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John Tulloch

Principal of St. Mary's College in the University of St. Andrews; one of her majesty's Chaplains for Scotland.

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 John Tulloch
Source: www.st-andrews.ac.uk

John Tulloch (1823-1886), Scottish theologian

Tullochwas born at Bridge of Earn, Perthshire, in 1823, and received his university education at St Andrews and Edinburgh. In 1845 he became minister of St Paul's, Dundee, and in 1849 of Kettins, in Strathmore, where he remained for six years. In 18J4 he was appointed principal of St Mary's College, St Andrews. The appointment was immediately followed by the appearance of his Burnet prize essay on Theism. At St Andrews, where he held also the post of professor of systematic theology and apologetics, his work as a teacher was distinguished by several features which at that time were new. He lectured on comparative religion and treated doctrine historically, as being not a fixed product but a growth.

In 1862 he was appointed one of the clerks of the General Assembly, and from that time forward he took a leading part in the councils of the Church of Scotland. In 1878 he was chosen moderator of the Assembly. He did much to widen the national church. Two positions on which he repeatedly insisted have taken a firm hold - first, that it is of the essence of a church to be comprehensive of various views and tendencies, and that a national church especially should seek to represent all the elements of the life of the nation; secondly, that subscription to a creed can bind no one to all its details, but only to the sum and substance, or the spirit, of the symbol.

For three years before his death he was convener of the church interests committee of the Church of Scotland, which had to deal with a great agitation for disestablishment. He was also deeply interested in the reorganization of education in Scotland, both in school and university, and acted as one of the temporary board which settled the primary school system under the Education Act of 1872. He died at Torquay on the 13th of February 1886.

Tulloch's best-known works are collections of biographical sketches of the leaders of great movements in church history, such as the Reformation and Puritanism. His most important book, Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy (1872), is one in which the Cambridge Platonists and other leaders of dispassionate thought in the 17th century are similarly treated. He delivered the second series of the Croall lectures, on the Doctrine of Sin,which were afterwards published. He also published a small work, The Christ of the Gospels and the Christ of History, in which the views of Renan on the gospel history were dealt with; a monograph on Pascal for Blackwood's Foreign CLassics series; and a little work, Beginning Life, addressed to young men, written at an earlier period.

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John Tulloch, a beloved professor at the University of St Andrews, was a moderate liberal theologian who sought to reconcile the insights of higher criticism of the Bible with the tenets of Christian orthodoxy. For example, Tulloch had published a critical essay in response to Ernest Renan, who had read Scripture so reductionistically that he denied the divinity of Christ and the existence of miracles. In 1876, Tulloch published six lectures on the doctrine of sin. As well as laying out the basics of both Old and New Testament perspectives on sin, Tulloch compares the Christian doctrine of sin to the teachings of other world religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, and Zoroastrianism. In the final lecture, he addresses some of the major questions about and criticisms of the doctrine of Original Sin, one of the more complicated and controversial teachings within Christianity.

John Tulloch, a beloved professor at the University of St Andrews, was a moderate liberal theologian who sought to reconcile the insights of higher criticism of the Bible with the tenets of Christian orthodoxy. For example, Tulloch had published a critical essay in response to Ernest Renan, who had read Scripture so reductionistically that he denied the divinity of Christ and the existence of miracles. This work, Luther and Other Leaders of the Reformation, traces the origins and unfolding of the Protestant Reformation across Europe. As well as Luther and Calvin, Tulloch recounts the involvement of Knox, Hus, Wycliffe, and even some of the pre-Reformers in bringing on the reformation of the Catholic Church. Luther’s career and character were of particular interest to Tulloch, and the scholar includes an in-depth examination of Luther’s life and writings.

John Tulloch, a beloved professor at the University of St Andrews, was a moderate liberal theologian who sought to reconcile the insights of higher criticism of the Bible with the tenets of Christian orthodoxy. In his sermon on Religion and Theology, he says: “Religion is identified with the tenets of a Church system, or of a theological system; and it is felt that modern criticism has assailed these tenets in many vulnerable points, and made it no longer easy for the open and well-informed mind to believe […] without hesitation.” Even so, Tulloch reminds his readers and listeners, not even the most foundation-shaking discovery of modern science can assail God’s truth, which will always make itself available for anyone who has faith.

John Tulloch, a beloved professor at the University of St Andrews, was a moderate liberal theologian who sought to reconcile the insights of higher criticism of the Bible with the tenets of Christian orthodoxy. At various times throughout his theological career, Tulloch preached before Queen Victoria during her visits to Scotland. As was customary, Tulloch would deliver addresses that reflected his major thought and work. His messages range from the topics of the role of theology in Christianity to the problem of evil.

John Tulloch, a beloved professor at the University of St Andrews, was a moderate liberal theologian who sought to reconcile the insights of higher criticism of the Bible with the tenets of Christian orthodoxy. For example, Tulloch had published a critical essay in response to Ernest Renan, who had read Scripture so reductionistically that he denied the divinity of Christ and the existence of miracles. Tulloch’s Theism argues for God’s existence using inductive reasoning, following the same logic as the scientific method. In the 19th century (and today as well), academia had largely discounted anyone who claimed to have found conclusive proof for God’s existence. Aware of his hostile audience, Tulloch responds to them specifically in various portions of the essay. Ultimately, the essay served as a precursor to Tulloch’s major work of apologetics, Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy.

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