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August 17, 2023

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John Rackley

If the Prayer of Baillie and the quotation from Torrance is about the transcendent depth of our approach to God why has the liturgy and song of the Church persisted in altogether too humanistic language such as Father/Son, King/Saviour and Lord/ Master down to this time?

Jim Gordon

Hello John, and thank you for your question, and for taking time to read and write about the post. I think the transcendent depth Baillie addresses is in God, not in our approach. Both Bailie and Torrance are aware of the need for what calvin called 'accommodation', hence the use of anthropomorphism.While Torrance argued there is no God behind Jesus, he also took immense pains to write and explore the mystery of the Trinity, and the unfathomable depths of love revealed in the incarnate, crucified, risen and ascended Lord. As for the Church's liturgy and song, they too are not reducible to 'humanistic language'. Charles Wesley as one example wrote hymns that celebrated the transcendent mystery, indeed the ineffability of divine love. For myself, I do not see a dichotomy between the language of biblical terminology and the limits of language to capture or encapsulate the full reality of God.

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