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Featured Dual Heresy - Torrance

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC, Nov 29, 2023.

  1. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Ok....been hanging around the house healing. I decided to read TF Torrance as @DaveXR650 mentioned him quite a few times recently (I am not very familiar with Torrance, only that he taught what he called "Total Atonement", believed the Atonement was accomplished at the Incarnation, and Christ - the Person of Christ - is this Atonement).


    I ran across an interesting topic reading Torrance.

    Torrance claimed that we often wrongly inject human logic into God’s grace, changing God's grace into an amalgamation of logical deduction that limits God’s freedom and ultimately results in the dual heresy of limited atonement or universalism.

    I found it interesting because this "dual heresy" is often what is claimed on this board (that it is either universalism or limited Atonement). Torrance traces this error to what he calls the 'Latin Heresy" (apparently Torrance uses "heresy" quite freely).


    "If in Jesus Christ the Word of God, by whom all things are made and in whom they have their creaturely being, became incarnate, died on the Cross and rose again, then we must think of the whole creation as having been redeemed. If in Jesus Chris the Creator himself became a human creature, without of course ceasing to be Creator, and if in him divine nature and human natures are not separable, as Nestorian heresy would have it, then we must think of the being of every man, whether he believes or not, as grounded in Christ and ontologically bound to his humanity. It is precisely in Jesus, as St Paul taught, that every human being (and indeed the whole creation) consists. . . If Christ died for all men, then, it is argued, all men must be saved, whether they believe or not; but if all men are not saved, and some, as seems very evident, do go to hell, then Christ did not die for all men. Behind both of these alternatives, however, there are two very serious mistakes. . .

    Let me repeat, the problem of universalism versus limited atonement is itself a manifestation of the ‘latin heresy’ at work within Protestant and Evangelical thought. . .

    However, of this we can be perfectly certain: the blood of Christ, the incarnate Son of God who is perfectly and inseparably one in being and act with God the Father, means that God will never act toward any one in mercy and judgement at any time or in any other way than he has already acted in the Lord Jesus. There is no God behind the back of Jesus Christ, and no God but he who has shown us his face in the face of Jesus Christ, for Jesus Christ and the Father are one. What the Father is and does, Jesus Christ is and does; what Jesus Christ is and does the Father is and does."


    (Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith)

    Anyway, putting it up for discussion or just to read.
     
  2. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Sorry, but the views apparently held by Mr. T. F. Torrance, seem to be unstudied nonsense to me.

    The idea that if Christ died as a ransom for all means all have been redeemed is nonsense, as His death only provided the means of redemption and reconciliation. On the other hand, the idea Christ only died for a subset of humanity as the necessary alternate view is also nonsense.

    What if the bible teaches Christ died for all humanity, becoming the means of reconciliation for the whole of humanity, but only those whose faith God credits as righteousness receive that reconciliation?
     
  3. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I don't understand what part of Torrance's statement you disagree with (you seem to be saying exactly the same thing in regards to limited Atonement).

    His claim is that universalism (that all are saved) and limited Atonement are both heresies that stem from the "Latin Heresy".

    (I have not gotten to the "Latin Heresy" part, but suspect it has to do with how Jesus and God are viewed...but that just based on the title).

    Anyway, Torrance's claim is that universalism (all men are saved) and Limited Atonement are both false. What part of that do you believe to be "unstudied nonsense"?

    On another note....I'm not sure that "unstudied" can be applied to men like T.F. Torrance, Karl Barth, John Wesley, N.T. Wright, or John Calvin even though they all disagree with one another. I'd wager Torrance is more studied on the topic than you and I combined. Torrance spent 27 years as professor of dogmatics at the University of Edinburgh.....definitely not unstudied.
     
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  4. taisto

    taisto Well-Known Member

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    His proposals:

    1)If in Jesus Christ...became incarnate, died on the Cross and rose again, then we must think of the whole creation as having been redeemed.

    2) If in Jesus Christ the Creator became a human creature (without ceasing to be the Creator), if in him divine nature and human natures are not separable, then we must think of the being of every man, whether he believes or not, as grounded in Christ and ontologically bound to his humanity.

    The question is whether Torrance comes to an accurate conclusion. Are his "if-then" statements accurate?

    I don't think so. I think both statements jump to unsubstantiated conclusions, not supported by biblical text.
     
  5. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I don't think so. I see what he is saying here and this come to a conclusion (leading towards a greater conclusion in the chapter), and it is supported by the biblical text (whether his conclusions are right or wrong, his conclusions are supported directly from the biblical text. One of his complaints is the introduction of human logic to develop doctrine).

    If Jesus became incarnate, died and rise again then all of creation itself has been redeemed (in Him everything has its being).

    If Jesus became human then He became human (not like some humans over other humans).

    Those were just quotes for discussion. It is from a larger work.
     
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  6. taisto

    taisto Well-Known Member

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    What is the biblical text to support the two "if-then" statements that Torrance makes in your OP?
     
  7. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    I said both views are nonsense.

    I did not address who might hold those views, but that the views were unstudied nonsense. I like to think if I address a person's view is nonsense, I provide a quote of the nonsensical viewpoint.

    If I say the views apparently held by Mr Torrance seem to be unstudied nonsense, I am not saying the person is unstudied, but the view is unstudied. The idea being that if you study scripture, you will not hold to universalism, as people go to Hades and Gehenna, and you will not hold that Christ did not die for all humanity.

    I remember saying John Calvin's views (some of them anyway) were wrong, and also disagreeing with John Wesley. You will need to refresh my mind as to when I took issue with Mr. Barth and Mr. Wright.
     
  8. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I mean that I don't understand where you disagree with Torrance on this issue.

    Torrance calls universalism and limited Atonement "heresy". You call them nonsense. So both of you believe universalism and limited Atonement is unbiblical.

    Are you objecting to Torrance calling Limited Atonement and Universal Salvation "heresy" instead of "nonsense"?

    If so, I also wouldn't use "heresy", but I'm not sure how Torrance means the word.
     
  9. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    I am not objecting to what Mr. Torrance believes but to the unstudied nonsense of Universal Salvation and claiming Christ did not die for all people.

    Please provide a snippet from Mr. Torrance as to what he sees as "Limited Atonement." I define it as claiming Christ did not provide the means of reconciliation to the whole of humanity, 1 John 2:2.
     
  10. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    I went back to the OP and here is a quote:
    Now this is not a quote of Mr. Torrance, but it does present the view as being Mr. Torrance's view, and it is unstudied in my view.

    I believe we must "inject human logic" into our grasp or understanding of God's grace. I do not believe applying logic to interpreting God's word results in error.

    This observation was not what I said in post #2, but if that is what you want to discuss, have at it.
     
  11. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    In the book he was referring to the idea that Jesus died for some men and not others (limited Atonement).

    The rationalism of both universalism and limited atonement

    Here we see that man’s proud reason insists in pushing through its own partial insight into the death of the cross to its logical conclusion, and so the great mystery of the atonement is subjected to the rationalism of human thought. That is just as true of the universalist as it is of those who hold limited atonement for in both cases they have not yet bowed their reason before the cross of Christ.

    Christ’s death for all is an inescapable reality

    We must affirm resolutely that Christ died for all humanity — that is a fact that cannot be undone. All men and women were represented by Christ in life and death, in his advocacy and substitution in their place. That is a finished work and not a mere possibility. It is an accomplished reality, for in Christ, in the incarnation and in his death on the cross, God has once and for all poured himself out in love for all mankind, has taken the cause of all mankind therefore upon himself. And that love has once and for all been enacted in the substitutionary work on the cross, and has become fact — nothing can undo it. That means that God has taken the great positive decision for man, the decision of love translated into fact. But because the work and the person of Christ are one, that finished work is identical with the self-giving of God to all humanity which he extends to everyone in the living Christ. God does not withhold himself from any one, but he gives himself to all whether they will or not — even if they will not have him, he gives himself to them, for he has once and for all given himself, and therefore the giving of himself in the cross when opposed by the will of man inevitably opposes that will of man and is its judgement. As we saw, it is the positive will of God in loving humanity that becomes humanity’s judgement when they refuse it.
    (Atonement)
     
  12. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Those were my words, and while not as studied....not unstudied :Wink

    The way people have concluded that IF one rejects limited Atonement THEN they affirm universal salvation is based on a flawed logic that comes from a deeper error.

    BOTH Limited Atonement AND Universal Salvation are wrong and unbiblical.
     
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  13. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Yes, I fully agree that Universal Salvation and denial that Christ died for all humanity are unstudied nonsense.
     
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  14. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Christ died for the sins of the whole world, Christ is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the World. He is before all things, and by Him all things are held together.
     
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  15. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    I agree, "flawed logic" is not "logic."
     
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  16. taisto

    taisto Well-Known Member

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    Care to share the whole context around this post and where it is found?

    I believe the context will clarify "the sins of the whole world." If not, then (see how that works) universalism is the logical conclusion.
     
  17. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    The context?

    His argument is that the Incarnation means God became man.

    Universalism and Limited Atonement are both dependent on several presuppositions. IF even one of the presuppositions (to include what Torrence refers to as the "Latin Heresy") is incorrect THEN both Universalism AND Limited Atonement are wrong.

    You are skipping to these "if - then" statements as of each is stand alone comments that can be inserted into a Limited Atonement framework.

    The argument is not against Universalism or Limited Atonement but that both exist out of secularising Scripture (inserting flawed human logic).
     
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  18. taisto

    taisto Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't his "if-then" statements arise from his flawed human logic?
     
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  19. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire Well-Known Member
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    Define “Latin Heresy”
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire Well-Known Member
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    Sounds like a fringing lawyer pleading a case vs a theologian suggesting alternative viewpoints. These are typical of universalists platforms. So please define “Latin Heresy”… is he pulling this out of his arse or does he have a legitimate definition he wants to suggest?
     
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