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The Vicarious Repentance of Christ in the Theology of John McLeod Campbell and R. C. Moberly

  • Christian D. Kettler (a1)

Extract

The name of John McLeod Campbell (1800–1872) is well-known among historians of Scottish church history. A pastor who spent most of his life in Glasgow, Campbell is remembered best for his deposition from the Church of Scotland in 1831 because of the preaching of unlimited atonement and of assurance as belonging to the essence of faith. Among historians of doctrine, Campbell's notoriety stems from his later work, The Nature of the Atonement. The book aroused controversy from the moment of its publication. Among the highly original themes set forth by Campbell, one continues to stand out as the most perplexing and controversial: Campbell's teaching on Christ as providing a ‘perfect response’, a ‘perfect repentance’, a ‘perfect sorrow’ and a ‘perfect contrition’ before the judgment of the Father on the sins of humanity.

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page 529 note 1 The only full-length study of Campbell published is Bewkes, Eugene Garrett, Legacy of a Christian Mind (Philadelphia, 1937).

page 529 note 2 Campbell, John McLeod, The Nature of the Atonement (London, 1867). We will refer to the third edition, which contains additional appendices and an analytical table of contents.

page 529 note 3 ibid., p. 137.

page 529 note 4 Moberly, R. C., Atonement and Personality (London, 1917).

page 529 note 5 Lewis, C. S., ‘The Perfect Penitent’, in Mere Christianity (New York, 1952), pp. 5661.

page 530 note 6 Torrance, James B., ‘The Contribution of John McLeod Campbell 10 Scottish Theology’, Scottish Journal of Theology 26 (1973), pp. 295311.

page 530 note 7 Campbell, p. 129.

page 530 note 8 ibid., p. 137. Jonathan Edwards, ‘satisfaction for Sin’ in The Works of President Edwards (New York, 1844), ii, 1–3.

page 530 note 9 Campbell, p. 137.

page 530 note 10 Bruce, A. B., The Humiliation of Christ, Cincinnati, n.d., pp. 319320, 442.

page 530 note 11 Campbell, pp. 135–6.

page 530 note 12 ibid., p. 136.

page 531 note 13 ibid., p. 137.

page 531 note 14 ibid., p. 256.

page 531 note 15 Tuille, George M., ‘The Place of John McLeod Campbell in British Thought Concerning the Atonement’, Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation (Victoria University of Toronto, 1961), p. 203.

page 531 note 16 Campbell, p. 149.

page 531 note 17 Dickie, Edgar P., ‘Introduction toj. M. Campbell’ in Campbell, John McLeod, The Nature of the Atonement (Exeter, 1959), xviii.

page 532 note 18 Campbell, p. 146.

page 532 note 19 ibid., p. 159.

page 532 note 20 ibid.

page 532 note 21 ibid., p. 160.

page 532 note 22 ibid., p. 138.

page 532 note 23 ibid., p. 139.

page 532 note 24 ibid., p. 135.

page 533 note 25 Bewkes, p. 295.

page 533 note 26 Moberly, p. 22.

page 533 note 27 ibid., p. 110.

page 533 note 28 ibid., p. 99.

page 533 note 29 ibid., p. 117.

page 533 note 30 ibid., p. 28.

page 533 note 31 ibid., pp. 38–9.

page 533 note 32 ibid., p. 41.

page 533 note 33 ibid., p. 42.

page 534 note 34 ibid., p. 43.

page 534 note 35 ibid., p. 117.

page 534 note 36 ibid., p. 42.

page 534 note 37 ibid., p. 44.

page 534 note 38 ibid., p. 46.

page 534 note 39 ibid., p. 283.

page 534 note 40 ibid., p. 284.

page 534 note 41 ibid., p. 285.

page 534 note 42 ibid., p. 286.

page 534 note 43 ibid., p. 402.

page 534 note 44 ibid., p.404.

page 535 note 45 Dale, R. W., The Atonement (London, 1902), p. 424. Cited by Moberly, p. 405.

page 535 note 46 Moberly, p. 405.

page 535 note 47 ibid., p. 406.

page 535 note 48 Bruce, p. 320.

page 535 note 49 Crawford, T. J., The Doctrine of Scripture Respecting the Atonement (Edinburgh, 1871), p. 323.

page 536 note 50 ibid., p. 324.

page 536 note 51 ibid., p. 326.

page 536 note 52 Moberly, pp. 53–4.

page 536 note 53 Mackintosh, H. R., Some Aspects of Christian Belief (New York), n.d., p. 91. Cf. Denney, James, The Christian Doctrine of Reconciliation (New York, 1918), p. 259.

page 536 note 54 Mozley, J. K., The Doctrine of the Atonement (London, 1915), p. 193; Stevens, G. B., The Christian Doctrine of Salvation (New York, 1905). Both cited in Bewkes, p. 181.

page 536 note 55 Macquarrie, John, ‘John McLeod Campbell, 1800–72’, Expository Times 83 (1972), pp. 263268.

page 537 note 56 ‘Total inability’ is usually seen in Reformed theology as one aspect of ‘total depravity’ (Hodge, Charles, Systematic Theology, II (Grand Rapids, 1977), pp. 26ff.; Strong, Augustus, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia, 1907), pp. 637644; Bloesch, Donald, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, I (San Francisco, 1978), p. 90). L. Berkhof draws a distinction between ‘total depravity’ as referring to sin's ‘pervasiveness’ and ‘total inability’ as referring to ‘its effects on man's spiritual powers’ (Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, 1939), pp. 246–8). The emphasis is upon sin involving every aspect of the person (Calvin, Institute, II.9), and thus humanity has ‘wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation’ (Westminster Confession, 9.3). Barth concludes that if reconciliation and justification involve the whole person, ‘then there can be no reservations with regard to his corruption’ (Church Dogmatics, IV/i (Edinburgh, 1956), pp. 499–500). Hodge interestingly enough relates inability directly to repentance: ‘What the Bible and all the Confessions of the churches of the Reformation assert is, that man, since the fall, cannot change his own heart; he cannot regenerate his soul; he cannot repent with godly sorrow (emphasis mine), or exercise that faith which is unto salvation’ (p. 264).

page 537 note 57 Paul also mentions Christ as our ‘redemption’. We have no salvific parallel to this, but this in no way invalidates the previous pictures of wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification.

page 537 note 58 J. B. Torrance, p. 306.

page 537 note 59 Moberly, pp. 136–53.

page 538 note 60 Cited by Campbell, p. 144.

page 538 note 61 Moberly, p. 42.

page 538 note 62 Lewis, p. 60.

page 538 note 63 ibid., p. 59.

page 538 note 64 ibid., p. 60.

page 538 note 65 Moberly, p. 90.

page 538 note 66 ibid., p. 66.

page 538 note 67 Campbell, p. 178.

page 538 note 68 Torrance, p. 310.

page 539 note 69 Campbell, p. 377.

page 539 note 70 ibid., p. 127.

page 539 note 71 ibid., p. 159.

page 539 note 72 The Christian Doctrine of Reconciliation (New York, 1918), p. 118.

page 539 note 73 ibid.

page 539 note 74 Campbell, p. 173.

page 539 note 75 ibid., p. 195.

page 539 note 76 Moberly, pp. 137–8.

page 539 note 77 ibid., p. 286.

page 540 note 78 ibid., p. 285.

page 540 note 79 Campbell, p. 249.

page 540 note 80 ibid., p. 345. cf. xxv.

page 540 note 81 Moberly, pp. 191–2.

page 540 note 82 Campbell, xliv.

page 541 note 83 Hengel, Martin concludes in his New Testament study, The Son of God (Philadelphia, 1976), pp. 92f., thai ‘son of God’ was a ‘metaphor’ used in early Christian theology for ‘expressing both ihc origin of Jesus in God's being … and his true humanity’.

page 541 note 84 Church Dogmatics, III/2 (Edinburgh, 1960), pp. 19ff.

page 541 note 85 Anderson, Ray S., On Being Human (Grand Rapids, 1982), p. 8.

page 541 note 86 ibid., p. 14. In addition, as my friend and colleague Donna Van Haren has pointed out, Macquarrie's objection would be equally true of any soteriology (apart from a strict ‘moral influence’ theory) which seeks to relate the individual Jesus of Nazareth to all of humanity in a salvific sense. One wonders whether Macquarrie would wish to press his objection this far.

page 542 note 87 Michel, O., ‘son of God’, New International Dictionary of Mew Testament Theology, Brown, C., ed., Vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, 1978), p. 639. Cf. Cullman, Oscar, The Christology of the New Testament (Philadelphia, 1959), p. 290.

page 542 note 88 Johnson, S. E., ‘son of God’, The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible Buttrick, G. A., ed., Vol. 4 (Nashville, 1962), p. 410.

page 542 note 89 ibid., p. 409. It is also tempting to see the baptism of Jesus as recorded in Matthew as an indication of how vicarious repentance and the sonship of Jesus are intertwined. John's baptism is a baptism ‘for repentance’ () (3.11). He is genuinely surprised when Jesus comes to be baptized by him (v. 14) (a response similar to the modern opposition to ‘vicarious repentance‘?). Jesus states that its purpose is ‘to fulfill all righteousness’ (v. 15, only in Mt.) (). Is it coincidental that the baptism is crowned with the pronouncement by the Father, ‘This is my beloved son …’ (v. 17)?

page 542 note 90 Schweizer, Eduard, ‘νióζ’, Theological Dictionary of the Mew Testament, Kittel, G. and Friedrich, G., eds, Vol. 8 (Grand Rapids, 1972), p. 378.

page 542 note 91 See the successive order of forgiveness before repentance in Calvin's theology (InstituteIII.3.1, 2). Cf. Torrance, p. 311.

The Vicarious Repentance of Christ in the Theology of John McLeod Campbell and R. C. Moberly

  • Christian D. Kettler (a1)

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