The content of recent posts is influenced by the thought of Thomas Torrance mediated often through theologians such as J Baxter Kruger and scholars who appear in the footnote below. The appeal of this teaching is that it is new covenant which means it is ontologically based. This is to say it is founded on the concept of ‘being’ rather than on the Living Word of Christ’s person reduced to ‘the letter’ with its positions and dogmatics that kill. As Paul wrote, ‘A person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God’ Rom 2.29 NIV. Thus belonging to Christ and His Body is about ‘being.’ It concerns the ‘you of you’ and it does so because, since the cross, we are done with the law, finished with mode of the knowledge of good and evil and incorporated in the kingdom in which CHRIST IS OUR LIFE.
According to the fact of the vicarious humanity of Jesus (grace) Jesus not only stands of you. He is you. ‘Letter’ formed epistemology comes from a refusal to abandon the law and with it the knowledge of good and evil. Because we are here captured and contained we are not able to then step into the reality of the new covenant union in which Christ is our life and we know life, truth and love BY BEING IN GOD. In this age God is in us and we are in God. This is our inheritance. It’s ours if we believe it. Not ours if we don’t. Why? Because we create the reality in which we live. Thus we need the mind of Christ and not some parody of the gospel that is a creation of our own minds. SHADOW OR SUBSTANCE Some people – to their cost – by insurance and then after flood or fire, find that what they bought covers nothing. The notion of belonging to the Body of Christ is much different when it is expressed in the hermeneutic of ‘being’ in the manner of Torrance than it is in some definition proof-texted in a way that allows false gospels to claim the same kind of ‘belonging’ that is our inheritance in Jesus, John and Paul. In Him we live, move and have our being. But we have nothing if living in self-generated fictions.
Indeed Paul’s ‘Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf’ (1 Cor 10.17) assumes that we are fully participating beneficiaries of the at-one-ment and union with God. This is the realisation urged on us by Jesus when He said, ‘You will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. We as sons are part of God’s being. Here through the cross, the incarnation and our new life in the Spirit, we and our Father are one in the guarantee of the vicarious humanity of Jesus. Christ is not only our life but our life in fellowship with God. This quote from ‘Trinitarian Conversations’ is informative.
THINGS NEW AND OLD “There were a lot of scholars in Europe, particularly England and Scotland, who were already reading Torrance’s theology. Very few over here were: Gary Deddo, Ray Anderson, a few people who had studied under Tom, but not a lot of people were reading Torrance’s theology. Just about the time my books came out, Alister McGrath’s book, his intellectual biography, had come out on Torrance, and both of us agreed that Torrance was one of the premiere theologians, maybe the most outstanding theologian in the English-speaking world in the 20th century. Finding scholars to do it was not all that difficult of a project. Now that Torrance has died (just over a year ago), there’s a flood of interest in Torrance’s theology like I have not seen in the early years when I was first writing on his theology. It’s very gratifying to see how many people are interested in studying Torrance’s work now that he has gone on into the other side.” (1) Such scholarship and theological teaching is as much a manifestation of Holy Spirit among us as is the healing of blind eyes and the raising of the dead. Indeed in many cases it results in the healing of spiritual blindness and the raising of dead Christians into living sons rather than leaving them as workers and slaves. It is fitting that there is a flood of interest in Torrance’s theology since it is Pauls theology and God’s theology – the kind that is based on new covenant foundations and the interwoveness of God and human beings. As such it eliminates the primitive legalism of some, the more subtle legalism of others and provides a firm foundation for the ministry of Holy Spirit and the gifts. Holy Spirit ideology was never meant to be siloed off as a thing in itself. Indeed heaven is not going to invade earth to any deep extent if the gifts are bolted on to the knowledge of good and evil and the culture of Adam. We no longer live in separation from God unless we think we do. But when we believe what is fact – that we and our Father are one we generate the culture of Christ our life as us – the new creation in progress.