Carl Trueman

Reflections on Republocrat: The Secularization of America

This post continues my chapter-by-chapter review of Republocrat, by Carl Trueman (Part 1, Part 2). The chapter in focus here is the second, entitled The Slipperiness of Secularization. It’s thesis is that the US may seem to be less secularized than Britain, but probably isn’t. The reason is that here in the US, the church itself has become secularized in many ways. Hence, even though church attendance and religious language are far more common here than in the UK, these do not reflect genuine Christian faith and practice. To put it another way, Britain only seems more secular because it is more authentic about its unbelief rather than dressing it up like we do here.

After brief introductory paragraphs, Trueman develops the chapter under these headings:

  • America: The Exception? (p. 22)
  • British Christianity: The Dying of the Light (p. 23-25)
  • The USA: Secularization, Religious-Style (p. 25-28)
  • Secularization: Subtle and Speciously Orthodox (p. 28-32)
  • The Patriot’s Bible and Beyond (p. 32-36)
  • The Celebrity Syndrome (p. 37-39)
  • Conclusion (p. 39)
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Reflections on Republocrat: Oppression and the Left

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These reflections concern Carl Trueman’s Republocrat, Chapter 1. (For notes on the foreword and introduction, see A Serialized Review). Two questions were on my mind as I approached Chapter 1: (a) Is Trueman really a political liberal? (b) Does he accurately understand the conservatism he left behind?

Two themes comprise Chapter 1. Theme 1 is expressed in the chapter title, “Left Behind”: how those of “Old Left” (Trueman’s term) political views are now homeless because liberalism has been “hijacked by special interest groups” (p. 14). Theme 2 makes the first interesting: how Left thought about oppression developed from the 19th century to the present.

The chapter is divided into eight sections.

  • (Introductory paragraphs, p.1-2)
  • A Brief History of the Old Left (p. 2-5)
  • The Strange Love Affair of the Intelligentsia with Marxism (p. 5-6)
  • Success and Failure: the Road to Redefinition (p. 6-8)
  • Mr. Marx Meets Dr. Freud: the Changing Face of Oppression (p. 9-11)
  • How Authenticity Made the Left Inauthentic (p. 11-15)
  • Evangelicals and the New Left (p. 15-17)
  • Conclusion (p. 17-19)
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Reflections on Republocrat: A Serialized Book Review, Part 1

[amazon 1596381833 thumbnail] The name “Carl Trueman” didn’t mean a whole lot to me until recently. For some time, the name popped up often in blog-post links folks would email me. Sometimes something at the “Reformation 21” blog would catch my eye and turn out to be Trueman’s work.

Then a few months ago he began to really get my attention—in his response to the Elephant Room 2 confusion as well as subsequent insightful evaluations of the state of evangelicalism in general.

I had seen the book Republocrat: Confessions of Liberal Conservative some time before all that—without connecting its author to the blog work. Then one day it clicked. No, the Carl Trueman wrote Republocrat?

I had to read it. How could such a brilliant guy be so confused?

So why a serialized review of the book? Two reasons: (1) I’m more likely to finish the book this way; (2) it’s easier to write this way—and with school back in session, time’s tight. So, what follows is mostly pre-review notes standing in for the review.

Fly-over

The book consists of Foreword, Acknowledgments, Introduction and six chapters:

  1. Left Behind, 1
  2. The Slipperiness of Secularization, 21
  3. Not-So-Fantastic Mr. Fox, 41
  4. Living Life to the Max, 61
  5. Rulers of the Queen’s Navee [sic], 79
  6. Concluding Unpolitical Postscript, 101

The book is short.

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