`Last week I was able to finish my first time through The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman. It is perhaps the seminal work for future offerings toward a meaningful and well-aimed polemic against the moral degradation of the individual, morality, and western politics in the 21st century. He offers nearly 400 pages to make one point, that by the beginning of the 21st century the self had been psychologized and psychology had been sexualized and sexuality had become political .
Before coming to this conclusion Trueman sought to offer a rationale for why the morality of West has been so bent as of recently to uphold sexual behavior like homosexuality and transgenderism. Why such an ascendency in so little time? And why is it that Christian ethical standards are waning? Why is it that tolerance is not enough for the LGBTQ+ community? Instead of tolerance, why must it be acceptance and if not acceptance then “war”? Perhaps the most penetrating question of all is, What accounts for the revolutionary ascendancy of radical modern psychologized individualism and its emphasis on the erotic and and therapeutic? Trueman answers all of these questions and more via a thorough and disturbing tapestry which unfortunately for us does not exclude the Church as part of the weaving.
“The problem is that we are all part of that revolution, and there is no way to avoid it.”Trueman, Rise, 385.
“When it comes to how we think of ourselves, we are all expressive individuals now, and there is no way we can escape from this fact.”Trueman, Rise, 386.
Indeed, Trueman observes the Christian’s revolutionary modern psychologized individualism when he writes,
“Today we do not simply choose to be Christians; we also choose what type of Christian we want to be: Presbyterian, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist. And within each of these subdivisions there are yet further sects – further choices – for which we can opt: Reformed, Arminian, charismatic…Then there are worship styles to consider…We can choose our churches as we choose a house or car. We may not have infinite choices and may still be subject to some material restrictions, but the likelihood is that we have more than one church option with which we can choose to identify.”Trueman, Rise, 385.
Borrowing Trueman’s words, we can choose our Bibles as we choose a house or car. We may not have infinite choices of Bibles and may still be subject to some material restrictions like the current scholastic interpretation of the manuscript tradition, but the likelihood is that we have more than one Bible option with which we can choose to identify.
The funny thing is that Trueman concludes with, “one church with which we can choose to identify” but most evangelicals have multiple Bibles with which they choose to identify. It sounds like the doctrine of gender fluidity, doesn’t it? That is, the belief that I can choose to be the gender I want to be based on my feelings on a given day or in a given moment. For Christians it’s, I can choose the Bible I want to read based on my feelings on a given day or in a given moment.
Remember, we are all expressive individuals now. Still, there’s those like us here at StandardSacredText.com who push against our collective expressive individualism at this point. And guess what, just like the Church’s opinion against homosexuality is now the minority position in the West, so the argument for the standard sacred text is the minority position. Why? Because at the base, both orthodox Christian sexuality and claiming a single standard of faith and practice flies directly in the face of the collective ecclesiastical expressive individualism now on display in Christian institutions of higher-learning across America.
Which do you think came first, choosing churches like we choose cars or choosing Bibles like we choose cars? It is hard to imagine that the former is the likely choice. Once we choose our Bibles like we choose cars, then we can choose churches and pastors and worship styles etc without the slightest prick in conscience. Interestingly enough, right around the same time Freud sexualized the psychological-self and Herbert Marcuse politicized sexuality via the wedding of Freud and Marx, Wescott and Hort did away with the standard sacred text of the Church, the TR.
Modern textual criticism has not helped the Church. Modern textual criticism as started by Wescott and Hort and their acolytes have championed expressive individualism is the Church and as the Church goes so goes the nation.
As an aside, given Trueman’s work I am prepared to have a vigorous discussion with any qualified person [i.e., possesses a post-graduate degree and has read Trueman’s book] about the fact that modern textual criticism is a, if not the, direct progenitor of the LGBTQ+ movement in the West.
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