Latest posts by Stephen D Morrison (see all)
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I am very pleased to announced the release of my new book, the second in my “Plain English Series,” T. F. Torrance in Plain English.
258 pages, $9.99 eBook and $16.95 paperback.
This book is also now available on my new store page.
About the book
T. F. Torrance was my first “theological love,” and his work ignited in me a passion for studying theology. He was also my introduction to Karl Barth. For both of these reasons I owe Torrance a tremendous debt.
It was a pleasure to return to Torrance after my study of Barth and to re-examine his many profound contributions which had inspired me so greatly when I first took up an interest in theology. His work inspires me no less today then it did then.
Torrance was arguably Barth’s most important student, since he not only wrote two important books on Barth’s theology (Karl Barth: An Introduction to His Early Theology and Karl Barth: Biblical and Evangelical Theologian) but was instrumental in putting the Church Dogmatics into English. He was also likely the most important and influential English-speaking Reformed theologian of the 20th century, with a vast range of interests both scholarly and systematic. His engagement with the natural sciences and the philosophy of science is perhaps his most unique contribution, though there are many more important insights such as his doctrine of the vicarious humanity of Christ, and his profound work on the doctrine of the Trinity.
Without a doubt, Torrance is a significant figure for theology today—an individual worth careful attention both for the professional and the amateur alike.
The book is broken up into nine selected “major ideas” from Torrance’s scientific and evangelical theology. Between these major ideas I include various “sidebar” reflections on issues that naturally arise from these major ideas. I have spelled out all these in detail below. The sidebar chapters worked to answer difficult questions, or to draw out the practical implications of Torrance’s theology.
The book is different from my book on Barth in a number of ways. I struggled perhaps most of all with the structure of the book, since Torrance never produced a “systematic theology” though which he might be neatly summarized. His vast number of essays and books contain such wide interests that it was difficult to concisely summarize him. The book does, however, offer a reading of Torrance that I think is beneficial to introduce the subjects which I have found to be the most helpful in my own study. No attempt at a conclusive survey was made, but I hope it succeeds as an introductory study (which ultimately encourages you to read Torrance for yourself).
With all that said I am very pleased with this book, and I hope it is both helpful and inspiring for you to read.
I was honored and humbled by all of the positive feedback I received from Karl Barth in Plain English, and I hope this book is just as helpful.
Chapter 1: A “scientific” theology, or “theological science”
Sidebar: Non-dualist thought (cosmological and epistemological dualisms explained)
Chapter 2: Knowledge according to nature (kata physin, Torrance’s chief epistemological axiom). (This chapter also includes a reflection of Torrance’s “stratified” model of knowledge.)
Sidebar: The place of experience in theological knowledge
Sidebar: Apologetics (more properly contra-apologetics)
Chapter 3: A “reformulated” (or “new”) natural theology. (Special attention is given to Barth here.)
Chapter 4: One in being and act (homoousion, or the consubstantiality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
Sidebar: Triune at-one-ment (addressing Christ’s cry of abandonment on the cross).
Chapter 5: The “ground and grammar” of theology (the Trinity)
Sidebar: The Filioque clause
Chapter 6: The twofold agency (mediation) of Christ (the Godward and humanward acts of Christ)
Sidebar: The Bible as witness
Chapter 7: The vicarious humanity of Christ, or Christ’s saving life (with special attention to the sacraments).
Sidebar: Fallen humanity
Chapter 8: Threefold atonement
Sidebar: Universalism and limited atonement (both rejected as “twin heresies”)
Chapter 9: “With Jesus besides God.” Union and participation (Theosis) as the capstone of Torrance’s theology. (Special attention is given to the ascension.)
Sidebar: The resurrection (its nature).
Conclusion: How to preach the Gospel
Total pages: 258 (about 20,000 more words than Karl Barth in Plain English)
Price: $9.99 for eBook, and $16.95 for paperback