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

Roots and Impact of Modern Idenity

Written by: on April 14, 2024

In his book, Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution, author Carl Trueman offers a deep dive into the historical and philosophical evolution of personal identity, particularly how it intersects with modern conceptions of sexuality. Trueman’s exploration is more than an academic exercise; it is an examination relevant to everyday church life, societal norms, and educational systems.

Historical Roots and Philosophical Impacts

Trueman traces the roots of the modern self to enlightenment thinkers like Rousseau and Marx, and later to Freud and Wilhelm Reich, whose thoughts on human consciousness and sexuality laid the groundwork for today’s expressive individualism. This term, which dominates much of Trueman’s discussion, refers to the idea that true authenticity comes from aligning one’s external actions with internal feelings, emphasizing personal experience and emotional expression as the core of identity.

Expressive Individualism in Modern Culture

This concept has infiltrated various facets of modern life, from politics and education to technology and entertainment, shaping how individuals perceive themselves and their relationships with others. Trueman argues that this shift towards self-expression and personal truth has profound implications, challenging traditional societal norms and sparking significant cultural and sexual revolutions.

The Impact on the Church and Christian Doctrine

In Strange New World, Trueman specifically addresses how these shifts have affected religious institutions. He discusses the tension within churches about issues like the acceptance of gay ministers, reflecting a broader societal shift towards inclusivity that challenges previously immutable norms. This discussion is particularly poignant in light of Trueman’s observation about the church’s role in contemporary identity politics and its struggle to maintain authority and relevance.

Challenges in Education and Youth Development

Trueman’s insights extend into the classroom, where he notes that young people increasingly construct their identities online. This digital persona creation can sometimes replace basic social skills, which traditionally were taught through direct interactions. This shift has led to early sexualization and materialism among the youth, necessitating a reevaluation of how values and social skills are taught in our educational systems.

Philosophical and Theological Reflections

Further exploring the philosophical underpinnings, Trueman engages with the ideas of Simone de Beauvoir and others who argue that gender is a social construct, challenging traditional distinctions between biological sex and gender identity. This, according to Trueman, is a “metaphysical leap” and represents a significant challenge to both scientific understanding and religious doctrine.

A Call to Action for Modern Christians

In response to these profound changes, Trueman calls for a pragmatic approach that neither descends into despair nor naively ignores the complexities of modern life. He advocates for a return to communal and doctrinal roots, suggesting that a deep engagement with Christian teachings and community life can offer a counterbalance to the rampant individualism that characterizes much of modern culture.


Carl Trueman’s work serves as a critical resource for understanding the seismic shifts in how identity and sexuality are viewed and discussed in both secular and religious contexts. His call to action is clear: individuals and communities must engage thoughtfully and compassionately with these issues. By doing so, they can navigate the challenges of modern identity politics with grace and integrity, striving for a balance that respects both traditional Christian doctrines and the realities of contemporary life.

About the Author


Daron George

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10 responses to “Roots and Impact of Modern Idenity”

  1. Thank you Daron for your post! I found it interest your section about creating identity online. This is not a foreign idea to me but one I wrestle with as my teens start to want to engage with these online platforms. It is a struggle to let them become who God created them to be and to find their identity in healthy ways and within in relationship.

    • mm Daron George says:


      I agree that “it is a struggle to let them become who God created them to be and to find their identity in healthy ways and within in relationship.” It is something that I struggle with as well.

  2. mm Audrey Robinson says:

    Dr. Daron, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. You nailed the salient points from his work and thoughtfully navigated the key messages.

    I do agree with the digital influence on the sexual identity of young people. In your opinion, does that also include the streaming platforms, i.e., Netflix, and other movie content coming from Hollywood?

  3. Michael O'Neill says:

    Dr. Daron, there is definitely a “seismic shift” in society. It’s sad at times but not surprising. I like that you protect your children from it the best you can, while you can.* Smart man.

    * comment you made about social media during the cohort call.

  4. Kristy Newport says:

    Read your post
    Great summary
    I agree with the comments from the cohort.
    see you May 2nd

  5. Alana Hayes says:

    What a great post! This was a hard read for me, however I appreciate your deep dive that broke it into key messages with important takeaways!

  6. mm Shonell Dillon says:

    I just believe that all we can do as the world changes is love God’s people. God bless.

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