Elmer Colyer: Theology or the Bible?

(Editor:  Those who follow this blog know of my convictions about trinitarian theology.  Sometimes people say (when the word THEOLOGY is brought up that they “just believe the Bible.”  The thing is, the Bible is a book of theology – and whenever we engage it, we are doing theology.  The word THEOLOGY means “the study of God,” or as Don Musser, my professor at Stetson University – and the guy who preached my ordination sermon – “thinking hard about God.”  We do that when we deal with the scripture – or we should.  The Bible should inform our theology.  This article/interview explores the relationship of the scripture and theology.  Enjoy and join the discussion.)

Introduction: Grace Communion International presents You’re Included, the good news of Jesus Christ. Our host is Dr. Michael Morrison. You’re Included is a unique interview series devoted to practical implications of a Christ-centered Trinitarian Theology. Today’s guest is Reverend Dr. Elmer  Colyer.  Dr. Colyer is Professor of  Historical Theology at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and an ordained United Methodist pastor and elder. Dr. Colyer is Editor of The Promise of Trinitarian Theology: Theologians in Dialogue with T.F.  Torrance and he is the author of How
to Read T.F. Torrance: Understanding his Trinitarian and Scientific Theology.

Mike Morrison: Elmer, thanks for being with us again.

Elmer Colyer: It’s delightful to be with you.

MM: I wanted to talk with you today a little bit about the
relationship between the Bible and theology. I teach Bible at a seminary, you
teach theology. Now, one question that some students have is theology based on
the Bible or is our understanding of the Bible based on theology? Which needs
to come first in our understanding?

EC: Well, that’s a great question Mike, and might I say I’m
glad they have this on tape. You know, a biblical scholar and a theologian
sitting down at the same table and having a conversation about it! This is
unusual in and of itself. You have to have both, you know? You have to have a
theology to rightly interpret the Bible, but it can’t be any theology. It has
to be a theology that arises out of Scripture. And so we’re faced with the
age-old dilemma of the hermeneutical circle. How you enter the hermeneutical
circle if Scripture generates the appropriate theology, but you can’t rightly
understand Scripture unless you have the appropriate theology. So this is
where, I think, it’s important to realize that we all begin in communities and
we’re not the first Christians that started reading the Bible. So everybody
already reads Scripture out of a community, and for you and for me, we’re doing
it as Christians who believe, Christians who believe in the Triune God. And
that provides us an initial frame of reference, a theological frame of
reference that allows us to read Scripture in a certain way. And we ought to
hold that theology, in a sense, loosely in that we always allow our theology to
be checked by Scripture, but it will also illuminate Scripture and enable us,
you know, to interpret it in a way that we couldn’t if we didn’t have it. So we
have to sort of critically, you know, hold our theology critically and allow
Scripture to challenge it while at the same time we use that theology in order
to interpret it. And it’s a messy process. You know, the church has had all
kinds of heresy trials and everything else as it has debated the relationship
between theology and Scripture.

MM: So there’s this little back and forth relationship of
each speaking to the other. Historically, how has that relationship developed?
I know it changed quite a bit during the enlightenment, for example. Maybe you
could…has that been good? Has that helped us understand?

EC: Well, in some respects it has been. There have been some
good things and some bad things. So yeah, you’re right. The enlightenment
forever changed how we approach the Bible. And remember, you know, one of the
first pieces written in the enlightenment was Benedict Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise, and he
was one of the first persons to interpret the Bible as a historical test
purposefully to undermine its authority because Spinoza lived through the 30
Years War when Protestant Catholics were bloodying Europe with the religious
battles and both doing what? Appealing to the Bible and its theological
perspective to legitimate their warring against one another. And Spinoza, being
an enlightened Jew, realized there’s something funky about Christians appealing
to a crucified messiah who called them to love one another and love the world
and then bloodying Europe. And he was concerned that with both sides appealing
to the authority of Scripture that one of the ways that he could undermine it
would be to simply interpret the Bible as a historical text. And so that sort
of started a trajectory that developed in the enlightenment, and early enlightenment
exegesis of Scripture, the historical/critical approach to Scripture, like the
early history of historical theology. Both started out negative toward the
church’s theological way of reading Scripture. So the first critical histories
of dogma were designed to undermine it.

MM: Their goal was to take interpretation away from the

EC: Yes. To set it free from the prejudice. Set it free from
the prejudice so that Scripture could be interpreted without any kind of
theological prejudices. Of course, this is precisely what the problem is
though. Can anybody ever interpret the Bible without some kind of theoretical
framework? Well, the answer is no because the Bible is already there and you
have to have certain presuppositions about what it is. And part of the
fundamental divide in the church and outside the church when it comes to
interpreting the Bible is we don’t all agree on what Scripture is and therefore
we have a multitude of different ways of approaching it accordingly. So in the
enlightenment, the historical/critical approach was first designed to treat
Scripture not as a privileged sacred text, but like any other historical text,
subject to the same rigors of historical criticism that we would subject, you
know, Plato or Aristotle or anything else in history to.

MM: So instead of looking at the Bible as a word from God,
they were viewing it as words from men about God.

EC: Yes, yes. It was simply the religious theological
perspective of Jews in the Old Testament and of Christians in the New Testament.
And there was sort of an ongoing hope that if you could get back behind the
dogma of the early church, this is where the critical dogmas, critiquing Nicaea
and Chalcedon as a writing out of Christianity’s influence coming into contact
with Greco-Roman philosophy and that led to this high theology of the Trinity
and the incarnation that you find…that it was hoped that if you could get
back, if you got back to the New Testament, apart from this dogmatic tradition
of the church, that Jesus still might have something hopeful to say to modern

Well, of course, the problem was that scholars began to
critically go back first through the early centuries of the church and cut away
the theology, they began to look at the New Testament, and guess what? They
found that even the gospels are already theological texts. So, you know, being
a New Testament scholar you’ll remember that great long-standing quest for the
historical Jesus throughout the 19th Century where scholar after scholar went
back, particularly to the synoptic gospels, tried to cut away the theology of
the redactors and others that manipulated the text, to get back behind the
texts as they stand to the data, the raw historical Jesus apart from any kind
of theological presupposition. And so when they would finally get back to the
historical Jesus, cut away from the theology, they’d reconstruct the historical
Jesus, every one different than the previous one until Albert Schweitzer came
along and went back and reviewed that whole history in his, you know, quest for
the historical Jesus, and demonstrated the uncanny absolute miracle that every
one of those scholars which he likened to looking down deep in a well, cutting
away the theology of the church until it finally saw the picture of Jesus. And
in every case it turned out to be a self-portrait of the scholar who did the
study. And, of course, Schweitzer’s book put an end to the quest of the
historical Jesus for a while. Now, if you remember what Schweitzer’s conclusion
– what was Jesus?

MM: He was mistaken.

EC: Yes.

MM: Schweitzer’s view was not like himself.

EC: Yes, yeah that he is a first-century apocalyptic Jew and
he has nothing to say to modern humanity. Now you know the rest of the story?
He was one of the most outstanding biblical scholars and theologians in the
world at this time, but, you know, if Jesus is simply a first-century
apocalyptic Jew who has nothing to say to modern humanity, this sort of puts us
out of business in a hurry, doesn’t it? You know what Schweitzer did? He gave
up his position as a New Testament scholar and theologian, went back to medical
school to do something worthwhile in his life.

MM: To be a missionary.

EC: To be a missionary where he would go and actually meet
people’s real needs in Africa, you know, serving as a medical missionary. So
that whole quest for the historical Jesus had all kinds of ramifications. It
actually led Schweitzer completely out of New Testament study and theology and
into a different vocation. And, of course, if Jesus is simply a first-century apocalyptic
Jew and has nothing to say to us, we might as well close our book and do
something else, don’t you think?

MM: Do something for humanity.

EC: Yes, exactly.

MM: You said earlier that this historical method did have
some good effects in taking theology away from the private domain of the church

EC: Yes. Well, one of the good effects that it did is it
helped, you know, the church begin to face the fact that it did have,
sometimes, a tyrannical theology that it was imposing upon the text. You cannot
understand the ecumenical movement and the desire of Christians to re-unify one
another apart from the enlightenment critique of the warring character of
Protestants and Catholics. The ecumenical movement didn’t arise because
Christians decided one day, oh, Jesus said we really should love one another
and we should clean up our act and stop, you know, having wars against one
another – not only that, you know, stop treating one another badly. The reason
that the ecumenical movement began was because our disunity was such a scandal
to the world, to modern western culture – that there’s something fundamentally
wrong with this kind of Christianity that leads to this kind of in-fighting in
the name of a messiah who proclaimed the love of God in Christ. So it enabled
the church to begin to be self-critical about its own practices and its own
interpretation in a way that it hadn’t…internal feud you could say within
Christian faith. It was the external feud of the enlightenment and the critique
from the world on the church that really forced the church to face its disunity
and generated the ecumenical movement.

The other side of the thing is remember the enlightenment
was always a movement toward universality. You know, what can we…science was
hoped to be the unifying rationality that could unify, you know, all various
cultures. So there’s a kind of a movement toward universality in the
enlightenment and the rise of modernity. Anyway, that led to that, you know, in
Christian faith and began to focus on the things we hold in common. It’s not
coincidental if you’ve noticed that in post-modernity, where, you know, the
enlightenment itself is now being critiqued and its so-called universal
rationality has proved to be historically located and therefore culturally
conditioned as any other, in post-modernity we no longer hope for a universal
rationality and so now we tend to focus on what we call local realities or
local communities. Ecumenicity doesn’t fare well in that kind of environment,
does it? And so it’s not coincidental that in our post-modern world, the
ecumenical movement has begun to wane. And Christians, in attempting to
identify what makes them distinctive, you know, as over against the world and
over against other Christians are beginning to focus again on their individual
traditions again, which I think in some respects is tragic that we’re
forgetting the ecumenical movement. I think that’s, you know, something that
Christians ought to work for – more unity.

MM: You mentioned post-modernity. Maybe you could explain
briefly what that is and…has that been a good effect on the church and our
understanding of the Bible?

EC: Well, certainly, you know, the church always has to take
into consideration the context in which it finds itself, so we have to do that.
You know, one of the things that post-modernity has done that’s been good for
the church is helped the church realize that it doesn’t, it can’t, and it
doesn’t have to measure up to somebody else’s standard of rationality. You
know, there’s a sense in which…and here I find it somewhat ironic that those
on the theological left and those on the theological right, despite all the
things they think are wrong about one another, share some certain
characteristics in the modern period that I think are illuminating, and one of
them I think is that both of them want to somehow speak to the universal
rationality of the world and demonstrate that Christian faith is credible in
light of that universal rationality. So it’s not coincidental that
conservatives and liberals have both been very concerned about apologetics and
how we answer objections. Now, in post-modernity, when there’s no longer a
universal human rationality to appeal to, kind of makes apologetics a little
bit difficult, doesn’t it? Because no longer are we appealing to a single
rationality and so apologetics, you know, you could say kind of, you know, is
suffering a little bit. It’s less, you know, avant-garde than it used to be and
now Christians, once again, are attempting to go back and learn its own
rationality, its own discourse. So the radical orthodoxy movement is an example
of this in theology. I think the emerging church movement is an example of
this, of a post-modern movement that is attempting to restate Christian faith,
to live it well, and thinking that it will attract, you know, culture despisers
of religion without having to go and prove it, I mean to them on their grounds.

MM: Not arguing, they’re showing an example.

EC: Yes. Throughout the modern period, the Holy Grail in
philosophy and theology and science has been what we call foundationalism. It’s
the attempt to render indubitable knowledge entirely explicit. We want a method
in science and philosophy and theology that will allow us to arrive at
absolutely true truth. So we’re going to render the conditions of arriving at
indubitable knowledge entirely explicit. Now, the problem is is that most
philosophers, most natural sciences, and many theologians now think that
foundationalism is impossible. And the reason is is that you always have to
account for one fundamental problem in the equation – a human knower who is
finite and historical. How can a finite, historical human being ever render the
conditions of an indubitable knowledge entirely explicit? And point of fact,
what seems to take place is when we try to render the conditions of indubitable
knowledge entirely explicit, we actually end in skepticism – that we finally
cannot know truth with a capital T.

MM: Right. Some philosophers reach that point, yes.

EC: Yes, yep. So the radical orthodoxy movement, I think,
you know manifests some of that. I think the emerging church movement manifests
some of that and has impacted Christian faith, I think, in some helpful ways in
that its gotten us to the point where we’re not as embarrassed about talking
about our ultimate beliefs and feeling like we always have to defend the
doctrine of the Trinity or the incarnation or the atonement against culture
despisers of religion who want to critique it for one reason or another.

MM: Now, each person has somewhat different background,
different…they’re bringing their different context when they read Scripture,
so they’re going to understand it in a little different way.

EC: Yes.

MM: How are we to adjudicate between these different

EC: Yes. Well, that’s a very good point. And let’s say
straight up that it isn’t simply that Christians with the Bible and theology
have this problem; all human beings have this problem in whatever area of
discourse they’re in. Scientists have this problem. Not all scientists agree.
And it’s a messy process by which scientific theories come to be accepted by
the scientific community. You know, when Albert Einstein posited this theory of
general and special relativity, the scientific community thought he was crazy.
In fact, there were really only probably five or six people in the entire world
that could even understand him. And many, many people contended that he was
wrong. And it was a long messy process over a number of years before Einstein’s
theories finally became accepted within the community of science because they
operated with a different set of presuppositions, different standards,
different background, different community. And there’s nobody that comes to the
Bible any different. And if there’s anybody, no matter how critical the scholar
is, who claims that he or she has a privileged neutral position, don’t believe

MM: The objectors…

EC: Don’t believe them because everybody comes with
presuppositions. So we always start, then, already within the knowing relation
and we have to adjust our knowledge gradually whether in any field of
discipline as we go along.

MM: You know, you use the word messy. This process of
reading the Bible and trying to figure out what’s right is messy. But we don’t
have time for that. We have to live right now.

EC: Yeah well, well, that’s another interesting thing, isn’t
it? You know, the wonderful thing – this is the wonderful thing about being a
human being – that we cannot exempt ourselves from making fundamental decisions
about our ultimate beliefs upon which we stake our lives even though we don’t
have that absolute certainty that was the quest in the modern period of
foundationalism. And the thing is is that we apply different standards to
ourselves. You know, when we talk about faith and religion it’s like we want to
have a higher level of certainty than we do in normal life. But, you know Mike,
anybody that’s been married knows that even when you go through the process of
courting and finally coming to the point where you agree to get married, do you
have an absolute certainty that your marriage is going to turn out the way you
hope it is going to be? You don’t! And yet you stake your whole life on it,
don’t you? That’s part of the condition of being a human being. And I think,
you know, that people like Thomas F. Torrance and Alister McGrath have begun to
try to sort out all these questions of how we know God of what we call
epistemology, theory of knowledge, how we approach Scripture after the collapse
of foundationalism without falling into post-modern relativism. And I think
that’s a helpful conversation. I think T.F. Torrance and Alister McGrath are
two scholars inside a Christian faith that have gone a long way to help us get
beyond, as Christians, begin ashamed that we have fundamental ultimate beliefs
about God, about Christ and the gospel on which we’re willing to stake our
life, even if we can’t prove them with the kind of proof that we wanted
throughout the modern period.

MM: Because everybody else has beliefs of one sort or

EC: Yes.

MM: We’ve been socialized to have certain things. Can we
escape that? I mean, are we socialized to be Bible-believers?

EC: You know, there are some scholars that thing we should
simply get over, you know, the idea that we can ever arrive at any kind of even
approximate objectivity and we should simply read the Bible in light of our own
wish-fulfilling fantasies. And, of course, then if you’re a hyper-post-modern,
you know, why simply do that with one sacred text? Why not the more the
merrier? You know, read the Bible one day, you know, the Koran another day, and
there’s something about that, you know, that doesn’t work very well. Indeed,
you know, one of the interesting things I’ve noticed that even though scholars
that claim to be the most absolute relativist, you know, that we never can get
beyond our social/cultural horizon and therefore the best we can do is
deconstruct any of those that presume to make any kind of objective claims. You
know, I have watched them after they come out of their lectures like in the
AAR/SPL meetings, and I’ve noticed that when they go up to the street before
they cross, they look carefully left and right. And they do it several times
because no matter how subjective they view reality, they view drivers in cities
like Los Angeles as having objective reality, and not only are they realists,
they’re critical realists. They realize they might be mistaken and so they look
twice because they know if they’re mistaken and step out, they’ll probably be

MM: And when they give their lecture, they hope that people
understand what they’ve intended.

EC: Yes. That’s a very astute observation. If they really
believe that, they should stop lecturing. So it seems, it seems that we’re
caught in this dilemma, Mike, that we’re caught in this dilemma that we can’t
have this absolute certainty, you know, that has been the paradigm in
modernity, and yet human life, by its very core character, forces us to stake
our lives on our ultimate beliefs. Even in something as mundane and coming up
and looking at a street, we’re forced to be critical realists and say what are
the best options that are available? Now as Christians, you know, when it comes
to Scripture, we don’t start…we’re not the first ones that read the Bible. We
stand in a long tradition of the church. I don’t know how you came to faith,
but I came to faith because people in the church…you know, I didn’t know
hardly anything about the Bible. You know, they led me to Christ and into a
relationship with God, and they told me that Scripture was a text by which we
learn and grow as Christians, and I started reading the Bible with probably a
very inadequate understanding, you know, of the theological framework, but
nonetheless I did it within a community that already had, you know, some
ultimate beliefs. So, I don’t think we should be apologetic about that – that
we stand in the great tradition of the church and that we read the Bible from a
theological perspective. We don’t think the Bible is simply a collection of
sacred texts that simply reflect human perspective. We believe that the hand of
God was involved in the shaping of that Scripture. And those are ultimate
beliefs, and we stake our lives on it, you’ve staked your life on it, I’m
willing to continue to do that, and up to this point it’s enabled me to live
fairly, fairly well. And I have no reason to turn my back on that. But you’re
right in calling attention to the fact that we have different theological
perspectives that influence how we read the Bible.

That’s the reason why, you know, in the history of the
church, whenever there’s been a theological debate about a major point, it’s
virtually never been solved by an appeal to the Bible because each community
appeals to certain texts over other texts and therefore they simply retrench
into defensive positions and they’re not able to get beyond those because of
their, you know, theological framework that they bring to the table.

MM: So the church overall is a community that has kind of
grown up with Scripture and theology side by side influencing one another and
then we can be socialized in that community, read the Scripture, find
congruence in terms of what it tells us about ourselves and about life. And
that kind of gives us an internal experiential validation of its accuracy, at
least its usefulness for us.

EC: Yes.

MM: And it describes to us a God, not necessarily the one
that we were looking for…

EC: Yes.

MM:…but one that’s better.

EC: Yes, yes. Well, that’s a good way to say it. In fact,
you know, in the post-modern period we spend a lot of our time apologizing
about the fact that we have a theological, you know, perspective and that we
have all these different perspectives. You know, the other side of the coin is
also true. The point of fact is we need a perspective to be able to rightly see
reality. And you can’t avoid this. Simply let me give you some examples of the
way in which the human mind always has categories that it uses in seeing
anything. You’re familiar with Magic Eyes? You know, they are wonderful
pictures that have a maddening plural-ality of little detail and you look at it
and you just think it’s a bunch of detail.

MM: Other people say there’s something in there.

EC: Yeah, they say there’s a 3-D image in there. And if you
hold the Magic Eye picture close to your face and you gradually move it away
without focusing on anything, all of a sudden you’ll see a 3-D picture that the
creators of the Magic Eye have actually hidden in the picture in the relations
between the detail. And what the Magic Eye shows us, first of all, is that we
don’t simply see things with our eyes, we see them with our mind. You see,
because two people can look at it just with their eyes and one person sees the
Magic Eye and the other person doesn’t.

MM: The brain has to interpret.

EC: It isn’t till the brain integrates, due to the
subliminal clues, integrates the pattern in the images that we see the 3-D
image. Notice that there already is form and being. There is a pattern in the
Magic Eye but there has to be an integration of form in our knowing – and one
that’s not innate. The mind has to create it in order for us to see it. I think
you could say that the Bible, you know, if you think of the Bible as a massive
Magic Eye. It’s a huge mass of detail written over thousands of years, inspired
by God, for us to be able to behold the reality, the verities of the gospel,
the Triune God. But I don’t think you can perceive the theological verities
unless you indwell all of Scripture and assimilate the form that’s already in
Scripture and have an integration of form and knowing. And the same way that
you can’t see the Magic Eye without some way integrating the form that’s there
in your mind, you can’t see the Magic Eye, I don’t think you can rightly
understand Scripture until you have the right theological perspective. Indeed,
I think that’s why God developed the Scripture to begin with. Think for a
moment, Mike, if we had nothing of the Bible. You don’t know anything about
Israel, nothing about, you know, the Passover, the Lamb of God that takes away
the sin of the world, and we know none of the Old Testament whatsoever, we
don’t have the New Testament, Jesus all of a sudden beams down into the middle
of New York city, stands out on the street corner, and says, “Behold the Lamb
of God who takes away the sin of the world.” What do you think we would do with
him? We would lock him up. We would think he’s crazy. We would not have a clue
of what he’s talking about, would we? Indeed, our general human experience
wouldn’t help us very well. If we looked at what lambs are, you know, fleecy
white creatures that hop along the shore of a stream and eat grass and drink
water, we wouldn’t know what the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the
world is.

MM: Nothing to do with sin.

EC: No. We wouldn’t know anything at all, you know? The
question becomes if we human beings do not have…we only know things through
the categories of the mind. If to rightly know God in Christ we have to have
theological categories and we don’t possess them, how is God ever going to
reveal God’s self to us? God has to start somewhere and take the categories
that we already have and gradually mold and shape them, which, as you know, is
a long painful process in our lives. Just for you and me to begin to study
Scripture, we spend years learning the theology of the church, learning all
about biblical studies to be able to interpret the text, think about if we had
none of that background and God was starting with us as blank tablets. All we
have is a bunch of sinful people with their individual culture that know
nothing accurately about God. What would God do? Wouldn’t you expect that God
would elect one people from all the people and begin to subject them to a
molding and shaping process through history to prepare for God’s final
revelation in Christ so that Christ will be intelligible? Tell me a single
image in the New Testament that interprets the significance of Christ that
isn’t party rooted for its meaning in the Old Testament like the Lamb of God.
What does the Lamb of God…when Jesus says…when John says of Jesus, “He’s
the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world,” what holds that in place
that enables us to understand something that he’s pointing towards the cross as
an atonement for sin. Well, it goes back to the entire dealing of God with the
Old Testament – the election of Israel, you know, the circumcision, to the
spreading of blood over the doorposts of the house when the angel of death
passes over and the Israelites are rescued from Egypt. It has to do with the
temple worship and the sacrificing of lambs there, you know, every year for the
sins of Israel. That provides a religious moral theological framework that God gradually
built into the Israelites, gradually, over thousands of years. That is the
presupposition of the New Testament and the coming of Christ. Without the Old
Testament, we wouldn’t have understood who Jesus is.

So as Christians, we think we can’t rightly understand the
Old Testament apart from the New Testament. That’s why, you know, you all in
Grace Communion International, you stopped practicing many of the feasts in the
Old Testament that you used to practice because you believe now that you’re under
the New Covenant and those things no longer hold. The Lamb of God has come! We
don’t, you know, at my United Methodist Church and Grace Communion
International, we don’t sacrifice lambs anymore. You know, if conservative Jews
could get the temple rebuilt on the place where it was meant to be in
Jerusalem, what would they do? They’d restart sacrificing again because they
don’t think, conservative Jews don’t think that that dispensation has passed
away. But we as Christians think that all points forward to Christ and that we
can’t accurately understand the Old Testament apart from Christ in the same way
we can’t understand the New Testament apart from the Old Testament. Well I’ve
already given you a huge set of ultimate beliefs that Christian faith through history
has said is extraordinarily important if you’re ever going to begin to read the
Bible. So it’s not coincidental today, in biblical studies, when people do not
want to allow any kind of theological unity between the Old Testament and the
New Testament – they don’t even call it the Old Testament anymore, they call it
the Hebrew Bible…they go back and the interpret it, they interpret it very
differently than even Jesus in the New Testament interprets it. And Jesus, you
know, wasn’t a very good historical critical biblical scholar in the way he
interpreted the Old Testament, was he?

MM: Well, we are out of time. It’s been a real pleasure to
talk with you.

EC: It’s been a pleasure to talk with you too. But in
closing, you know, I want to say that as Christians, you know, we come with a
theological tradition from the communions that we’re in, but we don’t hold
those sacrosanct over Scripture. Scripture always has to critique those and
modify those, and you all in the Grace Communion, you all know that as well as
any of us do. You’ve gone through a tremendous transition because you’ve taken
this book seriously and you’ve gone back and you’ve indwelt it and you’ve read
it again. And you’ve said that this book is the one that helps us develop the
right theology and where you have been amiss you have taken, done the hard
steps, and you’ve changed, you know, some of your ultimate beliefs and how you
go about it, and you all are a witness to the rest of the church that we ought
to take Scripture that seriously that we come to it with our theology but we
always allow it to challenge our theology to mold us and shape us. We’re all
imperfect theologically. And finally, Scripture is the one place that puts us
in touch with the living word of God that alone can reform the church and lead
us forward in mission and theology and ministry. So thanks a lot, Mike, for
letting me be with you again.

MM: Thanks.

The Promise of Trinitarian Theology: Theologians in Dialogue with T. F. Torrance
by: Elmer M. Colyer
publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, published: 2002-03
ASIN: 0742512940
EAN: 9780742512948
sales rank: 711592
price: $34.95 (new), $10.73 (used)

Thomas F. Torrance is considered by many to be the most outstanding living Reformed theologian in the Anglo-Saxon world. In The Promise of Trinitarian Theology, Elmer M. Colyer presents a collection of essays critiquing Torrance’s work. It explores his place in Reformed theology and his relation to the Greek fathers. Both everyday life and scientific understanding are discussed in the essays within. The Promise of Trinitarian Theology is a hopeful step engaging the works of T. F. Torrance and the theology behind his words.

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