W. Travis McMaken, "Actualism, Dualism, and Onto-Relations: Interrogating Criticism of Barth's Doctrine of Baptism," Participatio 6, "T. F. Torrance and Ecclesiology" (2016): 1-31
McMaken, W. Travis. "Actualism, Dualism, and Onto-Relations: Interrogating Criticism of Barth's Doctrine of Baptism." Participatio 6, "T. F. Torrance and Ecclesiology" (2016): 1-31
Based on keynote presentation at the 2015 T. F. Torrance Theological Fellowship annual meeting; #2015-WTM-1.
Thomas F. Torrance criticized Karl Barth’s doctrine of baptism in Church Dogmatics 4.4, claiming that it exhibited an improper dualism. This essay explicates Torrance’s criticism as one that arises from Torrance’s own theological commitments and as a criticism of Barth’s doctrine of baptism. It does so by working through a series of four heuristic questions. First, what does Torrance mean when he accuses Barth of baptismal dualism? Second, why did Torrance think that Barth had lapsed into such a dualism? Third, what was Torrance’s alternative to Barth’s alleged baptismal dualism? Fourth, was Torrance right in his criticism of Barth? The essay concludes by reflecting on the question: where lies the disconnect between Barth and Torrance? Both thinkers are actualist, but they are so in different ways.