The Kierkegaardian account of becoming a Christian has come to be perceived in radically egocentric terms. Torrance challenges this perception by demonstrating that Kierkegaard was devoted to the idea of Christian conversion as a transformative process of becoming. This process is grounded in an active relationship initiated by the eternal God who has established kinship with us in time.
Torrance focuses on ‘becoming a Christian’ as a particular theological theme that deserves further attention - how ‘becoming a Christian’ or Christian transformation should be construed in relation to God’s initiating and active relationship to the person. Torrance’s account of Kierkegaard on human transformation demonstrates in striking ways Kierkegaard’s relevance to current issues in systematic theology and philosophical theology around the nature of Christian conversion, particularly how conversion might be re-conceptualized in strong divinely-relational and transformative rather than in progressive self-developmental terms.
This study also considers how Kierkegaard was able to negotiate his emphasis on the God-relationship with his emphasis on the importance of individual reflection, decision and action in the Christian life.
Explore existential themes in Kierkegaard with Excursions with Kierkegaard: Others, Goods, Death, and Final Faith.
In this work Andrew Torrance gives a penetrating account of Kierkegaard's understanding of what it means to become a Christian. It is a process that is entirely dependent upon God's grace, but that grace enables and requires a reciprocal relationship between God and human beings. Becoming a Christian is neither a matter of coming to believe certain propositions; nor is it a development of some natural human capacity. Rather it is coming to know God, becoming part of God's family through Jesus of Nazareth through the work of the Holy Spirit. This is a powerful,clearly written book. It shows a deep understanding of Kierkegaard's writings and a masterful knowledge of the secondary literature.
—C. Stephen Evans, Baylor University
Andrew Torrance's wonderfully compelling volume illumines the very core of Kierkegaard's theological project. It serves as a much-needed antidote to the lingering perception of Kierkegaard as a champion of radical individual autonomy, heroic acts of will, and religious subjectivity divorced from any claims about a divine reality. Torrance's careful reading of Kierkegaard's mysterious texts draws attention to an absolutely crucial but under-appreciated aspect of his theological vision: the activity of a personal God who, through Jesus Christ, draws human beings into a transformative intersubjective relationship.
—Lee Barrett, Lancaster Seminary
Challenging common individualist and voluntarist accounts of Kierkegaard, Andrew Torrance offers a fresh and illuminating portrayal of Kierkegaard's vision of what it means to “become a Christian,” not as a solitary Promethean act of will and self-discovery, but as a transformative journey grounded in the grace and love of the living God present in and through Jesus Christ. For Torrance, the key to Kierkegaard's theological vision is not the solitary self, but God's personal transformative communion that draws forth the human response of devotion.
—David W. Gouwens, Brite Divinity School,
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Andrew B. Torrance is a research fellow at the School of Divinity at St. Andrews University.