Key Points: Trinitarian (Christ-centered) Theology

1 The Triune God created all people to participate through the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ in the love relationship enjoyed by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

2 The Son became human, the man Jesus Christ, to reconcile all humanity to God through his birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension.

3 The crucified, resurrected and glorified Jesus is the representative and the substitute for humanity at the right hand of God, and he draws all people to himself by the power of the Holy Spirit.

4 In Christ, humanity is loved and accepted by the Father.

5 Jesus Christ paid for all our sins – past, present and future – and there is no longer any debt to pay.

6 The Father has in Christ forgiven all our sins, and he eagerly desires that we turn to him.

7 We can enjoy his love only when we believe that he loves us. We can enjoy his forgiveness only when we believe he has forgiven us.

8 When we respond to the Spirit by turning to God, believing the good news and picking up our cross and following Jesus, the Spirit leads us into the transformed life of the kingdom of God.

Helpful Reading Resources:

Ray S. Anderson, PhD, University of Edinburgh is Senior Professor of Theology and Ministry, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. He is the author of numerous books including Theology, Death, & Dying and The Gospel According to Judas. Many of his writings focus on pastoral theology.

Karl Barth (1886-1968), arguably the most significant and influential theologian of the 20th century and thought by many to be the most important theological voice since the Reformation. He held university chairs as Professor of Theology in Göttingen, Münster, and Bonn, Germany and Basel, Switzerland. His mature theology, expressed in the monumental 13-volume Church Dogmatics was written over the span of 35 years and covered in depth the great doctrines of the Word of God, God, Creation and Reconciliation. He made it his task “to take all that has been said before and to think it through once more and freshly to articulate it anew as a theology of the grace of God in Jesus Christ.” He was instrumental in “giving the Bible back to Europe” after its near compromise by liberal theology and Enlightenment humanistic thought dominant at the time. Christianity Today called Barth “…one of the giants in the history of theology.”

Donald Bloesch, PhD, University of Chicago is Professor of Theology Emeritus, Dubuque Theological Seminary. He did postdoctoral work at Oxford, Basel, and Tübingen and is author of the seven-volume systematic theology, Christian Foundations. He is a past president of the Midwest Division of the American Theological Society.

Geoffrey W. Bromiley, PhD, University of Edinburgh is Professor Emeritus of Church History and Historical Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary and the translator of a number of important theological works, including the nine-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (four volumes), and Karl Barth’s massive Church Dogmatics.

Eberhard Busch, ThD, Basel is Chair for Reformed Theology and Professor Emeritus for Systematic Theology, University of Göttingen. He was personal assistant to Karl Barth in Basel and is the author of The Great Passion: An Introduction to Karl Barth’s Theology and Karl Barth: His Life from Letters and Autobiographical Texts.

Robert Farrar Capon, is a retired Episcopal parish priest, seminary dean, and a professor of theology and Greek. He has authored many books including, Genesis the Movie and Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus. On salvation, he says: “I am and I am not a universalist. I am one if you are talking about what God in Christ has done to save the world. The Lamb of God has not taken away the sins of some—of only the good, or the cooperative, or the select few who can manage to get their act together and die as perfect peaches. He has taken away the sins of the world—of every last being in it. All human beings, at all times and places, are home free whether they know it or not, feel it or not, believe it or not. But I am not a universalist if you are talking about what people may do about accepting that happy-go-lucky gift of God’s grace. I take with utter seriousness everything that Jesus had to say about hell. But I will not—because Jesus did not—locate hell outside the realm of grace.”

Elmer M. Colyer, PhD, Boston College is Professor of Historical Theology and the Stanley Professor of Wesley Studies at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He is co-vice-president of the Christian Theological Research Fellowship. He authored the books How to Read T. F. Torrance: Understanding His Trinitarian and Scientific Theology; The Nature of Doctrine in T. F. Torrance’s Theology; and The Promise of Trinitarian Theology: Theologians in Dialogue with T. F. Torrance.

Gary Deddo, PhD, Systematic Theology, University of Aberdeen is Associate Editor for Acquisitions, InterVarsity Press and president of the T. F. Torrance Theological Fellowship (www.tftorrance.org). He served as a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for 20 years before becoming an editor at InterVarsity Press. His passion is to see the best of Christian academic studies, especially theological studies, made accessible to lay Christians (www.trinitystudycenter.com). He is author of Karl Barth’s Theology of Relations: Trinitarian, Christological, and Human.

Stanley Grenz (1950-2005), held a doctorate in theology, University of Munich under the supervision of Wolfhart Pannenberg. He was Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at the North American Baptist Seminary, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and held an additional appointment as Professor of Systematic Theology, Mars Hill Graduate School, Seattle. He also taught at Regent College, Vancouver and was a consulting editor for Christianity Today. He authored the books Rediscovering the Triune God: The Trinity in Contemporary Theology and The Millennial Maze: Sorting Out Evangelical Options.

Colin E. Gunton (1941-2003), was one of the most distinctive and powerful voices in British theology for his generation. As a systematic theologian he made contributions to the Doctrine of Creation and the Doctrine of the Trinity. He was Professor of Christian Doctrine and Fellow at King’s College, London where he served as Dean of Faculty. He co-founded (with Christoph Schwoebel) the Research Institute for Systematic Theology at Kings College. He delivered the Didsbury Lectures at the Nazarene College, Manchester, the Bampton Lectures at the University of Oxford and the Warfield Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary. He co-founded (with fellow theologian John Webster) the International Journal of Systematic Theology and was president of the Society for the Study of Theology. He authored 18 books and was editor of 8 books covering all aspects of theology, including The Triune Creator: A Historical and Systematic Study and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Toward A Fully Trinitarian Theology.

Trevor Hart, PhD, University of Aberdeen is Professor of Divinity, St. Mary’s College and formerly Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, St. Andrews, Scotland. He is author of the book Regarding Karl Barth: Toward a Reading of His Theology.

George Hunsinger, PhD, Yale University, taught at Bangor Theological Seminary and New Brunswick Theological Seminary before coming to Princeton where he served as director for the seminary’s Center for Barth Studies (www.libweb.ptsem.edu/collections/barth/). He is Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Systematic Theology, Harvard University Divinity School and internationally recognized scholar in the theology of Karl Barth. He is author of the books How to Read Karl Barth: The Shape of His Theology and Disruptive Grace: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth.

Robert W. Jenson, was Professor Emeritus of Religion at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. He is currently Senior Scholar for Research at the Center for Theological Inquiry, Princeton Theological Seminary. His doctoral dissertation, The Election of Jesus Christ in the Theology of Karl Barth was completed at the University of Heidelberg. He authored the two-volume Systematic Theology and The Triune Identity: God According to the Gospel. At Oxford he supervised the doctoral work of Colin Gunton who went on to become one of Great Britain’s most distinguished and influential theologians. Wolfhart Pannenberg described Jenson as “one of the most original and knowledgeable theologians of our time.”

Michael Jinkins, PhD, Kings College, University of Aberdeen currently serves as Academic Dean and Professor of Pastoral Theology, Austin Theological Seminary, Texas. He is the author of the engaging Invitation to Theology, a book based on the Apostle’s Creed. Shirley Guthrie said, “Michael Jinkins has the rare gift of making complex theological doctrines accessible to lay people.”

Eberhard Jüngel, is an important German theologian and Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Tubingen, Germany. His expertise was influential in the final drafting of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. He is author of the books God’s Being Is in Becoming: The Trinitarian Being of God in the Theology of Karl Barth and Karl Barth: A Theological Legacy. He has written numerous significant theological essays that have been translated in two volumes by John Webster. .

Christian D. Kettler, PhD, is Professor of Theology and Church History at Friend’s University, Wichita, Kansas. He is author of the book The God Who Believes: Faith, Doubt, and the Vicarious Humanity of Christ and is co-editor (with Todd H. Speidell) of Incarnational Ministry: Essays in Honor of Ray S. Anderson. He also wrote the important paper “He Takes Back the Ticket…For Us: Providence, Evil, Suffering, and the Vicarious Humanity of Christ” in the Journal for Christian Theological Research (http://www.luthersem.edu/dds/CTRF/JCTR/Vol08/Kettler.pdf).

C. Baxter Kruger, PhD, Kings College, University of Aberdeen where he studied theology under T. F. and J. B. Torrance is director of Perichoresis (www.perichoresis.org). He has worked as a minister to college students and lecturer in theology at the University of Aberdeen. He is author of several short, encouraging books focusing on the gospel message of grace and acceptance for all in the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ, the New Adam. His latest book is Across All Worlds: Jesus Inside Our Darkness.

Bruce L. McCormack, is Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary where he received his doctorate in theology. He champions Barth’s doctrine of universal election as it replaces the traditional Reformed understanding of double predestination. He became the first American to be awarded the Karl Barth Prize by the Board of the Evangelical Church in Germany. He is author of Justification in Perspective: Historical Developments and Contemporary Challenges and Orthodox and Modern: Studies in the Theology of Karl Barth.

John McKenna, PhD, Historical Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary is Vice-President and Professor of Old Testament at World Mission University, Los Angeles. He is also Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies, Haggard Graduate School of Theology, Azusa Pacific University and is Doctrinal Adviser for the Worldwide Church of God (www.wcg.org). He is the author of the book The Setting in the Life for The Arbiter of John Philoponus and the forthcoming The Great Amen of the Great I-Am: God in Covenant with His People. He was mentored by Tom Torrance and is well versed in all aspects of scientific and Trinitarian theology. His works have been collected and published in Korea.

Paul Molnar, PhD Contemporary Systematic Theology, Fordham University, New York City is a Professor of Systematic Theology, St. John’s University, New York. He is editor of the Karl Barth Society of North America Newsletter and Membership secretary of the Barth Society as well as co-vice president of The Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship. He was co-editor (with Trevor Hart) for the Dictionary of Historical Theology and the books Divine Freedom and the Doctrine of the Imminent Trinity: In Dialogue with Karl Barth and Contemporary Theology and Incarnation & Resurrection: Toward a Contemporaty Understanding. He is currently a consulting editor with the Scottish Journal of Theology.

Wolfhart Pannenberg, PhD, University of Heidelberg is author of the three-volume Systematic Theology, which draws together religion and science. He studied at the Universities of Berlin and Göttingen and the University of Basel under Karl Barth. He is known as a great interdisciplinary thinker and eschatological realist.

Alan J. Torrance, is Professor of Systematic Theology, St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews. He lectured at Kings College, London and served there as Director of the Research Institute in Systematic Theology. He wrote “The Trinity” in The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth and “Justification” in The Oxford Companion of Christian Thought. He is the son of James B. Torrance and nephew of Thomas F. Torrance in the famous “family of Scottish theologians.”

Iain Torrance, PhD Oriel College, Oxford is President of Princeton Theological Seminary and Professor of Patristics. He is former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and son of Thomas F. Torrance. He was co-editor of the prestigious Scottish Journal of Theology and is author of the book Christology after Calcedon.

James B. Torrance (1923-2003) Honors BD, Theology was retired Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at Kings College, University of Aberdeen and lecturer, New College, University of Edinburgh. He studied under Barth in Basel and gave the prestigious Warfield Lectures at Princeton. He was author of Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace and wrote the introduction to John McCleod Campbell’s classic The Nature of the Atonement.

Thomas F. Torrance (1913-2007) ThD Basel under Karl Barth, is retired Professor of Christian Dogmatics, New College, Edinburgh where he occupied the chair for 27 years. He is regarded one of the most important European theologians of the latter 20th century and Barth’s best interpreter (Karl Barth: Biblical and Evangelical Theologian), serving as editor to translator Geoffrey Bromiley for the Church Dogmatics and as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. He founded the Scottish Journal of Theology and presided over many academic societies. His written output was prodigious. He was awarded the Templeton Prize for his Theological Science and is author of the outstanding books The Trinitarian Faith and The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons. His book The Mediation of Christ has made the gospel of grace through the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ accessible and relevant to modern believers.

John B.Webster, PhD, Chair of Systematic Theology King’s College, Aberdeen and formerly Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, University of Oxford has done significant work on both Eberhard Jüngel and Karl Barth. He co-founded the International Journal of Systematic Theology with Colin Gunton and is on the editorial board of the International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church and of the Scottish Journal of Theology Monagraphs. He is co-editor (with Iain Torrance and Kathryn Tanner) of the multi-volume Oxford Handbook to Systematic Theology and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth. He is also author of the books Karl Barth and Word and Church: Essays in Church Dogmatics.

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