Wednesday 10 December 2008

Is T. F. Torrance a Barthian?

Last month, I made a short (impromptu) video for the Sydney discussion group, Theology & Praxis. My talk was entitled “Why I Think T. F. Torrance is Not a Barthian.” Although the video is no longer available online, Travis has provided a summary of my talk, together with a very thoughtful, detailed response. When I can find a few spare moments, I might try to write a brief response to Travis as well – but in the meantime, be sure to check out his excellent post: Why I think Ben Myers is not quite right about Torrance.


Anonymous said...


Is there any chance that the video will be fixed sometime? I was really hoping to watch it.


Ben Myers said...

Unfortunately, I hadn't realised that there was wider interest in the video — so I just deleted it once the Sydney group had finished with it. Now that people have been asking about the video, I've tried to get it back online — but it looks as though I've permanently deleted it! Sorry for the inconvenience...

Erin said...

On a similar note, a question for you:

1.) Are there any F&T podcasts in the works?

a) "Yes," grace must find expression in iPods otherwise it is not iGrace.
b) "No," there is no distinction of degree or value between these three forms, blog, scripture or revelation.
c) "No," the arrogance in this request demands that, in addition to everything else, some super-world should also be known and accessible to our iPod
c) Nein! .

very helpful Torrance discussion, aqs usual :)

Dave Belcher said...


In private correspondence over a somewhat related issue a few weeks ago, Prof. Bruce McCormack told me of a time late in Torrance's life when McCormack was riding with him in the car, and Torrance said that he really believed that the real difference between him (Torrance) and Barth (specifically on the doctrine of the Trinity) was that Barth was ultimately a Basilian, while he much more followed Gregory Nazianzus. I found that to be illuminating, so I thought I'd share it. Peace.

Ben Myers said...

Hey Erin: Actually, I quite like the idea of podcasting, but I'm afraid I don't really have much to say... Plus, with so much good music in the world, I can't really believe that anyone would rather listen to theology on their iPod!

Anonymous said...

As an outsider listening to Travis and Ben on this issue I would score a point for both. Barthian thought is not monolithic as Travis so eloquently points out. On Ben's side,however,Bonhoeffer once accused Barth of "throwing stones" and I think that Torrance has taken the point and decided to build a bridge with them instead. The subject of natural theology is probably where I have seen the most practical divergence--see Torrance's chapter on this in Transformation and Convergence where he proposes to go "beyond" (contradict?) Barth on this topic. Torrance's apologia requires Christians to evangelize the foundations of culture (including scientific culture)and he was the product of missionary parents, whereas Barth's famous dictum "a good dogmatics is the best apologetics" summarizes his approach. As I have read Torrance I constantly hear the Barmen Declaration in the background as a warning to be sure that everything is grounded, so to speak, in the revelation of Christ, but as a modern person, my sympathies are more with Torrance, whether he is a Barthian or not.

W. Travis McMaken said...

On the worry about Torrance and natural theology, I currently have an essay under review with a journal wherein I argue that this worry is ill founded. So, just a teasing taste of future things...

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