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Theology in Scotland Journal

Theology in Scotland logo (normal)Theology in Scotland is sponsored by the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews (St Mary's College) and appears twice yearly, in spring and autumn. It was first published in 1994 at the request of a large group of ministers of the Church of Scotland.

With a mix of academic and practical articles and stimulating reviews, it is an ideal tool to help keep up-to-date with current theological thinking.

Current issue

Theology in Scotland 23 no. 2 (Autumn 2016)

The Westminster Confession: Unfinished business

Finlay A. J. Macdonald (formerly Principal Clerk of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland)

In an extended study, Dr Macdonald gives an historical account of the changing status of the Westminster Confession of Faith in the Scottish Reformed churches. He focuses in particular on the debate within the Church of Scotland about what place a seventeenth-century statement of faith should have in a modern church, and whether the Westminster Confession should continue to be considered the Kirk’s ‘principal subordinate standard’ or simply a ‘historic statement of the faith of the Reformed Church’. In examining the issues and the work that went into formulating potential ways forward on this, Dr Macdonald shares useful insights as to the purpose and value of confessions and statements of faith. He concludes by suggesting that the status of the Westminster Confession is an issue the Church of Scotland would do well to return to.

The gift of an aging church

Eric G. McKimmon (retired Church of Scotland minister)

Dr McKimmon argues that while secularisation is a permanent and irreversible process, the decline and death of the Church as we know it may yet be providential. The various forms that the Church has taken over the ages have often proved transitory: the past teaches us that history is an open-ended process, and the eclipse of institutions is shown to be inevitable. However, life may be lived with God yet without a Church, with a cloud of unknowing between the present and the future. Dr McKimmon criticises undue concentration on the current paradigm of ‘change in order to survive’ and concludes with a plea for deeper pastoral care for the Church in its current situation. The Church is indeed, he insists, a transitory organisation – however a sunset may be beautiful.

Evolution and the sacred: The evolutionary theology of John Haught in relation to Daoist philosophy

Jaeho Jang (doctoral student at the University of Edinburgh)

This paper was submitted as an entry for the 2015 Fraser Prize and was highly commended by the judging panel for demonstrating the benefits of enriching and sharpening the views of one tradition by setting it alongside a different one. It explores the evolutionary theology of the American theologian John Haught in the light of a comparative study of Daoism. Drawing on key aspects of Haught’s thought and relating them to parallel Daoist concepts, the paper shows first that God, in creating, takes the risk of allowing the cosmos to exist in relative liberty; second, that God can still be involved in continuing evolution; and, lastly, that ‘higher’ categories of life and mind can emerge through evolution.

Books reviewed:

  • John F. Gavin, A Celtic Christology: The Incarnation According to John Scottus Eriugena
  • Andrew B. Torrance, The Freedom to Become a Christian: A Kierkegaardian Account of Human Transformation in Relationship with God
  • Dick O. Eugenio, Communion with the Triune God: The Trinitarian Soteriology of T. F. Torrance
  • Jason R. Radcliff, Thomas F. Torrance and the Church Fathers: A Reformed, Evangelical, and Ecumenical Reconstruction of the Patristic Tradition

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How to subscribe


The Rev. Dr Ian D. Maxwell
Uphall South Parish Church,
8 Fernlea,
Broxburn EH52 6DF
Tel. (01506) 239 840

Reviews Editor
Dr Scott Spurlock
Theology and Religious Studies
4 The Square
University of Glasgow
G12 8QQ

Production Manager
Colin Bovaird
University Library
North Street
St Andrews, Fife
KY16 9TR
Tel: (01334) 462306
Fax: (01334) 462852

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