Credo Fellow Highlight: Carl R. Trueman
Credo is Latin for “I believe.” From the creeds of the Church Fathers to the confessions of the Reformation, Christians have been faithful to confess the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Credo retrieves this classical and reformational heritage in order to create and cultivate theological renewal today. By bridging the gap between church and academy, Credo helps churchgoers, pastors, and students alike learn theology and retrieve orthodoxy for the sake of Christian fidelity today.
However, a team effort is required if the church and academy alike are to remain faithful to this orthodox faith, a team that spans denominations and brings together some of today’s most outstanding theologians, pastors, and writers. I am pleased to welcome the Credo Fellows, each of which embodies the spirit of Credo in their own teaching and writing ministries. Each week, we are highlighting one of the new fellows, allowing you to hear more about their passions, from the halls of patristic and medieval history to the corridors of dogmatics and classical literature.
Matthew Barrett, executive editor
Carl R. Trueman (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. He is an esteemed church historian and previously served as the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and Public Life at Princeton University. His current research interests include the rise and impact of modern notions of selfhood on contemporary culture and the nature of doctrinal development within the Christian church. He blogs regularly at First Things, where he is a featured author.
“Carl Trueman explains modernity to the church, with depth, clarity, and force. The significance of The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self . . . is hard to overstate.”
—Rod Dreher, from the Foreword
Modern culture is obsessed with identity. Since the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015, sexual identity has dominated both public discourse and cultural trends—yet no historical phenomenon is its own cause. From Augustine to Marx, various views and perspectives have contributed to the modern understanding of the self.
In this timely book, Carl Trueman analyzes the development of the sexual revolution as a symptom—rather than the cause—of the human search for identity. Trueman surveys the past, brings clarity to the present, and gives guidance for the future as Christians navigate the culture in humanity’s ever-changing quest for identity.
Histories and Fallacies: Problems Faced in the Writing of History (Crossway, 2010)
How do we know the stories told by historians are true? To what extent can we rely on their interpretations of the past?
Histories and Fallacies is a primer on the conceptual and methodological problems in the discipline of history. Historian Carl Trueman presents a series of classic historical problems as a way to examine what history is, what it means, and how it can be told and understood. Each chapter in Histories and Fallacies gives an account of a particular problem, examines classic examples of that problem, and then suggests a solution or approach that will bear fruit for the writer or reader of history.
Readers who follow Trueman’s deft writing will not just be learning theory but will already be practicing fruitful approaches to history. Histories and Fallacies guides both readers and writers of history away from dead ends and methodological mistakes, and into a fresh confidence in the productive nature of the historical task.
Luther on the Christian Life (Crossway, 2015)
Martin Luther’s historical significance can hardly be overstated. Known as the father of the Protestant Reformation, Luther has had an enormous impact on Western Christianity and culture. In Luther on the Christian Life, historian Carl Trueman introduces readers to the lively Reformer, taking them on a tour of his historical context, theological system, and approach to the Christian life. Whether exploring Luther’s theology of protest, ever-present sense of humor, or misunderstood view of sanctification, this book will help modern readers go deeper in their spiritual walk by learning from one of the great teachers of the faith.
The Creedal Imperative (Crossway, 2012)
What if “No creed but the Bible” is unbiblical?
The role of confessions and creeds is the subject of debate within evangelicalism today as many resonate with the call to return to Christianity’s ancient roots. Advocating for a balanced perspective, Carl Trueman offers an analysis of why creeds and confessions are necessary, how they have developed over time, and how they can function in the church of today and tomorrow.
Grace Alone: Salvation as a Gift of God (Zondervan, 2017)
Historians and theologians alike have long recognized that at the heart of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation were the five solas: sola scriptura, solus Christus, sola gratia, sola fide, and soli Deo gloria. These five solas do not merely summarize what the Reformation was all about but have served to distinguish Protestantism ever since. They set Protestants apart in a unique way as those who place ultimate and final authority in the Scriptures, acknowledge the work of Christ alone as sufficient for redemption, recognize that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and seek to not only give God all of the glory but to do all things vocationally for his glory.
2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And yet, even in the twenty-first century we need the Reformation more than ever. As James Montgomery Boice said not long ago, while the Puritans sought to carry on the Reformation, today “we barely have one to carry on, and many have even forgotten what that great spiritual revolution was all about.” Therefore, we “need to go back and start again at the very beginning. We need another Reformation.” In short, it is crucial not only to remember what the solas of the Reformation were all about, but also to apply these solas in a fresh way in light of many contemporary challenges.
John Owen: Reformed Catholic, Renaissance Man (Routledge, 2019)
John Owen is considered one of the sharpest theological minds of the seventeenth century and a significant theologian in his own right, particularly in terms of his contributions to pneumatology, Christology, and ecclesiology. Carl Trueman presents a major study of the key elements of John Owen’s writings and his theology. Presenting his theology in its historical context, Trueman explores the significance of Owen’s work in ongoing debates on seventeenth-century theology and examines the contexts within which Owen’s theology was formulated and the shape of his mind in relation to the intellectual culture of his day – particularly in contemporary philosophy, literature, and theology. Examining Owen’s theology from pneumatological, political, and eschatological perspectives, Trueman highlights the trinitarian structure of his theology and how his theological work informed his understanding of practical Christianity. With the current resurgence of interest in seventeenth-century Reformed theology amongst intellectual historians and the burgeoning research in systematic theology, this book presents an invaluable study of a leading mind in the Reformation and the historical underpinnings for new systematic theology.