Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Carl Trueman on The Wages of Spin

Carl Trueman, Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at WTS, was recently interviewed about his book The Wages of Spin. Dr. Trueman is one of the featured speakers at the Full Confidence Conference to be held at Church of the Saviour in September.

Bill Feltner: Dr. Trueman, tell us first about the title of the book.

Dr. Carl Trueman: Well, on one level, it's an attempt to get a cheap laugh on playing on the idea of the “wages of sin” and picking up on the contemporary language of “spin,” but also I wanted to make a serious point that so much of what passes for modern evangelicalism is spin to an extent. It's words being used in a way that they haven't traditionally been used, and it's ideas being twisted, spun, to suit particular agendas. I wanted to probe that a little bit. And in saying that, I'm certainly not exempting myself from doing the spinning, I think it's something that as sinners, if you like, we are all prone to do it to some extent when we talk.

BF: Now as I recall earlier on in the book, you're trying to be something of a provocateur, you're trying to start a dialogue about subjects perhaps that there are different viewpoints in the Christian world?

CT: Yes, one of the things that concerns me I suppose, still concerns me, is the level of indifference that often pervades modern society. We often have passionate opinions about things that don't really matter: sports teams, pop stars, those kind of things. But when it comes down to Christian beliefs, and how you look at the world, often we can be relatively indifferent and relaxed about those things. I wanted to produce a book where even if (if you read the book) you disagree with what I'm saying, you can at least understand that the issues I'm addressing are important. And if you disagree, and disagree strongly, then on one level I feel like I've achieved what I aimed to achieve in the first place, that is, to make people feel passionately about things that really matter and draw their eyes and their hearts away from the trivia that really clogs up modern life, generally.

BF: And it's no surprise that early on in your book, you address what you see as a big tendency in the world, in the culture, and certainly in the church, and that is to be anti-historical. Where does it manifest itself, and why does it matter?

CT: I think the anti-historical tendency is fairly pervasive of the culture as a whole. We live in a world where we're so used to the idea of scientific progress, for example, that we tend to assume that the best is always coming tomorrow or next year, or it could be just down the line; that today is bound to be inferior to the future. And there's good reason on one level for thinking in that way because science has led to great progress. I make facetious reference somewhere in this book to “I don't want to live in a world without antibiotics, pain killers, and flush toilets.” I consider the world today to be a nicer place to live in, from that perspective, for me, than the world that my great-great grandparents grew up in.

Read the entire interview HERE.

1 comment:

Cammie Novara said...

"It's words being used in a way that they haven't traditionally been used, and it's ideas being twisted, spun, to suit particular agendas." I have to remember that one!