Tuesday, March 31, 2009

T.F. Torrance on 'Power'

Many local Christians might have come across how local preachers have been expounding 'grace'. Especially so, if you are attending New Creation Church where Joseph Prince tirelessly preaches about it every Sunday.

But if you are bored with the often surface treatment on 'grace', perhaps T.F. Torrance could recast your understanding of the over-used word:
‘[The] movement of God’s holy love into the heart of the world’s evil and agony is not to be understood as a direct act of sheer almighty power, for it is not God’s purpose to shatter and annihilate the agents and embodiments of evil in the world, but rather to pierce into the innermost center of evil power where it is entrenched in the piled-up and self-compounding guilt of humanity in order to vanquish it from within and below, by depriving it of the lying structures of half-truth on which it thrives and of the twisted forms of legality behind which it embattles itself and from which it fraudulently gains its power. Here we have an entirely different kind and quality of power, for which we have no analogies in our experience to help us understand it, since it transcends every kind of moral and material power we know, the power which the Bible calls grace’.
(Thomas F. Torrance, Divine and Contingent Order [Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2005], p.136. Thanks to Per Crucem ad Lucem for the quote.)

5 comments:

davinci said...

I envy you for able to read TF Torrance. you are such young chap, self study budding theology scholars,,,I am NUS philo graduate, yet couldnt understand TF Torrance books..

I think you have the Spirit annointing to read chim theology, in contrast to "power annointing" of John Wimber to discern devil..

could you paraphrase the Torrance words on "grace" for me? and also for the good of Prince's fans...

or else, we still dont know what such chim theologian talking...tks

davinci said...

Hi Szezeng,

Pls help to paraphrase the Torrance words, so that myself and prince's fans could understand...

this is not to test you, but a genuine seeking your help.

Pls dont censor this post again,,,,hehe..

Sze Zeng said...

Hi davinci,

I get uneasy with critique as much as praise. So there are some praises that I moderate because I simply feel uncomfortable with them.

OK, I'm not a Torrance-scholar, but here is what I think he meant:

God's power is his holy love that we as creatures will not come to know unless God made it known to us.

God's love is made visible through his act of conquering evil. We usually have the image of divine action as some sort of military attacks but Torrance said that it is not.

God's divine and loving action is precisely divine and powerful because it overturns all that we knew about power.

We thought that power is manifested by the strong to trump on the corrupt, small, and less powerful.

And God's power is the opposite. He does not want to trump but to transform from the core, and hence able to overturns everything that is tainted by corruption. A way of redemption which we can't know outside of God's grace.

Hope it's clearer now.

davinci said...

Thanks Szezeng, for paraphrasing.....

I understand now, but with a feeling of pusing-pusing...pening..

Torrance although, a British, think and write in German/continental way...

Not analytic style...

this is last time i seek your help for this kind matter...I surrender...

davinci said...

anyway, I like to read Wayne Grudem. he is of the american analytic style...


why such contrast between Torrance and Grudem??? even just a simple sentence about "grace"...hehe