P. T. Forsyth

Scottish Congregationalist divine


May 12, 1848
November 11, 1921
Related topics
Christology, Forsyth, Peter Taylor,--1848-1921, Art and religion, Congregational churches, Atonement,


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Forsyth was born May 12, 1848, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland died November 11, 1921, London, England. The son of a postman, Forsyth studied at the University of Aberdeen and at Göttingen, where he was deeply influenced by the German Protestant theologian Albrecht Ritschl. After serving several Congregational churches in England, including Emmanuel Church, Cambridge, he became principal of Hackney Theological College in London. He began as a theologically liberal but gradually modified his position to one that resembled most the “positive theology” found in Germany.

His Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind (1907) and Lectures on the Church and the Sacraments (1917) recalled Protestants to the richness of their own teaching about the church at a time when liberalism and evangelicalism together were threatening to obscure it. Forsyth's most famous book, The Person and Place of Jesus Christ (1909), attempted to moralize dogma, to express in terms of modern personal experience the meaning of the doctrine of Christ's divinity. In Christ on Parnassus (1911), dealing with theology and the arts, and in The Justification of God (1916), he considered the relation of Christian faith to the questions of his day.

He reasserted the classic faith of the Reformation in terms appropriate to his own time, bringing the word 'grace' back into protestant theology and showing anew what was meant by the sovereigny of God as revealed in the Holy Love in Christ. Forsyth anticipated many insights chariteristic of Barth. Through Barth's work, Forsyth often misunderstood in his time, gained new attention.

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