What Am I Reading? Thomas F. Torrance
My opinion of this book changed with each passing chapter, registering everything from distrust, to boredom (because of repetition), to interest over some before unseen technicality, to euphoria over a particularly helpful formulation. In other words, reading this book was typical of my experience in reading TFT in general. I greatly appreciate his work and have learned a lot from and through him, but sometimes he weighs on me, and sometimes I wonder whether a better historical account of the early development of Christian doctrine might be found elsewhere. But, all in all, reading Torrance has once again expanded my horizons and has further cemented into my mind some important reflexes. One of these that it is fitting to mention is the importance of thinking in terms of relations, particularly in terms of the distinction between internal and external relations. As TFT elucidates, paying attention to internal relations between the Father, Son and Spirit was important in the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. But, it had not occurred to me to think through the doctrine of the Church in similar terms (although I’m kicking myself for not having thought of that because I really should have). Also, TFT’s discussion of the atonement was helpful in many ways, especially in its attention to the connection between resurrection and incarnation, as well as in its emphasis on the substitutionary and vicarious character of Christ’s life and death.
This volume is the product of TFT’s Warfield Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1981 and is arranged according to the form of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. There are 8 chapters: (1) Faith and Godliness (2) Access to the Father (3) The Almighty Creator (4) God of God, Light of Light (5) The Incarnate Savior (6) The Eternal Spirit (7) The One Church (8) The Triunity of God.