P & R Books
Carl Trueman’s Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative contains six essays outlining Trueman’s complaints and criticisms of conservative and liberal politics in America. He argues that a conservative Christian should not assume he fits comfortably in conservative—or liberal—political circles. A British Liberal Democrat (a political leaning near left-center), Trueman immigrated to the United States and found he didn’t belong with the Republicans or Democrats. He summarizes his purpose in the book’s introduction: “to show that the situation should not be as simple as the gurus of the Religious Right or their opponents of the secular Left seek to make it.” His essays mostly discuss the Left’s shift from economic assistance to minority rights, the Right’s dogmatism for anything anti-Left, and the hypocrisy and image-consciousness of both parties.
Trueman directs most of his punches to one side or the other. He shames the Left for turning from providing rights and benefits to those who need them—a Christian principle—to advocating for abortion and gay rights, issues Christians cannot compromise on. He warns the Right not to think reporters toting their agendas on Fox and other stations have the unbiased viewpoints. One criticism he makes of both parties is their emphasis on telling good stories and presenting good-looking faces instead of making good arguments.
The book contains many assumptions and generalizations of its own. Though Trueman writes for an audience who hasn’t previously considered his arguments against dogmatism, some of his points and vocabulary might be too obscure for the average voter. He also seems to assume religious conservatives are not or should not be political conservatives. On the issue of nationalized health care and government aid, he skims over the Church’s role of giving aid as described in Acts 4:32-35.
Trueman states the Christian citizen’s duty is “to read and watch more widely, be as critical of our own favored pundits and narratives as we are of those cherished by our opponents, and seek to be good stewards of the world and of the opportunities therein that God has given to us.”
Most readers will disagree with at least one of Trueman’s points. They are worth consideration, however, by Christians who are called to be good citizens of any government. Trueman challenges his readers, saying, “Politics in democracy is a whole lot more complicated than either political parties or your pastor tell you it is; treat it as such—learn about the issues and think for yourself.” – Alexandra Mellen, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Politics has become something of a joke—but not a funny one. ‘Sound-bite’ and ‘knee-jerk’ have replaced reasoned debate and the Church appears to wear a one-size-fits-all political jacket. Isn’t it time to think a bit deeper? Carl Trueman takes you on a readable, provocative, and lively romp through Christianity and politics.