Re: [asa] Thomas Torrance, Neo-orthodoxy and Evangelicalism

From: Clarke Morledge <>
Date: Sat May 05 2007 - 17:20:47 EDT


Elmer M. Colyer, at the University of Dubuque Theologial Seminary, wrote
_How to Read T.F. Torrance: Understanding His Trinitarian & Scientific
Theology_ (InterVarsity Press). Colyer is a colleague of Donald Bloesch.

Unless you are one of the PhD candidates who went to Scotland to get a
degree during the past thirty years or so, you probably would not have
bumped into Torrance (or his several sons who are also theologians --
though Ian Torrance is now president at Princeton Seminary). Thomas
Torrance is not the most accessible writer, but as McGrath has noted,
Torrance is probably THE most significant English writing theologian
around, particularly concerning the interaction between theology and

Torrance is influential at places like Fuller Seminary and Regent College
in Vancouver, so in those circles, Torrance would be considered
"evangelical". However, his close association in translating Karl Barth's
works to English probably generates a lot of skepticism among the Francis
Schaeffer/ Cornelius Van Til brand of reformed evangelicals. His views on
the ministry of women in the church probably does not gain him acceptance
among evangelical complementarians either.

Nevertheless, Torrance considers himself to be quite orthodox and
therefore "evangelical". He is obviously indebted to Barth but is also
critical of Barth's "neo-orthodox" dismissal of natural theology.
Nevertheless, I do not think there have been that many American
evangelicals who have had the patience to wade through his dense (yet very
rewarding, in my view) prose to make any significant judgements.

Blessings in Him,

Clarke Morledge
College of William and Mary
Information Technology - Network Engineering
Jones Hall (Room 18)
Williamsburg VA 23187

On Fri, 4 May 2007, David Opderbeck wrote:

> I've been reading Torrance's "Reality and Evangelical Theology" and eating
> it up. Would anyone know how evangelicals dialogue with Torrance? Would
> Torrance be considered an "evangelical" (whatever that exactly means, I
> guess)? Would he be considered neo-orthdox, or paleo-orthodox? Obviously I
> know of his connections with Barth and of Alister McGrath's connections with
> Torrance. Are there any treatments of Torrance by American evangelical
> theologians?

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Received on Sat May 5 17:21:15 2007

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