Reading Torrance and not being postmodern

In my recent debate with a Gnostic Magus on a Reformed facebook forum, I was accused of being “postmodern.”  First, what does postmodern even mean?  The well-informed reader knows this is a trick question.  Even if you give the correct answer, you will still be wrong.  There are at least 3 correct answers.

Presumably the magus meant something like “fresh and edgy.”  I don’t know.  I saw no argument to the effect.  My guess is that these internet theologian-warriors mean something like “relativist.”  But what do we mean by relativist?  Probably something along the lines of “not holding to classical reformed dogmatics.”

I guess.  Shucks, I don’t know.  As is usual with debating TRs, there was no argumentation whatsoever.  But let’s go with the (incorrect) definition that postmodern = relativistic = no objective truth.  How does Torrance and my reading of Torrance fare?  Torrance writes (this is my outline of his argument in The Trinitarian Faith):

    1. Radical shift in the pious’s understanding.
      1. Moved from in-turned human reason (epinoia) to a centre in god’s revealing activity in the incarnation of the Logos (19).
      2. view of faith: not subjectively grounded, (BOOM!) but objectively grounded (again, BOOM!) persuasion of mind, supported by the hypostasis of God’s being  (SNAP).   Hilary: in faith a person takes his stand on the ground of God’s own being (De Trin. 1.18).
    2. scientific knowledge: episteme–standing or establishment of the mind upon objective reality (I am just running up the score at this point).
      1. It is through faith that our minds are put in touch with a reality independent of themselves (thus, the death-knell to Kant and Hegel.   Puritanboard is shown to be false)..
      2. It is through faith our minds assent to the inherent intelligibility of things, yield to their self-evidencing (shades of Descartes!) and are adapted to know them in their own nature (kata phusin).
    3. Faith is not non-cognitive.
      1. it involves the mind’s responsible assent to the self-revelation of God in Christ.
      2. it arises under the creative impact of God’s word (21).
      3. it is listening obedience (upakoe tes pisteos).

Conclusion: we must learn from God himself what we are to think of him (Hilary, De Trin. 5.20).


About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
This entry was posted in Autobiography, theology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Reading Torrance and not being postmodern

  1. I remember somebody commenting on the Pyromaniacs blog that ‘postmodern’ might serve as the equivalent of ‘Nazi’ in an Evangelical version of Godwin’s Law.


  2. Pingback: Mediation of Christ (Thomas Torrance) | Blog of the Wars of the Lord

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