The Trinitarian Faith


Thomas F. Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988); #1988-489


Torrance, Thomas F. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988; #1988-489

Publication life cycle / General notes

Annie Kinkead Warfield lectures, 1981. 

Audio recordings of the original lectures are available (1981-tft-4; -4a through -4h).

  • The original audios include two recordings that did not make their way into the published version:  A lecture on the resurrection (#1981-TFT-4g) and a sermon on Mark 10:32 (#1981-TFT-4h).
  • In the published book, there are two chapters with new material not represented in the original recordings: The first chapter, "Faith and Godliness," and the last chapter, "The Triunity of God," do not correspond to the original lectures. "Faith and Godliness" was adapted from Festschrift for George D. Dragas (#1985-460).

Dedicated "To my sons Thomas Spear Torrance and Iain Richard Torrance."

All editions have the same pagination for content shared in common; later printings are photo-reproduced. Notable printings include:

  1. First edition (#1988-489, this record): Some reprintings (e.g., 1991, 1997) state on the publication page that the first edition was printed in 1991. Rather, the first edition states on the title page verso both copyright 1988 and "first printed 1988." Pagination is the same as in later editions, with the exception that the first edition contains one unnumbered leaf of color plates, on kaolin paper, inserted before the title page. A color plate appears on both sides of the leaf. These two color plates are not found in later editions.
    • Caption, first plate: "The Creed inscribed by Margaret Adams, Oblate of Stanbrook Abbey OSB, is reproduced by permission of the Earl and Countess of Dalkeith who own the original."
    • Caption, second plate: "The Icon of Saint Athanasius the Great by Ralles Topsides of Athens was presented to me by A. J. Philippou in 1963."
  2. Photoset reprint: 1991. No apparent changes to the text. The 1991 T&T Clark reprint (#1991-TFT-1) lacks the color plates, but is otherwise a photographic reproduction of the 1988 edition.  It does not mention the 1988 edition on the title page verso, but rather indicates that the copyright and first printing is 1991. This is erroneous, as it is also indicated that the type has been "photoset," although perhaps it is intended to be in recognition of the lack of the plates. 
    • Note: This 1991 edition, attested by the 1997 edition, is not in WorldCat (OCLC), nor the British Library, nor does it appear in a search of the Library of the University of Edinburgh.  We're wondering if it actually exists. If you have a copy of this 1991 edition, please let us know! 
  3. First paperback printing: 1993 (#1993-TFT-1). No apparent changes to the text.
  4. Second edition (#1997-TFT-4): No apparent changes to the text. This 1997 T&T Clark reprint of the 1991 photoset reprint designates the 1991 edition as the first edition, and identifies itself as a "second edition." The verso title page states: "First edition copyright © T&T Clark Ltd. 1991. Second edition copyright © T&T Clark Ltd. 1997." Perhaps the designation of a new edition was entailed by the acquisition of T&T Clark by Bloomsbury. The title page verso lists a continuumbooks website.
  5. First printing in Cornerstones Series, with new Introduction (#2016-TFT-1): The 2016 printing of the second edition adds a preface by Myk Habets, which is separately numbered using roman numerals (vii-xxxii), so again the pagination of Torrance's writing is unchanged. The edition with Habets' introduction is issued in the Cornerstone Series, and is available for Amazon Kindle and Apple Books



From the Foreword: “It has been a principal concern of mine in each chapter to bring to light the inner theological connections which gave coherent structure to the classical theology of the ancient Catholic Church, particularly as it was brought to formulation during the fourth century. Problems arose within this development which had to do with significant differences in emphasis between the Athanasian and the Cappadocian traditions, but the general consensus that was reached at the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D. has ever since provided the Church in East and West, Catholic and Evangelical alike, with its one authentically ecumenical Confession of Faith.” (p. 2).


Foreword, p. 1 (#1988-489a).
1: Faith and Godliness, p. 13 (#1988-489b).
2: Access to the Father, p. 47 (#1988-489c). Audio: #1981-TFT-4a.
3: The Almighty Creator, p. 76 (#1988-489d). Audio: #1981-TFT-4b.
4: God of God, Light of Light, p. 110 (#1988-489e). Audio: #1981-TFT-4c.
5: The Incarnate Saviour, p. 146 (#1988-489f). Audio: #1981-TFT-4d.
6: The Eternal Spirit, p. 191 (#1988-489g). Audio: #1981-TFT-4e.
7: The One Church, p. 252 (#1988-489h). Audio: #1981-TFT-4f.
8: The Triunity of God, p. 302 (#1988-489i).
Index, p. 341.

Study aid for The Trinitarian Faith:
Stuart Johnson, affiliated with Perichoresis Australia and the Trinity in You website, is systematically posting the resources referenced by Torrance in the footnotes: "Footnote Studies on T. F. Torrance." Thanks, Stuart, for putting these valuable resources at our fingertips.

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“The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed was essentially the fruit of Eastern Catholic theology. It represents the work of the Greek fathers in reaching careful expression of crucial points in the Gospel where it had been seriously misunderstood and distorted under the influence of dualist ways of thought deriving from Hellenism and Hellenised Judaism. The central place accorded to Jesus Christ in the faith of the Church called for a dear answer to the question as to whether he was himself Lord and God or only a created intermediary between God and man. Where was the line of demarcation between God and the creature to be drawn, between God the Father and Jesus Christ, or between Jesus Christ the incarnate Son of God and the world? That was the basic question faced by the Nicene fathers, and answered in their unqualified acknowledgment of the Deity of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour....

The basic decision taken at Nicaea made it clear that the eternal relation between the Father and the Son in the Godhead was regarded in the Church as the supreme truth upon which everything else in the Gospel depends. Jesus Christ is himself the content of God’s unique self-revelation to mankind. It is on the ground of what God has actually revealed of his own nature in him as his only begotten Son that everything else to be known of God and of his relation to the world and human beings is to be understood. It is only when we know God the Father in and through his Son who belongs to his own being as God that we may know him in any true and accurate way, that is, know God strictly in accordance with his divine nature. In order to know him in that way, however, we must enter into an intimate and saving relationship with him in Jesus Christ his incarnate Son, for it is only through reconciliation to God by the blood of Christ that we may draw near to him and have access to him.”  Foreword, pp. 2-3.

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