Concerning the Ministry, Part II


Thomas F. Torrance, “Concerning the Ministry, II,” Scottish Journal of Theology 1 (1948): 190-201; #1948-019


Torrance, Thomas F. “Concerning the Ministry, II.” Scottish Journal of Theology 1 (1948): 190-201; #1948-019

Publication life cycle / General notes

This reference consists of Part II only; see #1948-TFT-4 for Parts I, II and III. Review of K. E. Kirk, ed., The Apostolic Ministry: Essays on the History and Doctrine of Episcopacy

Reprinted in Conflict and Agreement in the Church, I, Order and Disorder, #1959-139g.


The Apostolic Ministry is a volume of outstanding importance, as Professor Burleigh points out in his review, not only because of its wealth of learning but because in many respects it represents a change of front on the part of Anglicans in the realisation that it is ultimately upon theological grounds that a true conception of the ministry must rest. At the same time it cannot but be of extreme interest to the Reformed Churches in that it approaches their view that the ministry is creative of the Church. Nevertheless the precise interpretation given to that doctrine in these pages throws out a real challenge to the Reformed Churches which must be taken seriously, particularly as it has been thrown out in view of the widespread movement for re-union. I have no hesitation, therefore, in adding to the excellent review above a further discussion particularly of the more theological issues raised.

At the very outset something must be said about the methods employed by the various scholars who contribute to this book. It is refreshing to find here the combination of biblical and historical research with dogmatic construction or reconstruction. That is a method of investigation which I, for one, welcome, as being a great advance even upon the impartial scholarly method of men like Lightfoot, Hort, and Swete, and I find myself in definite agreement with them against many of their predecessors in this field in their insistence that, apart from a doctrine of the ministry, no real progress can be made through the criss-cross tradition of Church history on this subject.

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