President's letter, December 2019

Letter from outgoing President Thomas A. Noble, December, 2019
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Dear Members,

A good number attended our annual meeting at AAR in San Diego on Friday, 22nd November. We were happy to welcome Dr Oliver Crisp, newly appointed Professor of Analytic Theology at the University of St Andrews and following his address, there was a useful conversation with Dr Myk Habets and many good contributions from members. Before we met I had been most interested to read Professor Crisp’s recent article in which he appeared to move some distance towards Torrance’s doctrine of the vicarious humanity of Christ [IJST, 21 (2019), 235-249]. Certainly, we engaged in significant dialogue.

Before that our new executive board was elected. According to the constitution, I was required to name one of our vice-presidents as my successor and was happy to hand back the torch to Gary Deddo. The meeting expressed its appreciation for all he has done and continues to do to make the Fellowship a significant way of promoting research and writing. We also expressed our appreciation to the service of Chris Kettler, retiring as secretary-treasurer. For them and for all of us, the work of the Fellowship does not only have an academic value but is a service to the Church. We share the conviction that the depth of Torrance’s theological thinking and his place at the heart of what we may call ‘classic’ or ‘orthodox’ or ‘Nicene’ or ‘mere’ Christianity is a gift to the Church which will be of increasing significance.  

The new board which will take office at the end of this month is therefore as follows:

President Gary Deddo
Vice-Presidents Paul Molnar and Myk Habets
Secretary-Treasurer Brent Purkaple
Member-at-large Jerome Van Kuiken

The board met following the members’ meeting and drew up a slate of possible speakers for future years. We also talked about guidance for prospective research students looking for Torrance scholars who could supervise PhD research. Subsequently a new “Students” tab, with a "Graduate Study" link, has been created at our website to assist our members. Since then there has also been correspondence with the Polanyi Society about a potential joint meeting.

Speaking of research students reminds me, by the way, that I had intended to introduce to the meeting my own research student, Dr Kevin Navarro, who was present one month after he had graduated at the University of Manchester through Nazarene Theological College. Kevin completed a PhD thesis (to use the British term) on the Theology of Worship in the thinking of T.F. and J.B. Torrance, and this should be published soon. However, he will not long hold the position of the latest doctoral student to graduate! I am aware of another thesis to be submitted in the next month.

All of this is encouraging. The work of Participatio (thanks were expressed again to Todd Speidell and his team) and of our excellent new website (with thanks to Kerry Magruder and Brent Purkaple) continue to stimulate research and writing.

As we approach the festival of the Incarnation, ‘our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man,’ (Charles Wesley), our prayer must surely be that all of this theological work will glorify the Lord  who came down to take our flesh that he might raise us up to share in his glory.

Have a great Christmas!

Thomas A. Noble, President, 
Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship

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Thomas A. Noble, president