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Torrance: regeneration and evangelism

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We continue unpacking the Christocentric, Trinitarian theology of Thomas F. Torrance with a post that appeared on this blog five years ago.

Given that all are included in Christ through his incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension, how are we to understand what happens when a person turns to God in faith (the moment many call "regeneration" or "being born again")? And what about evangelism---how are we to present the gospel in a way that is truly Christ-centered, including inviting a person to a response of faith?
Regeneration  For Torrance, the key to a thoroughly biblical, Christ-centered understanding of regeneration is to focus one's attention first not on one's personal (subjective) experience, but on the objective (albeit mysterious) reality of Jesus Christ as the permanent union of God and humanity in one divine-human person. This key is helpfully addressed by T.F. in his book The Mediation of Christ:
It is significant that the New Testam…

Torrance: the goal of the atonement

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This post concludes a series exploring T.F. Torrance in Plain English wherein Stephen D. Morrison presents nine key ideas in Thomas F. Torrance's Christocentric Trinitarian theology. For other posts in the series, click a number: 123456, 7, 8.

Last time we looked at Torrance's key idea of a threefold atonement. This time we'll explore his key idea that the goal of the atonement is union with Christ and participation in the Triune life of God.


For Torrance, the purpose and goal of the atonement---accomplished in and through the Son of God via his incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension---is not limited to the forgiveness of sin. Rather than a message about salvation away from something, the gospel, which proclaims the atonement, tells of salvation for the sake of union with Christ and participation in the love and life of the tri-personal God. Torrance puts it this way:
The mighty act of the incarnation... is at once the act of God's humiliation an…

Pentecost and gospel mission

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In Atonement: The Person and Work of Christ, Thomas F. Torrance makes frequent reference to the meaning and importance of Pentecost in salvation history. On pages 263-264, he links Pentecost with the church in its gospel mission: In...its waiting and expectation [of Jesus' return] the church is commanded by its Lord to lift up its head in thanksgiving and joy, for its 'redemption is drawing near' [Luke 21:28]. The church of the risen Lord has no right to be a prophet of gloom or despair, for this world has been redeemed and sanctified by Christ and he will not let it go. The corruptible clay of our poor earth has been taken up in Jesus, is consecrated through his sacrifice and resurrection, and he will not allow it to sink back into corruption. Hence the whole creation groans and travails waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, looking forward with eager expectation to the hour of final liberation and renewal in the advent of its risen savior [Rom. 8:19 f].   Th…