Friday, August 12, 2011

Republocrat: a review

Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal ConservativeMany many many books have been written on the Christian’s involvement in politics: old and new, good, bad, and ugly. So I cannot say that Carl Trueman’s addition, Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative, is groundbreaking in that it explores new territory. But that is not it’s purpose. Rather, it’s purpose is to get the evangelical conservative Republican to consider what his brothers and sisters in Christ across the isle (and pond) may have to say about politics - and to remember first and foremost that the Savior who unites us is greater than the ideologies that may divide us.

I have long enjoyed Carl Trueman’s writing. So this past spring, to reward myself for an academic accomplishment, I purchased this book on politics. The Forward, written by Trueman’s friend and self described conservative conservative Peter Lillback, was enough to confirm that this was a good addition to my library. His description of Trueman is priceless:
Here is a man who has memorized the lyrics of Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin, but prefers to sing only the psalms on the Lord’s day. Here’s a dean who only under coercion reluctantly walks the 26.2 steps to the president’s office from the dean’s office for fear of being asked to do some extra work, but regularly delights in running 26.2 miles, even if it means there will be icicles hanging from his running shorts and oozing wounds from his ice-nicked ankles. Here is a scholar who relishes the writings of Karl Marx, but who is inherently, instinctively, and immutably committed to the Reformation spirit of Martin Luther and John Calvin. Here is a man who refuses to go to counseling to address these oxymoronic traits, but who nevertheless is soon psychoanalyzed by all who associate with him. And how can a man so conflicted write intelligent blog articles read all over the globe, all while being suspicious of technology?
And Trueman lives up to that reputation. Addressing the Patriot’s Bible, Fox news, capitalism, and (at his best) the influence of secularism on American conservative Christianity, Trueman forces the conservative reader to reconsider some presumptions about his political positions. He will straw man at times, and he also enjoys the occasional intentional overstatement. But by the end, the reader has a better grasp of where American politics, both left and right, may have gone astray.
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