Worship as Participation by the Spirit in the Son's Communion with the Father: A Doxological Theology of T.F. and J.B. Torrance

  • Kevin Navarro

Student thesis: Phd


Most approaches to liturgical theology are anthropocentric: the study of liturgy is primarily focused on what we, the worshipers, do. While some have attempted to offer a more theological approach to the subject of worship, they still have not gone far enough. Thomas F. Torrance and James B. Torrance offer a Trinitarian and Christocentric approach. This informs not only the why of worship and not simply the what or how of worship, but centres on the One whom we worship. Most significantly, it fully recognises the key role of the humanity of Christ as the ascended High Priest who alone offers the perfect worship and through whom alone we are enabled by the Spirit to worship God. In order to arrive at a theology of worship informed by T.F. and J.B. Torrance, doxological themes in their writings were collated and are examined in this thesis. With the exception of two theses (one focused exclusively on the Eucharistic theology of T.F. Torrance and another on the Ascended Christ as the leader of our worship), most secondary sources focus on the Torrances’ approach to science, epistemology, soteriology and Trinitarian theology. All of these themes are critical to understanding their theology. But this thesis attempts to offer unique scholarship highlighting the doxological themes that emerge from their writings. This is the first comprehensive theology of worship of the Torrances. This thesis also provides a lens for a deeper understanding of their theology. The findings of this research are that the Torrances’ own background provides insight into their concern about the worship of the Living God (Chapter One). Regarding the anthropocentric approaches, the Torrances explicitly confront Unitarian and existential theologies of worship and present their Incarnational- Trinitarian alternative (Chapter Two). They emphasise that the Trinitarian faith of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is the way back to a Trinitarian doxology (Chapter Three). They focus on the mediation of Christ (Chapter Four) and the place of Jesus Christ in liturgical prayer and worship (Chapter Five). They also have a theological understanding of the role of preaching (Chapter Six) and the sacraments (Chapter Seven) with a vibrant Christology that once again, articulates and informs Christian worship. This thesis presents this unique and needed theological perspective on Christian worship. It is all too common when discussing the subject of worship to discuss praxis exclusively. But for a subject as central to the Christian faith as worship, a vibrant Trinitarian theology of worship is imperative. This thesis, aims to make a significant contribution to that.
Date of Award1 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester


  • T.F. Torrance
  • J.B. Torrance
  • Worship
  • Liturgy
  • Theology

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