The Finlayson Lectures

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As founding Chairman of SETS (formerly the Scottish Tyndale Fellowship), R. A. Finlayson played a pivotal role in establishing this Society. This annual lecture which bears his name thus commemorates not only his contribution to the Society, but also his concern for scholarship in the service of the community of faith.

Roderick A. Finlayson (1895–1989) was a notable theologian and churchman of the Free Church of Scotland. Born in Ross-shire, schooled in Dingwall, and an MA (1919) of Aberdeen University, he was ordained in the Free Church after studying at the Free Church College (1922), and ministered in churches both in Ross-shire and Glasgow. He was appointed to the Chair of Systematic Theology in the Free Church College in 1945, and became Moderator of the General Assembly the same year. He served as Professor until 1966, and carried on an active preaching and writing ministry until the latter years of his long life.

David F. Wright’s summary in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography deftly sketches Finlayson’s gifts and contribution:

For Finlayson, theology belonged in the church rather than the academy. He was one of the sharpest and wisest conservative theologians of his era, with an influence extending far beyond his small church into the wider evangelical community in the UK and the USA. …

In Roderick Finlayson a richly devotional theology enlisted the services of a mastery of language, a wit that was variously mischievous and mordant, shrewd insight into characters and events, and a gift for the one-liner. (Examples are still traded freely on the mention of his name.) He rarely bucked controversy, in which he could be most elegantly acerbic, but in personal relations he was warm and courteous. He played a part in the intellectual maturing of British evangelicalism in the later twentieth century.

Drawing on the obituary from The Herald (21 February 1989).


The Lectures

Lecturer | Year | Title Published in SBET
F.F. Bruce 1981
Derek Kidner 1982
Paul Helm 1983
Antony Billington 2016 The Gospel and the Marketplace
Ronald Wallace 1987 Interpretation of Old Testament Story (see 5.1 (Spring 1987): 123-150)
Gerald Bray 1989 The Promises made to Abraham and the Destiny of Israel 7.2 (Autumn 1989): 69-87
David Cook 1995 Medicine, Morality and Theological Concerns
Chris Wright 1996 The Church as God's Agent in Mission
Bruce Winter 2000 Paul's Apologetic Gospel
Alistair Donald 2014 The Word As Sword: Scientific Apologetics As Pre-Evangelism 33.1 (Spring 2015): 6-17
Mike Reeves 2013 The Trinity: The Secret to Joyful Christianity 32.1 (Spring 2014): 4-11
Dewi Hughes 2012 Making Theological Sense of Being Welsh: Celebrating Ethnicity and Culture as God’s Global Family 31.1 (Spring 2013): 5-18
David J. Reimer 2011 The Old Testament and the Unity of the People of God 30.1 (Spring 2012): 6-20
Kevin F. Scott 2009 The Church and the Urgent Patience of Christ 27.1 (Spring 2009): 5-23
Tom Houston 2010 Globalisation: Opportunity or Threat? 28.2 (Autumn 2010): 132-143
Ian J. Shaw 2008 Theology and Transformation in Society 26.2 (Autumn 2008): 132-150
Fergus Macdonald 2003 Cool Kerygma: Making Preaching Relevant in the Twenty-First Century 21.1 (Spring 2003): 131-151
David W. Bebbington 2004 Evangelical Theology in the English-Speaking World during the Nineteenth Century 22.2 (Autumn 2004): 133-150
John Webster 2005 Discipleship and Obedience 24.1 (Spring 2006): 4-18
David F. Wright 2007 The Great Commission and the Minsitry of the Word: Reflections Historical and Contemporary 25.2 (Autumn 2007): 132-157
Robert S. (Bob) Fyall 2006 Beyond the Sacred Page: Christ as the Key to Scripture
J. Gordon McConville 2001 Biblical Theology: Canon and Plain Sense 19.2 (Autumn 2001): 134-157
David F. Wright 1999 What Kind of Theology for the Twenty-First Century? 17.2 (Autumn 1999): 94-113
David Smith 2002 Mission After Christendom 20.2 (Autumn 2002): 132-145
Richard Bauckham 1998 The Future of Jesus Christ 16.2 (Autumn 1998): 97-110
Geoffrey W. Grogan 1993 The Authority of the Gospel for the Ministry of Paul 11.2 (Autumn 1993): 85-108
Kevin J. Vanhoozer 1994 From Canon to Concept: ‘Same’ and ‘Other’ in the Relation Between Biblical and Systematic Theology 12.2 (Autumn 1994): 96-124
Francis Lyall 1992 Metaphors, Legal and Theological 10.2 (Winter 1992): 94-112
Andrew F. Walls 1984 Culture and Coherence in Christian History 3.1 (Spring 1985): 1-9
Geoffrey W. Grogan 1985 The New Testament and the Messianism of the Book of Isaiah 3.2 (Autumn 1985): 1-12
Robert P. Gordon 1986 Simplicity of the Highest Cunning: Narrative Art in the Old Testament 6.2 (Autumn 1988): 69-80
Alan R. Millard 1988 The Old Testament in Its Ancient World: Aspects of Prophetic Writings 7.2 (Autumn 1989): 88-99
I. Howard Marshall 1991 Preaching from the New Testament 9.2 (Autumn 1991): 104-117
Donald Macleod 1990 The Doctrine of the Incarnation in Scottish Theology: Edward Irving 9.1 (Spring 1991): 40-50