|Moderator of the General Assembly|
|Church||Church of Scotland|
|In office||2003 to 2004|
|Other post(s)|| Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland (2013–19) |
Dean of the Thistle (2014–19)
|Ordination||23 January 1982|
Iain Richard Torrance
13 January 1949
|Denomination||Church of Scotland|
Morag Ann Torrance
|Education|| Edinburgh Academy |
Monkton Combe School
|Alma mater|| University of Edinburgh |
University of St Andrews
Oriel College, Oxford
|Thesis||A translation of the letters between Severus of Antioch and Sergius the Grammarian, with a theological introduction|
|Doctoral advisor||Sebastian Brock|
Iain Richard Torrance, KCVO , Kt , OStJ , TD , FRSE (born 13 January 1949) is a retired Church of Scotland minister, theologian and academic. He is Pro-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen,  Honorary Professor of Early Christian Doctrine and Ethics at the University of Edinburgh, President and Professor of Patristics Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, and an Extra Chaplain to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland.  He was formerly Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland,  and Dean of the Order of the Thistle. He is married to Morag Ann (née MacHugh), whom he met while they were students at the University of St Andrews, and they have two children.
Torrance was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. He is the younger son of Thomas Forsyth Torrance, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1976. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and at Monkton Combe School in Bath, then graduated MA (University of Edinburgh), BD (University of St Andrews), DPhil (Oriel College, Oxford). His doctoral thesis was entitled A translation of the letters between Severus of Antioch and Sergius the Grammarian, with a theological introduction, and was supervised by Sebastian Brock. 
Following Oxford, Torrance was ordained on 23 January 1982 by the Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Shetland as minister at Northmavine Parish Church in the Shetland Islands.  Northmavine is the most northerly parish on the main island of the Shetland archipelago, and is famous for the stunning cliff scenery of Eshaness.
On 26 July 1982, he was commissioned in the Royal Army Chaplains' Department, British Army, as a Chaplain to the Forces 4th Class (equivalent in rank to captain).  He was promoted to Chaplain to the Forces 3rd Class (equivalent to major) on 26 July 1988.  Between 1982 and 1997, he served as a Territorial Army chaplain with the 2nd Battalion, 51st Highland Volunteers and then the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was awarded the Efficiency Decoration (Territorial) in 1995, in recognition of twelve years long service in the reserves.  From 1997 to 2000, he was a chaplain to the Army Cadet Force.  He resigned his British Army commission on 16 February 2000. 
After serving for four years in Northmavine, in 1985 Torrance moved to The Queen's College, Birmingham, an ecumenical theological college (mainly Anglican and Methodist) with strong links to the University of Birmingham. There, he taught New Testament studies.
In 1989 he moved to a lectureship in Patristics and New Testament at the University of Birmingham. He was invited to become a member of the International Dialogue between The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1992, becoming co-chair in 1995.
In 1993, he moved to the University of Aberdeen, subsequently being promoted to a personal chair and becoming Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Divinity in 2001.
In 2001 he was appointed a Chaplain-in-Ordinary to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland.
He served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2004, continuing in that office until the appointment of Alison Elliot the following year.
In 2005 he represented the Church of Scotland and the WARC at the installation of Pope Benedict XVI. In 2008, he represented the WARC at the Lambeth Conference.
Torrance appears as himself in Alexander McCall Smith’s Edinburgh novels, The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday (2008)  and The Forgotten Affairs of Youth (2011). 
The composer Paul Mealor dedicated to Torrance the anthem which he had been commissioned to write for the UK and Commonwealth Commemoration of World War One in Glasgow Cathedral on 4 August 2014.
In July 2013 The Queen appointed Torrance Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland, and in July 2014 she appointed him Dean of the Order of the Thistle.   He retired from these posts in July 2019.
In 2021 he was appointed by the Scottish Episcopal Church to lead an Independent Review into "difficulties" in the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney following a series of allegations regarding the Bishop, Anne Dyer.  Professor Torrance's report,  which Dyer tried to have changed after completion,  found that there was a culture of bullying and "systematic dysfunction in the diocese", and that there were previous similar problems in Dyer's time at Durham. Professor Torrance stated that: "Without colluding in what I much fear is a repetition of the past, I cannot recommend the continuation of a tenure in which I fear that more people will be made to feel diminished and discouraged." He recommended that Dyer be immediately sent on sabbatical and that she should step down from her position permanently. 
Iain Torrance's tenure as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (2003-2004) was marked by a nationally reported controversy  following his public comments on homosexuality in which he stated that he was "utterly untroubled" by the ordination of gay clergy. The context was the nomination of Canon Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading. Doctor Torrance thereby became the first leader to encourage gay ordination in the Church of Scotland's 500-year history, a stance that marked a major shift in the Church's view and which was met with fierce opposition. Torrance subsequently used a Christmas sermon as a platform to challenge homophobia within his own church.  The Reverend David W. Lacy, one of Torrance's successors as Moderator, publicly opposed this stance,  arguing that the appointment of openly gay ministers would rip the Church of Scotland apart. When asked to comment on some public criticism by fellow ministers, Torrance said of his critics: "I am not convinced that their vision and my vision need collide in such a way that one must consume the other. There is room for both, and a lively Church needs both those who are zealous in upholding tradition and those who probe its boundaries." 
His year in office also saw the first official call for the release of the Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan national imprisoned for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, informally known as the Lockerbie bombing. Furthermore, Nelson Mandela had also called for the support of the Western Christian Churches in what the South African lawyer considered a clear miscarriage of justice. Torrance made representation to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair on behalf of Megrahi pointing out the deep unease in Scotland and elsewhere over the safety of the verdict. 
During his year in office, Torrance travelled widely on behalf of the Church, being the first Moderator to visit the churches in China. At some personal risk, in February 2004, he visited every British unit in Southern Iraq. He visited the demilitarized zone in Eritrea as the guest of the United Nations peacekeeping force and preached in southern Sudan.
His formal title following the end of his Moderatorial year is the Very Reverend Professor Iain Torrance.
Iain Torrance took up his appointment as the sixth president of Princeton Theological Seminary on 1 July 2004  and was installed as President and Professor of Patristics, on 11 March 2005, at a service in the Princeton University Chapel.  The inauguration featured more than 64 delegates from institutions of higher education including the four ancient universities of Scotland (St. Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh) as well as The Chapel Royal in Scotland, Yale University Divinity School, Duke University, and Howard University School of Divinity. Twelve ecclesiastical delegates, including Rick Ufford-Chase, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA), attended. The service also highlighted "Christ is the World’s Redeemer," a hymn written by John Ferguson and commissioned by Princeton Theological Seminary for the inauguration.
At Princeton Theological Seminary, Torrance was active in the review of existing programs, both academic and financial. He was committed to the renovation of the seminary library (opened in January 2013, a month after he retired) and the rebuilding of student housing on the Charlotte Rachel Wilson campus (completed in May 2012).
Torrance has been committed to inter-faith dialogue, being a public supporter of the Muslim document A Common Word Between Us and You (2007). In August 2010, he was elected to the C-1 Religious Leader Commission.
Torrance retired from the presidency of Princeton Theological Seminary on 31 December 2012. 
|Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order||2019|
|Officer of the Order of St John||2015|
|Efficiency Decoration (Territorial)||1995|
Professor Torrance's arms were matriculated as those of a second son in 1974. Here they are shown impaled with his arms of office as of Dean of the Order of the Thistle and Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland. The Celtic staff behind the shield denotes the Dean of the Chapel Royal's position, ex officio, as titular abbot of Dundrennan and of Crossraguel. The badge is that of the Dean of the Order of the Thistle, with the ecclesiastical hat, its distinctive red tassels showing his rank.
On 18 March 2016 Torrance was presented by the Lord Lyon, Dr. Joseph J. Morrow QC, with Letters Patent granting him supporters. Supporters are a high heraldic honour and are only automatically granted to peers and members of the most senior grades of the orders of knighthood, but the Lord Lyon has the discretion to award supporters to persons of distinction. The award recognises Professor Torrance's eminent service to academia, the Church of Scotland, and the Crown in Scotland. The two dachshunds are Maud and Cassiopea, who were often spotted in and around Princeton Theological Seminary when he was President there.  
Iain Torrance's father was the distinguished theologian Thomas F. Torrance, sometime Professor of Christian Dogmatics at New College, Edinburgh, who served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1976. His cousin Alan Torrance is Professor of Systematic Theology at St Andrews University. James B. Torrance, sometime Professor of Systematic Theology at University of Aberdeen, was his uncle.
Sir George Adam Smith was a Scottish theologian. He was the Principal of the University of Aberdeen between 1909 and 1935.
William Laurence Brown was a Scottish minister.
Thomas Forsyth Torrance, commonly referred to as T. F. Torrance, was a Scottish Protestant theologian and minister. Torrance served for 27 years as professor of Christian dogmatics at New College, in the University of Edinburgh. He is best known for his pioneering work in the study of science and theology, but he is equally respected for his work in systematic theology. While he wrote many books and articles advancing his own study of theology, he also edited the translation of several hundred theological writings into English from other languages, including the English translation of the thirteen-volume, six-million-word Church Dogmatics of Swiss theologian Karl Barth, as well as John Calvin's New Testament Commentaries. He was a member of the famed Torrance family of theologians.
The Dean of the Chapel Royal, in any kingdom, can be the title of an official charged with oversight of that kingdom's chapel royal, the ecclesiastical establishment which is part of the royal household and ministers to it.
The Ecclesiastical Household is a part of the Royal Household of the sovereign of the United Kingdom. Reflecting the different constitutions of the churches of England and Scotland, there are separate households in each nation.
Alan Torrance is professor of systematic theology at St Mary's College of the University of St Andrews. Previously he lectured at King's College London from 1993–1998, where he was also Director of the Research Institute in Systematic Theology. During this time he served as Senior Research Fellow at the Erasmus Institute, University of Notre Dame. He previously lectured at Knox Theological Hall and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
Ronald Wallace (1911–2006) was a theologian and Professor of Biblical Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary. He was also a member of the Torrance family of theologians.
The Very Reverend is an honorific style given to higher-ranking members of a clergy. The definite article "the" should always precede "Reverend" when used before a name, because "Reverend" is an honorific adjective, not a title.
Gilleasbuig Iain Macmillan (b.1942) is a former minister of the Church of Scotland. From 1973 until his retirement in September 2013 he served as Minister of St Giles' Cathedral, in Edinburgh, Scotland, which is sometimes described as the mother church of Presbyterianism. He was Dean of the Thistle and is a Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II. As Dean of the Thistle he was styled "The Right Reverend" and from retiral was styled "The Very Reverend".
Alan Main is a retired minister of the Church of Scotland.
David Alexander Syme Fergusson is a Scottish theologian and Presbyterian minister. Since 2021, he has been Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge.
John McIntyre was a Scottish minister and theologian. He was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1982/83 and Chaplain to the Queen in Scotland from 1990 to 1996.
James Franklin Kay is the Joe R. Engle Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics Emeritus, and Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Andrew Wallace Williamson KCVO, was a Church of Scotland minister who was Dean of the Thistle. He was Moderator of the General Assembly in 1913.
Robert Alexander Stewart "Robin" Barbour was a Church of Scotland minister and an author.
The Torrance family includes several well-known modern Scottish theologians and clergymen, primarily associated with the Church of Scotland. The patriarch of the Torrance family of theologians is Thomas Torrance (1871–1959), a Scottish missionary to China and father of Mary, Thomas F., Grace, Margaret, James, David.
John Drysdale FRSE was twice Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, both in 1773 and in 1784. He was Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland 1766 to 1788, and Chaplain in Ordinary to George III. He was brother-in-law to Robert Adam and father-in-law to Andrew Dalzell.
William Paterson Paterson FRSE DD LLD (1860–1939) was a Scottish minister of the Church of Scotland. He was professor of divinity at the University of Edinburgh from 1904 to 1934. He served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1919. He was central to the reunification of the United Free Church of Scotland with the Church of Scotland in 1929.
James P. Mackey was a liberal Catholic theologian who held the Thomas Chalmers chair of theology at the University of Edinburgh from 1979 until his retiral in 1999.