Thomas F. Torrance


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That is to say, the incarnation is to be understood as the coming of God to take upon himself our fallen human nature, our actual human existence laden with sin and guilt, our humanity diseased in mind and soul in its estrangement or alienation from the Creator.

This is a doctrine found everywhere in the early Church in the first five centuries, expressed again and again in the terms that the whole man had to be assumed by Christ if the whole man was to be saved, that the unassumed is unhealed, or that what God has not taken up in Christ is not saved. The sharp point of those formulations of this truth lay in the fact that it is the alienated mind of man that God had laid hold of in Jesus Christ in order to redeem it and effect reconciliation deep within the rational centre of human being.

Rationalistic fundamentalists are those who think they can treat biblical statements as independent from the ultimate Being to whom they refer. But this would be to commit the error that is referred to elsewhere in this article, namely to impose our own systems of logic on the subject matter of enquiry rather than letting it teach us its own inherent logic.

Such systems of doctrine tend to be legalistic constructs of our own minds where we may seem to put grace at the center of a theological system but instead end up with a new legalistic system that does not really set people free in Christ. In Jesus Christ God has actualised his unconditional love for you in your human nature in such a once for all way, that he cannot go back upon it without undoing the Incarnation and the Cross and thereby denying himself. Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him.

He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. Therefore, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. He directs us through himself to the one Word and Face of God in Jesus Christ in accordance with whom all our knowledge of God is formed in our minds, knowledge of the Spirit as well as of the Father and of the Son. We do not know the Holy Spirit directly in his own personal Reality or Glory.

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But if the church can recover its true identity as the body of Christ, then church unity is possible. While he addressed many issues throughout his time as a professor, his main focus was the church and ministry, always arguing that proper church practice comes from a proper understanding of identity. Because of his heavy involvement in ecumenism, it is no wonder that he was invited to become the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in , a one year position.


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A meeting concerning the Trinity with the ecumenical patriarch and other leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church on behalf of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches led to a series of meetings between and in Istanbul, Turkey. By —, these meetings had expanded to Geneva, Leuenburg, and Minsk. While retirement usually means the end of a career, for Torrance this was not the case. While he published works during his time at the University of Edinburgh, he added over additional publications after he retired, including two of his most significant: The Trinitarian Faith and The Christian Doctrine of God He passed away in Edinburgh in December Torrance understood that Jesus loved the church so much that he died for it and, thus, the church must be fought for.

Torrance used his position in the academy to do just that. He fought for the theological renewal of the church so that its witness in the world might not be tarnished, and through that witness, the world would come to know God in Christ. Daniel J. Sections Home. Prayer Abortion Fatherhood. Subscribe Subscriber Benefits Give a Gift. Subscribers receive full access to the archives. Home Featured Holidays. Home Featured People. Chapter Ten Beyond Henry's nominalism and evangelical foundationalism: Thomas Torrance's theological realism.

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The careers of Carl Henry and Thomas Torrance share many similarities in their general outlines, and yet they could not have chartered more different courses in theology had they tried. Both men were born in and lived into their 90s Both men were born in and lived into their 90s. Both were professors of theology: Henry at Fuller Theological Seminary, which he helped to establish; Torrance at the University of Edinburgh. Both were international speakers and first order systematic theologians. Finally, both were guardians of what they considered orthodoxy: Henry of the evangelical heritage which developed out of fundamentalism, 4 and Torrance of an orthodoxy developed in line with the Great Tradition.

George Dragas. The Teaching of Apollinarius; by Thomas F Torrance, in Theology of Reconciliation "We are now in a position to draw out the implications of Apollinarianism in so far as they bear upon our theme: and here we can hardly do better that For where there is complete man, there is also sin, and two complete entities cannot become one. Otherwise there would be in Christ also the conflict of sin which is in us, and Christ would need the cleansing which we receive, if in becoming man Christ exhibited in himself the element which in us us thinks and directs the flesh.

Flesh would not sin if the thinking element which directs the flesh did not conceive the act of sin beforehand, then operating through the body bring that act of sin to its fulfillment.

The Ecclesiology of Thomas F. Torrance

And so Christ is conceived to be with-out sin. Evidently Apollinarius was not a monophysite, for he was just as opposed to any Docetic diminishing of the creaturey and physical reality of the flesh of Christ as he was to a dualist bifurcation of Christ into two personal realities.

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In actual fact, therefore, the Incarnation involved not so much an emptying of God as an emptying of man in respect of his human mind to make room for the Logos, resulting in such a union with human existence in the flesh that there was one incarnate nature. In all this Apollinarius appears to have three overriding concerns. Hence if salvation was to take place the human mind had to be set aside and a new kind of mind grafted into humanity, one that was subject to change or to sin. The human mind had to be set aside if only because there could not be two governing principles in Christ, a human mind and a divine mind.


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How then will Christ be without sin? In, not of: The theological task and the mission of the church. This article demonstrates how an interdisciplinary approach to thinking about mission allows for a more dynamic definition of who belongs to the Christian community. It argues that the church ought to understand its relationship to its Review of "Alexandra S. Michael Saad and Vincent Rossi.

Thomas F. Torrance

Beloved John McKenna went on his final journey May 23 He was He was Our thoughts and prayers for his wife Mickey who graciously honored us in every Coptic occasion we invited them. McKenna published five books and numerous articles including his PhD thesis at Fuller Theological Seminary, about Philoponos and the relation between theology and science.

May God bless his soul and comfort his wife Mickey, family and friends. Condolence is an art of charity that requires sharing love and wisdom, with tact and courage. With dear John it would have been much harder if his poems were not there, to convey to us how much more he always cared.

Break down the bad blood! It is argued that the Grace and Truth of the Lord God cannot rightly be grasped in all of their depth in the world without becoming able to integrate both the continuities and the discontinuities of this Revelation with us, even in our own times.

Select Works of Thomas F. Torrance (21 vols.) | Logos Bible Software

A fascinating study of an ancient genius By Vincent Rossi, on August 15, John McKenna has written a very compelling study on a little known but fascinating 6th Century theologian and scientist, John Philoponus, the Grammatikos usually translated "the Grammarian" but "the Professor" would probably be more accurate. Philoponus was embroiled in the 6th Century controversies around the incarnate nature of Christ--whether it was more correct to say Christ was of one nature as the monophysites heretically declared or of two natures as the Chalcedonian or orthodox faction maintained.

The difficulty was that both parties considered themselves followers of St. Cyril of Alexandria, who used the term "one nature" mia physis in a way that superficially sounds monophysite but actually was grounded entirely in the orthodox understanding of the hypostatic union of Divine and human natures in Christ. John Philoponus was commissioned by the Emperor Justinian to write a clarification that would unite the truths on both sides of the argument into one orthodox statement that would end the debate and bring theological peace to the Byzantine empire.

The result was Philoponus' The Arbiter. Unfortunately, for his pains John was condemned by both sides, by the Chalcedonians as a monophysite, by the monophysites as a tritheist or believer in three gods. He was ultimately condemned by the 6th Ecumenical Council in , over years after his death. McKenna's book makes a persuasive case for a positive re-evaluation of The Arbiter on its true merits in its own context.

He argues that John was not a monophysite, and describes the theological and political complexities of the situation in John's time, his relationship with Justinian, why he wrote The Arbiter and how and why both sides of the debate seemed to have misunderstood him. Philoponus was a great scientist as well as a theologian, whose insights and discoveries in an age of doctrinaire Aristoteleanism astonishingly anticipate modern quantum physics.

He developed a theory of impetus that was so advanced the world would take a thousand years to catch up to it. His kinetic theory of light anticipates not only the hesychast understanding of uncreated light, but also post-Einsteinian light theory. Lifting J. Philoponus Anathemas "In , after 13 centuries, the Ecumenical Orthodox Church lifted the unjustified anathema of the sixth council, , on John Philoponus, defended, by eminent theologian Thomas Torrance, with the help of Rev Dr.

Dragas, Hellenic college, who provided the needed Greek texts by Philoponus. His works have been collected and published in Korean. He is a student of the Right Reverend Dr. Torrance of Edinburgh, Scotland. Vincent Rossi. The Theology of T. Torrance: An Evangelical Evaluation, ed. Lucas Stamps. Torrance and Hans Urs von Balthasar. In non-Christian intellectual world there is a trend in interdisciplinary dialogue between natural science and humanities. Physicists, for example, tend to describe the cosmological evolution in terms of narrative.


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Biologists began to In order to become one of the effective dialogue partners in this trend in public square the first step Christians should do is to develop an intra-disciplinary dialogue between science and humanities. Among the theologians, T. Torrance has developed a systematically theological dialogue with natural science especially physics, whereas Hans Urs von Balthasar has developed another systematically theological dialogue with humanities especially arts. Thus it is helpful to begin with a dialogue between these two theologians.

Protestants, Sacraments, Mary. An excerpt from Ascension Theology, pursuant to discussion of the sacramental problem of the presence and the absence. Torrance and the Latin Heresy.

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