A Brief Look At Trueman’s Look At A Reformed Revival

Carl Trueman over at Reformation 21 has written an interesting article on the what appears to be an ever increasing matriculation towards the Reformed faith. I recommend reading the article.

However there are some things I don’t get about Dr. Trueman.

First, in the past he has written unkindly about home schoolers and homeschooling. Dr. Trueman refers to this movement mentioned in his article as revival and it might well be that it is revival but I will guarantee that it will be shallow, short lived and ineffectual if it is not accompanied by parents who understand what Christian education is and who thus pursue with all vigor.

Second, Dr. Trueman has, in the past, had some unflattering (actually “mean” would be a better word) words about Dr. R. J. Rushdoony and those who have an appreciation for the man and his work. In the article mentioned above Trueman waxes eloquent on how Dr. Albert Mohler has rescued Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville and yet Trueman has condemned Rushdoony who has done more to rescue Christian education at the secondary level than anybody in the last 100 years. Now I don’t believe in paper saints and the point is not that Rushdoony is beyond criticism but I should think if one is going to do criticism it should be well rounded. Trueman’s criticism of Rushdoony has been anything but well rounded.

Third, in the article above Trueman has this to say about the bubbling revival,

“It is also exciting to realize that this new zeal for solid theology does not always have to be combined with an uptight social and political conservatism that longs for the enlightened days of Genghis Khan’s domestic and foreign policies (hey, he was kind to his grandchildren…..) and the kind of women’s fashions made popular by Little House on the Prairie.

Given the false things that Trueman has said in the past on some issues I would dearly love to know what the man meant by the above blockquoted statement. What does Dr. Trueman consider to be “uptight social and political conservatism?” Where is Dr. Trueman finding the Reformed church being flooded by “women’s fashions made popular by Little House on the Prairie?” (Personally I always thought that Caroline looked kind of hot in those top of the neck to the bottom of the toe dresses.) Now if the “Genghis Khan domestic and foreign policies” that Trueman refers to are things like the Patriot Act or the new Cabinet post of Deutschland Security or the invasion of a country that didn’t have weapons of mass destruction I am right there with him. But I don’t know if he means that so it would be interesting for him to tease out exactly what he means. Dr. Trueman can you elaborate on your statement above and please speak clearly into the microphone so we all can hear you.

Another thing I don’t get is the infatuation I often see with all things Baptist by many Credo Reformed people. One can see it in this article by Trueman. Are Baptists — even Reformed Baptists — wrong? Sure, Reformed Baptist might be better then thorough-going Arminians but have our Credo-Reformed people given up on critiquing them? Does one get to a point in the Reformed Universe where pointed criticisms of Reformed Baptist are considered gauche and in bad taste?

Trueman makes some great points about the problem with Reformed people attending non Reformed Churches. One thing that Dr. Trueman doesn’t note though is how difficult it is for people to find a Reformed Church that is Reformed. The reason that Reformed people might be attending these non Reformed Churches, viewing them as Mission fields, is that there is nothing Reformed within a reasonable distance. It is possible that Dr. Trueman, holed up in his ivory tower, may not realize how bad it is outside of Philadelphia, Escondido, Grand Rapids or other Mecca points of the Reformed Faith. Still, his advice should be carefully heeded by people if there is a Reformed Church for them to attend in the area in which they live that is genuinely Reformed. Labels on the sign don’t get an automatic pass.

Trueman’s criticism of the personality cult is spot on. It is true for mega ministries, even of the orthodox Reformed variety, that people should “follow the money,” and ask if their favorite minister has gone from grinding out the grain to being a Rock Star.

The way that Truman reasons about “sociological phenomena” is curious. I think I know what he is getting at but it almost sounds like he is suggesting that sociology is a independent realm apart from theological influence that can give us insight into people’s social habits. If you read the article and don’t understand what I mean don’t worry about it. My radar might be wired to tightly.

Finally I have to know…

Is Dr. Trueman any relation to Harry? Did Margaret have a love child? Inquiring minds want to know.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

4 thoughts on “A Brief Look At Trueman’s Look At A Reformed Revival”

  1. Here is a link that reposts Trueman’s mean (slanderous?) statements about Rushdoony.


    Here is a link where the author thoroughly and overwhelmingly rebuts Trueman’s accusations


    Curiously the article has been mysteriously lifted from the site it was originally posted. Turns out it was changed to a different server.

    Here is the link that goes into Trueman’s attack on home schooling and prompted my further inquiry into exactly what points he was making in his comments I cited.

    Here is a link to Dr. Trueman’s deep insights into home schooling

  2. Bret, I have wondered about this “reformed revival” and the impact it could have on our culture. It came to mind just this evening as I was thinking about Bible commentaries for my latest blog post, and I realized how many new reformed commentaries have been published the past couple years. Your comment about Trueman (with an ‘e,’ unlike the erstwhile president) being in an ivory tower, might be key to my musings…I see a lot of discussion about theology going on, but when it comes to nitty-gritty orthopraxy, I don’t see a lot of follow-through. So how does our theology affect how we dress? How we educate our children? How we vote? At the Shepherd’s Conference that Steve attended at Macarthur’s church, John Macarthur was asked a question about politics, and he admitted he didn’t think much about that stuff…a friend told him he should vote for Huckabee, so that’s what he planned to do. No evaluation of whether that would honor God, no investigation into Huckabee’s statism (which is de facto placing the government in the place of God in a nation’s life). I agree that prolife issues are at the top of the list for how to judge a candidate, but God cares about it ALL. In the reformed world, maybe we’re not politically correct, but instead we have religious correctness which is keeping us from addressing a lot of issues that need to be addressed.

  3. John Lofton here is your answer,

    Another question, how do I shepherd my people with respect to the upcoming presidential election, esp. with no clearly pro-life candidate? My answer is it has nothing to do with the kingdom of God! He (Macarthur) then made some deprecatory quips about Jimmy Carter taking the office of president too seriously [sorry, past my historical familiarity to go into detail]. In all seriousness, you do what your conscience tells you to do. But one thing: if you’re going to have your brain operated on, you might like to have a Christian. But I’d rather have someone in there who knew what a brain was, and had done it before. This subject of presidential politics, really, though, is really nowhere on my priority list. I voted for Huckabee in the primary, that was my best shot based on other’s thoughts; but the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world are entirely separate entities. I think we’re experiencing Romans 1 wrath in the church (I have a message on Focus on the Family about this) right now. When God turns a nation over, there’s a sexual revolution, then a homosexual revolution, then the minds stop working… and you vote those realities into law. I’m not surprised this nation has the kind of interest in the kind of leaders it has. But to clarify, I’m not indifferent: whenever I can actively vote for something that is righteous I do that.

    You can find it on Evers’s blog here:


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