Spotlighting Martin Davis, and His Mini-Essay on Thomas Torrance’s Theology

You all need to check out a fellow Torrancean’s summarizing post on Thomas Torrance’s theology. Martin Davis, like me, is doing research for his PhD on Torrance’s theology. Let me share the piece from his mini-essay that stands out for me (as it pertains to my research on the vicarious humanity of Christ):

An additional corollary to Torrance’s doctrine of the hypostatic union is his doctrine of the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ. Emphasising the humanward-Godward aspect of the unitary movement of atoning reconciliation, this doctrine asserts that, as God and man joined in hypostatic union, Jesus acts from within the depths of the fallen humanity he assumed in the incarnation to offer to the Father the perfect response of faith and obedience on behalf of, and in place of, all. This vicarious response includes not only Jesus’ passive obedience on the cross but also the entirety of his active obedience offered to the Father throughout the whole course of his life. The key to this doctrine is found in Galatians 2:20, where Torrance translates pistis christou as a subjective genitive to assert that we live by the faith “of” Jesus Christ. This passage functions in a hermeneutical manner to provide a significant point of access for understanding Torrance’s theological vision of conversion, worship and prayer, the sacraments, and evangelism. In all these important aspects of discipleship, Jesus acts as both representative and substitute, offering to the Father perfect faith, obedience, worship, and prayer on behalf of, and in place of, all. Jesus’ response on our behalf, however, does not undermine our own response, but, rather, undergirds it as he takes our feeble efforts and unites them with his own self-offering to the Father. The sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist are visible forms of the Church’s participation in the self-offering and ongoing priesthood of Jesus Christ. Each sacrament finds its meaning, not in the rite itself, but in the objective reality underlying it, that is, the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ and his self-offering to the Father. When the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ is emphasised in preaching the Gospel, evangelism becomes an invitation for hearers to become what they are, that is, to participate actively in the reality of the salvation that is already theirs in Jesus Christ. [Martin Davis]

Here is the full essay, here. Please go read it, it will only take you 10 minutes, and it might save you and I heart-ache down the road; it ought to take some of the mystification out of my own posts for you. Beyond that it will demonstrate that Bobby Grow is not the only crazy Torrancean out in the world (particularly the theo-blogosphere). Now go read!

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6 Responses to Spotlighting Martin Davis, and His Mini-Essay on Thomas Torrance’s Theology

  1. Bill Ford says:

    Thank you Bobby. I, too, follow Martin Davis. You might also want to check out for another blog that endorses Trinitarian Incarnational Theology, as per the Torrance brothers and others.


  2. Bobby Grow says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thank you, brother. Thanks for the link; I have benefited from many of the videos and interviews offered by gci; I just watched a recent one with Alan Torrance.


  3. Duane says:

    I checked the surprisinggod blog out. The 2nd most recent post also links to a good article in the January Christianty Today, on the vicarious Humanity of Christ, and being the archtypical Human.


  4. Bobby Grow says:

    Hi Duane,

    I don’t know what blog you’re referring to?


  5. Duane says:

    Hi Bobby,
    The blog Bill links to above. The article I’m referring to in Christianity Today is Jesus and the Goodness of Everything Human by a Fin named Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen (I could not have coded those letters on my own computer -copy/paste ;O) Anyhow good article:
    He ends it strangely, with, I thought a quote from Martin Luther that did not quite fit, as God’s presence in and around every creature, is not the same as Jesus’ vicarious humanity. Otherwise, good.


  6. Bobby Grow says:

    Oh, duh, yeah, Duane … sorry, I was pretty tired when I responded to your comment originally. Yeah, the quote from Luther does seem a bit pressed in the context of vicariousness in Torrance. I’ll have to go read that article when I get the chance 🙂 .


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