Alan J. Torrance is professor of systematic theology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. His work includes Persons in Communion: Trinitarian Description and Human Participation and The Theological Grounds for Advocating Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the Sociopolitical Realm. He earned his doctorate at theology at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg in Germany.
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Small group discussion guide
Discussion groups might wish to prepare their own topics, request topics from the group, use the following suggested topics, or mix and match all three.
1. “Christ took our alienated, sinful, fallen humanity and healed and transformed it.” Please share your thoughts on this.
2. The phrase “in Christ” was said to characterize participation. What does this mean to you?
3. Dr. Torrance emphasized the spirit of reconciliation as defining the Christian life. Why?
4. In what ways may we “image, reflect, and correspond to who God is in all that we are”?
5. How do you understand, “In everything we do, the aim, the goal, must be shalom”?
6. Torrance said that pride was the main cause of division in the body of Christ. Your thoughts?
7. “Institutionalism” was cited as a major hindrance to ecumenism. How can this be overcome?
8. “Within families people should be liberated to be free to be themselves, to know what it is to be loved.” What does this mean to you personally?
A few simple guidelines for leading a discussion: 1) Encourage open discussion. 2) Ask questions relevant to the topic. 3) Listen attentively. 4) Encourage divergent views. 5) Encourage everyone to participate. 6) Summarize and paraphrase. 7) Minimize teaching and preaching.
J. Michael Feazell: Paul wrote to the Colossians that God was in Christ reconciling all things to himself. What are the implications of that for how human beings live together?