Thomas Torrance: Participation, imitation and agency in the Christian life
Frost, R. J. J.
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Every Christian and every Christian community must have an answer to the question “How then shall we live?” Influential Scottish theologian T.F. Torrance has proposed an answer in terms of participation in Christ. Believers are transformed into the likeness of Christ as they increasingly share in his life of perfect faith and obedience to the Father by the Spirit. Theologians like John Webster have criticised Torrance’s model for eliminating any kind of role, agency or responsibility for the human subject. Webster proposes that participation must be supplemented by imitation, which gives content and shape to our union with Christ and to the Christian life. A study of Scripture and Torrance’s relevant sources reveals that an integrated model which holds participation and imitation in close relation is preferable to a position which stresses participation over imitation, or vice versa.
- Theology