The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self – Carl R. Trueman

Carl R. Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020), 425.

The sexual revolution of the 60’s fundamentally changed the cultural landscape in North America. Yet, percolating beneath the surface was an even more diabolical worldview; a worldview that many are unfamiliar with. Even those who have engaged with the history of Western civilization may be jolted when the implications become clear.

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl R. Trueman pulls back the veil and alerts us to the underlying ideologies that have catapulted our current views about self and sexuality in the Western world. Trueman shows readers in a precise and shocking way how men have forgotten God and presents reasons for their tragic decision.

The driving argument of Trueman’s work is this:

The issues we face today in terms of sexual politics are a symptom or manifestation of the deeper revolution in selfhood that the the rise and triumph of expressive individualism represents.

The emphasis we find in Trueman bears some similarity to John Piper’s recent contention that “the essence of sin is minimizing God and making much of self.”1

Several negative reviews have been submitted that are not sympathetic to Trueman’s work. What these reviews fail to understand is that The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self is neither a lament nor a polemic. It is in the words of Trueman, “an attempt to explain how the revolution of the self came to take the form it has in the West and why that is so culturally significant.” The goal of the author is achieved and is undergirded by meticulous research from multiple angles – theological, sociological, psychological, and beyond.

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self should be celebrated for its candor and penetrating analysis of the human condition. It sufficiently lays the groundwork for more study and deeper discussions in the coming days.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

  1. John Piper, Providence (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2021), 127.

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