Posted on Sunday, July 08, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

Just finishing Bob Letham's brilliant and accessible Through Western Eyes: Eastern Orthodoxy -- a Reformed Perspective (Christian Focus).  Typical of Bob's style -- awesome learning, accessible writing, and a fine critical exposition of the history and theology of Orthodoxy which is careful and honorable throughout.   It gave me much food for thought, especially on the matter of icons (I'd never thought of the photographs of the great Hugh Miller and R S Candlish in my office as icons before....).

Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

Lunchtime conversations with minister friends in London indicates that the storm about Steve Chalke and penal substitution rumbles on in the UK. There are dark rumours of a certain well-known Christian book chain boycotting a popular presentation of the doctrine; there are whispers of other ministers being told by high-ranking figures in the UK evangelical establishment that to speak or write on the subject will “damage their ministries;” and, of course, there is the remarkable online review by N T Wright of Mike Ovey and co’s Pierced for Our Transgressions. This latter is stunning. Not only is the tone surprising from a person of Wright’s stature, the accusations he makes of what amounts to heresy not only against the authors but also (just for good measure) against the large number of those who provided commendations for the book (including not only pipsqueaks like yours truly but men of real stature, moderation, and biblical scholarship such as my old Aberdeen boss, Howard Marshall) are breathtaking in their unmitigated bluntness – a useful reminder that high-handed tone is very far from being a monopoly of the conservatives. I would be tempted to use the classic defence of `he just didn’t understand what we are saying’ but Wright’s a clever man and a remarkable scholar; and Ovey is a lucid and clear writer; the bishop knows exactly what is being said, and he doesn’t like it or find it biblical (`deeply unbiblical,’ in fact).
Strange – I was only reading this morning of how R V G Tasker, liberal professor of New Testament at King’s College, London, was brought to saving faith through the ministry of Dr Lloyd Jones who convinced him of precisely this truth, that of penal substitution. If it isn’t preached, it will be lost. O tempora, o mores. (though the one glimmer of hope is that Mike’s book is, apparently, selling like hot cakes in the UK – no publicity is bad publicity, after all).

Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

Back in the UK I hear rumours that a certain well-known Welsh Baptist minister who read a piece I wrote in Themelios on J I Packer and the Anglo-Welsh evangelical crisis of 1966, has been heard to lament loudly at a recent conference (with more than a little Celtic irony), `What a disaster! Apparently Jim Packer and Carl Trueman are the only people who got it right about British evangelicalism!’

Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

Today I picked up a copy of a new book by my old pal, Neil MacDonald, with the fascinating title Metaphysics and the God of Israel  (Baker).  Neil approaches theology from a broadly Barthian perspective, though this book engages with a veritable pantheon of intellectual giants, from poets to philosophers.   What I appreciate is the desire to connect ST and BT, and the acknowledgment of the crucial role of metaphysics/ontology in all of this.  OK, I'm not a Barthian (despite the ludicrous, libellous, and laughable suggestion of such in a book review of Mike Horton's excellent intro to covenant theology in a recent edition of JETS -- and there was me thinking my life's work was actually a debunking of T F Torrance's historiography, not a surreptitious intrusion of the same into Westminster!  Glad to have my own thought explained to me by someone who really understands.  Ahem.) -- but, that said, it seems to me that Reformed BT and ST need to take seriously both the narrative of the Bible and the ontology of the Bible if they are to enjoy a fruitful relationship.  Neil may have offered a model with which I disagree, but in so doing he lays out a challenge to Reformed confessional theology to do better.

Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

I found this link on Dave Strain's website to another old pal, David `Robbo' Robertson, on YouTube.  The meek shall inherit the earth; but Dundee ministers will sell their books on YouTube.  Frightening enough to have Dave R's blog out there; now we have video-streaming.   I need to reset the filters on my computer.

Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

I see that my old mucker, Dave Strain, has responded to Tony's blog on Scottish church unity -- though he seems to think it was I who really posted it.  What can I say?  Reports are that `the Gent' is devastated by the `disingenuous' crack, and by the `disrespect' shown to his Family by the misidentification.   I believe he has dispatched Murdo `the Horse' Santini to `pay his respects' to Rev Strain in London.  Careful, Dave, he knows where you live and what car Sheena drives......

You can see how Tony has been `disrepected' at

Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

The Free Church Assembly has come to an end, London FC minister, Dave Strain, my old pal and perennially pessimillennialist (at least as far as the FCS goes) has a good -- and `strain'gely optimistic analysis of the week on his blog:

The big event was the Moderator's plea for evangelical church unity in Scotland, a formal visit by a C of S delegate to the Assembly (goodness -- we let any old riff-raff in these days), and the passing of a joint declaration by C of S and F C of S.  While I personally long for the good old days of butchering each other with claymores on the hillsides of Ayrshire (out of love, of course), perhaps that is a little counterproductive these days.

The Moderator's address can be found at Dave's blog.

One former C of S minister told me this week that, if I lived long enough, I might be able to conduct his funeral.   Not quite. Sadly, while the C of S are now welcome in St Columba's, poor old Trueman has been forced to seek shelter in the OPC.  More cause for Free Church optimism, I suspect.

Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

A friend brought the following article to my attention.  It's from Britain's Guardian (or `Grauniad'),,2080361,00.html

It's rather reminiscent of an article in a British broadsheet a few years ago which painted David Peterson, Principal of Oak Hill, as a kind of Australian Christian jihadist, sent over by Moore College to subvert the British way of life.  

It is a shame that `homophobia,' conservative Anglican evangelicals, and the internal politics of an Oxford theological college seem to create more concern and hysteria in the British media than those adherents of another religion who stand in the streets of London, waving banners demanding the beheading of the democratically elected Home Secretary.  Trashing the conservative Anglicans for hate crimes and alleged bullying?  Thank goodness there's someone brave enough to champion that cause.  Now we know that our traditional freedoms are safe and secure.

Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

Having spent all Saturday with a Free Church of Scotland minister watching that great opera Quadrophenia Live (won't identify this man of the cloth; suffice it to say that he's the North American FCS minister who doesn't listen to Shania Twain and Michael Jackson), I was delighted to get a note froma brother in New Zealand pointing me to this event.  Positively eschatological -- if the lion shall lie down with the lamb, then what does it mean when Del-Boy shall be tempted to go to a concert with Trotter?

Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

For those interested, there is a very thoughtful and perceptive response to my little piece on Francis Beckwith from Catholic philosopher, Dr Michael Liccione, which can be found at