), he is back with a briefer and more accessible account of the same questions and some new ones in 9 chapters and 188 pages (as compared to 407 pages in Rise and Triumph). If you are puzzled by what is happening in the world, how it is that behavior that would once have disqualified one from participating in public life (e.g., a male declaring that he will now be regarded as female) is now, in many places, regarded as a qualification for high-ranking public service, these volumes are for you.
In Strange New World he briefly introduces us to our new world, explains its roots in the movement known as Romanticism, then turns to three German nineteenth-century writers, Marx, Hegel, and Nietzsche. In chapter 4 he explains how Sigmund Freud changed our perception of sex and how sex was politicized. Chapter 5 explores and explains how technology has affected our understanding of the self in the late (or liquid) modern age, how it has helped to make us more radically individualist, and how it has helped to undermine traditional ideas of authority. Chapter 6 provides builds a bridge (and a breather) between the earlier part of the book and what follows. In chapter 7 he gives a brief account of the rise of the LGBTQ movement with special attention to the T, i.e., trans-ideololgy. Chapter 8 looks at what radical individual freedom means for classically liberal (i.e., tolerant) ideas of liberty and he concludes with a consideration for what this means for Christians, how the Christian past can help guide us in the our strange new world, and challenges Christians to think about how we are complicit in the rise of the strange new world.
Each chapter has study questions. This volume would be appropriate for a college or adult study group. In contrast to Rise and Triumph, this volume is not footnoted and is in paper (as distinct from hardcover). Trueman is engaging and the reader will be repaid manyfold for investing time in this volume. It is warmly recommended. It should be in every church library, Christian school library, and every seminary library. Every pastor should read this as should every Christian school teacher and every Christian college and seminary professor.
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