Fully Human in Christ
The Incarnation as the End of Christian Ethics
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
"Todd Speidell's book, Fully Human in Christ, is a wise and winsome account of how Thomas F. Torrance's Trinitarian and Christocentric theology is inextricably connected to a profound Christian ethic, including a social ethic as well. His work is a cathartic antidote to the many criticisms that Torrance's theology lacks a robust ethical dimension. Speidell's clever subtitle, The Incarnation as the End of Ethics, encapsulates his central thesis that Christ's vicarious humanity ends all ours attempts to 'do good or be good' apart from who Christ is and what Christ has done on our behalf and in our place. In place of every autonomous ethic is a radically new and different gracious ethical participation in Christ's vicarious humanity. This participation does in no way negate or replace our humanity, but rather frees, personalizes, humanizes, and reconciles us in all our relations with God and others, overcoming all bigotry, hatred, and every other barrier we create and maintain to secure and justify ourselves and people like us in alienation from God and others. Having grown up amidst the violence, injustice, and urban unrest in Paterson, NJ, during the 1960s and '70s, Speidell's penetrating, sustained, and captivating thinking of ethics in dialogue with Torrance is a profound, joyous, and hopeful account of what a Christian ethic really is. Scholars, pastors, students, and others interested in Christian theology and ethics will be challenged and encouraged by Speidell's contributions in this book."
--Elmer M. Colyer, Professor of Systematic Theology, Stanley Professor of Wesley Studies, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary
"Todd Speidell has written a wonderful book, not simply about T. F. Torrance's overlooked contributions to thinking theologically about ethics, but more broadly about the reality of reconciliation and the triune God's unwavering commitment to redeem creation. Speaking with great insight and candor, Speidell sets the record on Torrance straight, helping us to see that Christ is the end of ethics, thereby abolishing our attempts at self-justification and autonomous ethics in favor of His vicarious humanity in our place and on our behalf. Students and teachers of Christian doctrine and ethics are very well-served by this clear, judicious, and compelling account and appropriation of one of the most important English-speaking theologians of the twentieth century."
--Christopher R. J. Holmes, Senior Lecturer in Theology, University of Otago
"Relying on the thinking of Karl Barth, Thomas F. Torrance, James B. Torrance, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ray S. Anderson, and others, Todd Speidell thoughtfully and skillfully challenges readers to focus on who Jesus was and is as the incarnate revealer and reconciler to understand the true meaning of Christian ethics and liberation in a way that upholds rather than negates a properly functioning social ethic. Along the way he offers helpful analysis and critique of various views that tend toward a Pelagian vision of grace or some version of conditional salvation and thus obscure what it means to participate in Christ's vicarious humanity and therefore in the new creation. His discussion of Torrance's theological ethics offers a particularly convincing and compelling defense of Torrance against allegations that his emphasis on Christ supplants rather than establishes true human freedom and action. This is a book that is refreshingly Christological, Trinitarian, and soteriological in the best sense. Readers will find here a serious and informative discussion of exactly how dogmatics informs ethics when the living Christ, rather than dogmatics, is, and remains, the criterion."
--Paul D. Molnar, Professor of Systematic Theology, St. John's University, Queens, NY