Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World


Written by: on April 13, 2024

Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution by Carl R. Trueman explores how some progressive thinkers were trailblazers and paved the way for the sexual revolution we are experiencing today. Trueman reflectively considers the ideas of Descartes and Rosseau, Marx and Nietzsche, Freud, and Wilhelm Reich, even though he disagrees with their thinking.[1] Trueman, an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and a political conservative, thoroughly analyzes the worldview of those who influenced the sexual revolution as well as our politics, art, education, and entertainment.[2] Based on his assessment of their worldview, he concludes that the core problem is belief in the modern self. Trueman lays the historical foundation of how modern self-emerged. One aspect of the modern self that he spent quite some time discussing was “expressive individualism,” which is the desire to manifest publicly the inner sentiments or authentic self. (More on that later in this essay.)

As one reviewer summarized Trueman’s work, we learn from reading Strange New World that ideas have meaning and that ideas have consequences.[3] An example of the consequences of ideas was the Chinese government’s teaching of the one-child policy. What seemed like a good idea decades ago is now a significant problem for China. It is at risk of dying out because its citizens are not reproducing. And there are more men than women in the younger generation.[4]

Trueman is highly concerned about abortion and the impact that the LGBTQ+ community has on our society. And it is equally evident from his perspective that progressives and his list of modern thinkers are to blame. Yet what was refreshing about his work was that he never seemed to camp there without attempting to offer a positive approach to addressing those who differ – which leads me to his last chapter – Strangers in This Strange New World.

Two subsections in this chapter, Understanding Our Complicity and Learn from the Ancient Church, particularly resonated with me. Before I unpack the insights from these two subsections, one central premise of the modern self is integral to understanding the urgency of the issues. Current modern thinkers believe there is no god based on what Nietzsche taught, allowing people to rid themselves of guilt and, in turn, become gods in their own eyes.[5] Today, the political, psychological, and social machinations are on display for the discerning and being normalized before our very eyes. Historically, the idea of humans wanting to be gods is not new. Correlations can be drawn between the Pharaohs, Greeks, and Romans (and other ancient empires) who allowed a person to be crowned a god, to racial classifications becoming a tool to create other races on paper.[6] Now, one can draw a line to the transgender identity, which is a step toward physically creating another human (add to that cloning and other scientific discoveries). The question is, what will be the next major frontier for counterfeiting God? If you’re a sci-fi fan, the only answer is cyborgs. Now, let’s spend a few moments reviewing the two subsections mentioned earlier.

In the section Understanding Our Complicity, three connections stand out. The connections are between expressive individualism and universal dignity, religious freedom and religions as commodities, and ‘feel good’ religion and the cult of personal happiness.[7] Each connection deserves an entire essay, but for the sake of words, I’ll focus on the connection between expressive individualism and universal dignity. Trueman argues that we must understand how accepting this expressive individualism is necessary because it helps psychologically affirm universal human dignity.[8] However, since Christianity’s initial acceptance, the unbridled assertion of individual freedoms has flourished, leading to a feel-good religion, treating the church as a commodity, and personal happiness (comparable to a mentality of “I’ll attend church based on the likability of the menu for this Sunday”). The connection that needs to be addressed is how our understanding of universal dignity and freedoms fits within the construct of everyone having a right to choose, whether we like their choices or not.

The insights from Learn from the Ancient Church were numerous, but Trueman was able to narrow the discourse to a central premise: community. There were parts of his writing in this section that I was not in total agreement with, as in others. He clearly and convincingly articulates the importance of revisiting how the early church concentrated on building communities where people shared worship, fellowship, praying, caring for one another, and giving to the church materially to demonstrate an alternative community to the secular.[9] Trueman admits that “engaging in cultural warfare using the world’s tools is not the way for God’s people.”[10]

In conclusion, I’ll turn to author Nilay Saiya who states on page 10 of The Global Politics of Jesus that “Scripture is not meant to be applied as a step-by-step instruction manual for offering canned solutions to the world’s most intractable problems…a spiritual opportunity cost is involved in the church prioritizing political activism and attempting to apply spiritual principles to worldly affairs: when the church allows the state to co-opt the salvation narrative, its identity and mission become corrupted…the church becomes less focused on its true vocation-proclaiming the gospel of Jesus…Furthermore, the pursuit of power also divides the church along the lines of political party, national identity, ethnicity, gender, and ideology, thus rendering the church incapable of realizing Jesus’ prayer that all believers “may be brought to complete unity.”[11]


[1] Benjamin Storey, “The Art of Intellectual Espionage,” National Review, 35,  https://web-p-ebscohost-com.georgefox.idm.oclc.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=775f62eb-5735-4e9c-ac91-1a06d1031def%40redis.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Andrew J. Spence, “Strange New World – Review,” Ethics & Culture, https://www.ethicsandculture.com/blog/2022/strange-new-world-a-review.

[4] Elisabeth Bloechl, Strange New World,” by Carl Trueman: A Review, Modern Reformation, February 22, 2023, https://www.modernreformation.org/resources/articles/strange-new-world-by-carl-trueman-a-review.

[5] Storey, “The Art of Intellectual Espionage,” 36.

[6] Audrey Smedley, “Origin of the Idea of Race,” Anthropology Newsletter, (November 1997), https://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-09.htm

[7] Carl R. Trueman, Strange New World, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2022), 170.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid., 176.

[10] Ibid., 177.

[11] Nilay Saiya, The Global Politics of Jesus, (New York: Oxford Press, 2022), 10.

About the Author


Audrey Robinson

6 responses to “Community”

  1. Kristy Newport says:

    Wow! You engaged this book and brought in many sources!
    I like your emphasis on community
    See you May 2nd!

  2. mm Daron George says:


    I love reading your blogs. You seem to engage deeply with the readings. I think your reflection offers a thoughtful engagement with Trueman’s work, highlighting its relevance to contemporary discussions on identity, community, and the church’s role in society.

  3. Alana Hayes says:

    Audrey, your blogs are always so informative. Thank you for bringing it all to the table again!

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