Carl Trueman often finds himself in the thick of it when it comes to debates in evangelicalism, which of course should come natural to him as a middle-aged, white, Reformed guy. But unfortunately he’s not living up to the standards of MAWR, as displayed at the end of a recent interview he conducted on a very serious topic. Now, before I get into the true nitty-gritty of Trueman’s MAWR failure, it should be said that he made his faux pas fully aware of the ecclesial ramifications of his actions. I believe that he’s broken his confessional standard, and for this I am truly sorry. Whereas I was once a big fan of his writings, I fear that I must cease-and-desist from reading any and all that comes from his pen–I speak as an aspiring MAWR, a catechumen if you will, as I have yet to hit my fourth decade.
So, in what way did “Dr.” Trueman break his confessional vows? In the Solemn League and Covenant, a statement specifically adopted by an as-yet published revision of the Westminster Confession, it says plainly: “I solemnly covenant to league myself with those who rightly uphold the following: to read, watch, and admire Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove novel, and film, and cry when Gus dies; to defend the honour of John Wayne, even when he acted in a real stinker like The Conqueror.” Sadly, Trueman outed himself as a “hater” (though thankfully he maintained his love for The Searchers), and didn’t list Lonesome Dove in his top-four westerns–while his top four was pretty impressive, I wouldn’t think that even ole Henry would admit to outdoing Bobby Duvall or Tommy Lee Jones. Sure John Wayne’s real name was Marion, but should that effect our exegesis of so many brilliant texts? Why wouldn’t our British friend at least have some sympathies for a man who could stand alongside Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man? It makes me want to spit my tobacky on my poor dog’s head.
And while we’re on the subject of heresy—and modalism ain’t got nothin’ on this—why no Magnificent Seven? Why no Jeremiah Johnson? Not even Rio Bravo? Oh, of course, he doesn’t like John Wayne! Not even for the crooning of Ricky Nelson?!
Finally, what amazes me even more than this—what can you expect from a Presbyterian?—is that there seemed to be a hushed acquiescence on the part of his interviewer, Clint Humfrey—shouldn’t he have lived up to his namesake and blasted the Tuco in his midst?—and the audience. Humfrey has preaching boots for pete’s sake! And here Trueman sits in front of a crowd in Calgary, Alberta, where movies like Open Range were filmed, where business execs wear cowboy hats to lunch, and he gets away with murder. Where is the Steve McQueen or Yul Brenner in their midst who would bury the slain? Is there no justice?
So, if Dr. Trueman wants a show-down on the great evangelical wasteland, and his posse chickens out and runs for the hills, who will he turn to for help? This gunslinger? In the words of a movie great, “That’ll be the day.”