Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

Still the emails come in on patristics.  Look, I'm temporarily a pen-pushing bureaucrat, more interested in balance sheets and wielding power over subordinates like some petty Napoleon on speed than in doing something constructive and theological.  But, for those interested in exploring the link between the seventeenth century Reformed and the Fathers, I have the following thoughts:

Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

I have been really encouraged by the positive response to the postings about the importance of reading the early church fathers.  Two further comments on this.

Posted on Monday, May 07, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

I'vve had some requests to give more info on what to read/where to go to start learning about the early church fathers.  Below I have appended a basic resource guide.  Hope it helps.

Posted on Monday, May 07, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

The paper on the ETS to which I allude in my Beckwith piece can be found on Ray's website at

Posted on Sunday, May 06, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville


Seems that the last few paras of my reflection on Beckwith are missing.  No -- I don't announce my own conversion to Rome in them; but the article currently ends in mid air.  Just can't get the staff these days.


CT heading for Rome; too painful to contemplate. Sorry, sermon prep got the better of me. Try it now. Readers, I apologize for any character assassination discerened from Carl's missing final paragraph. It will be the stuff of source critics for years to come. The ICTC source view (Is Carl Tueman Catholic?). The full, unexpurgated version, HERE.

Posted on Friday, May 04, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

Phil's blog got me thinking about the whole issue of women in Reformed and conservative evangelical circles in general.   On the whole, I don't think the church provides the kind of environment that helps.  Two examples: in Britain, certain denominations don't pay their ministers a proper living wage (though this is often due to sheer economic hardship, not miserly giving); yet those same denominations, in my experience, have a culture which heavily criticises the minister's wife for then going out to work to make ends meet. Result: ministerial bitterness and burn-out; women who feel guilty either that they bring in no money, or that they do and are thus not proper pastor's wives.

In the US (and it is the US -- I have not seen this so much in the UK) , I have lost count of the number of women I have come across, particularly in presbyterian circles, who feel the need to conform to some Reformed cultural norm.  You can tell them on the Sundays: the exhausted and haggard mothers whose husbands expect them not only to cook and to clean, but also to home-school the kids. For every omnicompetent wife who seems to be able to run the world and then some, and still look like a million dollars when hubbie gets home for dinner (already on the table, of course), there are ten or more who look crushed and dispirited, who really need to send their kids out of the house in the morning so they can get some rest and some mental sanity, who need their husbands to see the problem and take steps to help them.  Are they inadequate as Christian mothers?  No.  They are crushed by a "Christian" culture that demands their all and gives no slack.

I am no feminist (my wife will confirm my impeccable Neanderthal credentials); I have strong views on women's ordination; but I am saddened by the way Reformed church culture so often tramples its women underfoot with its mindless identification of biblical manhood with something akin to John Wayne and its assumption that all Christian women should make Mary Poppins look domestically incompetent. 

Posted on Tuesday, May 01, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

My friend, the modest, quiet, peaceable master of understatement, Rev David Robertson, has posted an interesting article on the dire situation of ministry in modern Scotland, particularly from a Free Church of Scotland pespective.  Not all will agree with every comment he makes, but it gives an insight into the tough road which British ministers now tread:  Next time, David, tell us what you really think.

I find it hard not to share his despair: as one who owes almost everything theologically and pastorally to the ministry of the Free Church, I find his his words extremely depressing.  And the Free Church should be the only real hope for orthodox presbyterianism (both theological and practical) in Scotland.  Those to the right have lost the catholic spirit and social concern of Free Church fathers such as Chalmers and Guthrie (and even James Begg -- appropriated by the right who tend to forget that he argued for state subsidies of secular entertainment so that men would go out with their wives on Saturday nights, rather than head to the pub).  And what can one say about the C of S?  Some great guys who have fine congregations; but at denominational level it's all smoke and mirrors -- apparent minor victories on ministerial training etc only ever won at the huge cost of compromise on issues such as women's ordination, keeping shtum in prebyteries as candidates go to the wall on the gay issue etc. etc. Sometimes it seems that the only thing C of S evangelicals are really prepared to get angry about is the Free Church of Scotland!!! 

Last year, I wrote that the Scottish glass really is half empty.  That might have been an upbeat assessment.

Posted on Monday, April 30, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

What profit?  Here's a few ideas:

Posted on Saturday, April 21, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

A noteworthy book that's just come out in English translation: Regis Debray's Praised Be Our Lords: The Autobiography (Verso).  Debray, a student of Althusser, a companion of Che Guevara in Bolivia, and an advisor to the Mitterand government, is an interesting character.  Why should Ref21 readers give him a look?  He's one of those thinkers who has come to see theism (at least, the idiom of theism) as providing a response to postmodern thinking.  A French Eagleton who has led a more exciting life but lacks the sense of humour.  `I seek truth: that is my mental tropism.  My body itself wanted power.'   If that isn't a good statement of the human condition, I don't know what is. 

Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2007 by Carl Trueman on Postcards from Palookaville

With the great demographic shift to the southern hemisphere in terms of evangelical Christianity, the issue of listening to the voices of brothers and sisters from these newly significant areas is a pressing one.  But I want to raise some concerns.