An interview with James Torrance

Here is James Torrance speaking about his life, the influence of Karl Barth on his thought, civil religion, ethnic identity, the Barmen Declaration, reconciliation, and prayer and the priesthood of Christ (a topic that partly inspired this post):


  1. One of Eberhard Busch’s key observations in his 2010 book, ”The Barmen theses then and now’, is that the “German Christian movement” ‘demonstrated just where the church ends up when it begins to conform its own order to the state’s wishes – the outcome is that not only the church’s order but also its message is conformed to those wishes’ (2010:74).

    There are a lot of parallels today, where ideology is given precedence over theology, and worse, where ideology identifies itself as theology. Very nice find Mr. Goroncy…very nice indeed.


  2. Not sure how many know that James also penned this lovely song:

    1. I know not how to pray, O Lord,
    So weak and frail am I.
    Lord Jesus to Your outstretched
    arms In love I daily fly,
    For You have prayed for me.

    2. I know not how to pray, O Lord,
    O’erwhelmed by grief am I,
    Lord Jesus in Your wondrous love
    You hear my anxious cry
    And ever pray for me.

    3. I know not how to pray, O Lord,
    For full of tears and pain I groan,
    yet in my soul, I know
    My cry is not in vain.
    O teach me how to pray!

    4. Although I know not how to pray,
    Your Spirit intercedes,
    Convincing me of pardoned sin;
    For me in love He pleads
    And teaches me to pray.

    5. O take my wordless sighs and fears
    And make my prayers Your own.
    O put Your prayer within my lips
    And lead me to God’s throne
    That I may love like You.

    6. O draw me to Your Father’s heart,
    Lord Jesus, when I pray,
    And whisper in my troubled ear,
    ‘Your sins are washed away.
    Come home with Me today!’

    7. At home within our Father’s house,
    Your Father, Lord, and mine,
    I’m lifted up by Your embrace
    To share in love divine
    Which floods my heart with joy.

    8. Transfigured by Your glory, Lord,
    Renewed in heart and mind,
    I’ll sing angelic song of praise
    With joy which all can find
    In You alone, O Lord.

    9. I’ll love You, O my Father God,
    Through Jesus Christ, Your Son.
    I’ll love You in the Spirit, Lord,
    In whom we all are one,
    Made holy by Your love.

    © 1996 James B. Torrance. Used by permission. Hymn 347
    New Creation Publications Inc.

    * the tune is quite beautiful


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