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

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat May 05 2007 - 17:59:01 EDT

Just a couple of additional comments on Torrance:

1) Whatever may be the views of Evangelicals about Torrance, his work is
respected in the wider ecumenical community.

2) The statement below about his critical stance toward Barth's view of
natural theology needs to be nuanced a bit. Torrance agrees with Barth in
rejecting natural theologies which are independent of revelation. But he
goes on to argue that there can & shopuld be a valid natural theology within
the context of specifically Christian theology - i.e., which sees itself as
dependent upon (special) revelation.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Clarke Morledge" <>
To: "David Opderbeck" <>
Cc: "asa" <>
Sent: Saturday, May 05, 2007 5:20 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Thomas Torrance, Neo-orthodoxy and Evangelicalism

> David,
> 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
> science.
> 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 17:59:43 2007

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