There’s been a drastic shift in the understanding of the self over the last 200 years. We now tend to think of ourselves as unencumbered, expressive individuals who are most authentic when we are able to act outwardly on those things that really define us, our inward feelings and our inward desires. Additionally, our imaginations are now gripped by the idea that our sexual desires are fundamentally determinative of who we are. In the late modern age, personal psychological satisfaction and happiness are the things that we are most obliged to.
How did we get here? And more importantly, where do we, as Christians, go from here? These are the questions of our day and their answers have significant implications for life and ministry in the 21st century. In this episode, Carl R. Trueman joins Matthew Barrett to talk about these questions and their implications. The pair discuss Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, theology, psychology, and the notion of the sexualized self. In doing so, they show the importance of theology and metaphysics for Christians who are swimming in a culture of expressive individualism.
Carl R. Trueman (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is the author of The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Crossway, 2020). He 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.
Matthew Barrett is the author of Simply Trinity: The Unmanipulated Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Baker). He is the founder and executive editor of Credo Magazine and host of the Credo podcast. He is associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.